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Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Literature

The study of English is a pursuit of the human condition. What makes us tick, what makes us respond. What we fear, what we crave. It’s learning about others in times past and present, realizing we aren’t that different after all, yet celebrating the ways in which we are. The future of work is less about knowledge in a vacuum and more about how to apply and adapt that knowledge to various circumstances, organizations, and institutional needs. As an English student in Literature, you will be well prepared to meet these challenges with empathy, agility, and introspection.

Literature at John Carroll University

The literature major and minor at John Carroll includes a deep dive into understanding classical and modern works in English from all over human history combined with critical review, analysis and discussion of variety of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and other literary works. You will work with our distinguished faculty who have spent their lives deep in these texts, and quickly see just how influential they remain today.

As a literature student at John Carroll, you will learn to:

  • Read texts with active, critical skill to form and articulate accomplished interpretations
  • Produce written analyses of literary texts that demonstrate awareness of audience, organizational sophistication, and clear argumentation
  • Recognize the employment and contextual use of the formal elements of language and genre
  • Build oral communication skills by listening to others' ideas and articulating their own responses and questions clearly to situate themselves in the conversation
  • Gain knowledge of cultural and historical contexts of Anglophone and translated literature that enhances their appreciation for the voices either within or marginalized by the texts


The study of literature has inspired so many careers, and our staff is here to help you mold this passion into a relevant, impactful future. The Literature major will nurture your personal development as a global citizen—with self-awareness, cultural competence, and the skills to make a difference in the world. Be disruption proof! You will graduate prepared to embrace a wide range of professional identities and opportunities despite the ongoing disruption—economic, social, technological, political—that mark the modern world.

The literature program at John Carroll is truly customizable to the areas of literature that you’re most passionate about, whether that’s poetry, fiction, non-fiction, film, women’s works, or something more specific. It includes foundations in classic literature, global or minority literature courses, creative writing, and literary theory, combined with intensive, close-knit workshops, and culminates with an oral capstone presentation.

If you have always been enthralled by classical and modern literature, a minor in literature will help you put that love to practical use. The literature minor includes an exploration of major British and American writers, combined with a choice from literature courses covering Medieval ages, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, and into the late 18th century and early American works.

BA in Literature Program Highlights

Real Teaching

At John Carroll, your professors are actively publishing, dynamic writers and instructors, which is why we boast one of the most respected Visiting Writers programs in Ohio. You’ll have a chance to meet and work with nationally known visitors to our campus, people like Billy Collins, Rita Dove, Simon Armitage, Paul Muldoon, and Robert Pinsky, in intimate discussion-based classes.

Amazing Experience

Find real-world, transformative experiences that build on your writing and reading skills, as well as your worldview through unique, collaborative opportunities like peace-building classes in Ireland, Environmental Literature courses, workshops with actors from the London Stage, or chances to publish something brilliant from start to publication of the Carroll Review

Jobs & Internships

Our students take advantage of a range of internship and professional development opportunities both on and off campus. Work as a consultant in the University Writing Center; serve as both an editor for or contributor to the Carroll Review, our student-run literary journal; or gain experience at every level of a campus newspaper, from beat reporter to executive editor at the award-winning Carroll News. Over your summer, land a paid internship with the Young Writers’ Workshop, a weeklong camp for students in 8th-12th grades. Or go off campus, and intern at organizations like Lake Erie Ink, Cleveland Magazine, American Greetings, or a number of locally headquartered, multinational companies.

Featured Faculty

“My scholarship and teaching about climate-change literature energize students to understand our current ecological crisis. The English Department boasts stellar professors who teach and research poetry and fiction that address such urgent issues as socioeconomics, immigration, national belonging, racial and gender disparities, rhetorical strategies, and much, much more.”

—Debby Rosenthal, Ph.D., Department Chair

Notable Alum

Sophia Maltese

Sophia Maltese, Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia ‘21

Status: Production Associate and Researcher at "Meet the Press"

What inspired your future? My quest has been and will always be to find truth, whether that truth be about myself or the world. Thankfully, John Carroll and The Carroll News forced me into my quest, and I am so grateful for the flicker of wisdom I gained in these four years.

Alumni Across The Region Map

Literature Alumni Across the Region

John Carroll University alumni live, work, teach and support communities throughout the region from Northeast Ohio to Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, Columbus, Buffalo, Rochester, Pittsburgh, New York City, Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia.