Literature Department - American University

Joined in October 2012

About Us

"Literature holds a unique position among the disciplines. Because language is both its medium and object of study, literature serves as a point of convergence for issues that concern aesthetics, psychology, sociology, law, philosophy, anthropology, and history. At the same time, literature explores these issues from the fresh perspective of an author's singular imagination."

"In addition to award-winning scholars and teachers concerned with the aesthetic and historical elements of literary study, our faculty includes accomplished creative writers and teachers of film. Thus our students are able to complement traditional literary study with the additional film and creative writing curriculum. Please see more about our" Literature Home

Masters of Arts in Literature Program

"The program for the MA degree in Literature at American University offers students challenging courses in a wide variety of areas, taught by outstanding scholars who are deeply engaged in their fields of intellectual inquiry. In graduate seminars and other courses with unique — often interdisciplinary — topics, students develop intellectual confidence and strengthen their skills in critical reading and analytical writing.Courses, supplemented by our Graduate Speaker Series, focus not only on traditional periods and national literatures but on African, African American, and Asian American literatures; Latin American and other literatures in translation; literary theory; feminist theory; and cinema. Because our department also offers an MFA in Creative Writing, students in the master’s degree program have the opportunity to study with distinguished creative writers as well."Literature MA Program

"The size of our program — under thirty students — promotes a true community of faculty and students, with frequent opportunities for students to work closely with individual professors both inside and outside the classroom. The program offers students the unique opportunity to customize their program of study through selection of one of four specialty concentrations: pre-doctoral, teaching, interdisciplinary, or generalist. These concentrations provide flexible frameworks within which to organize your course of study in the MA. Two scholarly research opportunities— a mentored scholarly essay and a master’s thesis — enable students to work one-on-one with a professor in their chosen area of concentration while developing experience in scholarly research or sustained argument and interpretation. Students may arrangeinternshipswith a variety of organizations that focus on the arts, journalism, and other areas that complement the study of literature. A required comprehensive exam provides intellectual focus and the expectation that students achieve both depth and breadth in their study of literature."Literature MA Program

Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

"Founded in 1980, the American University's MFA Program in Creative Writing, offered through the Department of Literature, is a 48-semester-hour program that may be completed in two years, although many students take five semesters to complete all course and thesis work. The program offers a balance among intensive writing workshops, literature courses, and specialized courses and internships. The combination of these offerings permits students to enter fully into a community of writers and glimpse a range of possibilities for a career in writing after graduation. Students are free to pursue a single genre or to explore several genres. Alumni of the MFA Program in Creative Writing have gone on to diverse jobs in writing and the arts."Creative Writing MFA Program

"Our MFA students have recently published books with Copper Canyon, University of Wisconsin Press, MIT Press, and WW Norton, and have been featured on This American Life and in Creative Nonfiction and Psychology Today, among many others. See the Wall of Fame for their most recent publications."Creative Writing MFA Program

"Students who undertake the MFA in Creative Writing Degree master the techniques they need to develop and perfect their own work by learning to read and comment on the work of their colleagues, with a commitment to strengthening and supporting the writer. Equally important, our creative writing program is allied with the MA Program in Literature, which offers numerous courses and master's-level seminars that enable our writing students to explore both classic texts and contemporary literature."Creative Writing MFA Program

"As one of the most literate cities in the country, Washington, DC, is a particularly strong community in which to study writing and make a living as a writer. Excellent internship opportunities abound, and students enjoy myriad readings and other literary activities in the area, including AU's own Visiting Writers Series with writers and editors who conduct small, intensive workshops with students and a free public reading or lecture during their visits. Dinners and post-reading parties allow our students to get to know the visiting writers on a personal level." Creative Writing MFA Program

"Graduate students in the MFA Program in Creative Writing are active: each semester they publish a national literary journal, Folio: A Literary Journal; conduct a student reading; and publish material in the online newsletter Cafe Americain, which enables current students and alumni to stay in touch. Fellowships, assistantships, and adjunct teaching allow qualified students to work throughout the department and university. Qualified students often work in the Writing Center, with the Visiting Writers Series, with Folio, and in the College Writing Program, as teachers of composition. Our students come from varied academic backgrounds, but share a camaraderie that provides a noncompetitive environment for developing writing skills and style." Creative Writing MFA Program


"American University’s 84-acre campus, located in a quiet residential neighborhood of Washington, D.C., offers a sequestered pedestrian campus — a designated national arboretum — with easy access by university shuttle and public transportation to the full resources of a lively metropolitan area, the capital of the United States." Literature MA Program

© American University - Literature Department

"Literature holds a unique position among the disciplines. Because language is both its medium and object of study, literature serves as a point of convergence for issues that concern aesthetics, psychology, sociology, law, philosophy…

Issue Areas Include

  • Arts & Music
  • Education


  • 4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
    Washington, DC 20016-8047

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