American Literature and Culture B.A.

College of Letters and Science

Division of Humanities

About the Major

The American Literature and Culture major is great for students with an enthusiasm for imaginative literature, a desire to become a more proficient and intelligent reader and writer, a conviction that a deeper, broader understanding of culture is important. Apart from the inherent rewards of studying literature, a degree in American Literature & Culture offers intensive training in skills essential in the modern job market, training that is rarely offered by other fields of study. The major also aspires to nurture the kinds of thoughtfulness essential for an intelligent, diverse, and harmonious society, a society that appreciates traditions without following them blindly. The reading and the writing in the major develops the ability to think critically and creatively, and to express ideas clearly and forcefully, provides a detailed knowledge of several cultural traditions, offers exposure to many related areas of study (including history, psychology, philosophy, linguistics, sociology, art history, and religious studies), and prepares students for graduate and professional work in a wide variety of fields.interest in American literature and culture.


English Department in the General Catalog
English Department website

Contact Information

English Department
Box 951530

Choosing Your Course of Study at UCLA

Making the Right Decision

One of the most important decisions you will make in college is your choice of major — the field of study that represents your principal interest and that will likely contribute to your career goals. Some students select their major at the time they fill out the University’s application for admission, although a far greater number are undecided about their major.

Students in the College of Letters and Science do not need to declare their major in their freshman year. In fact, you can be an “undeclared major” until the end of your sophomore year, which is particularly advantageous if you are not certain of your specific academic goals. It is wise to wait and explore the diversity of subject areas offered at UCLA through taking introductory courses in a variety of disciplines. It would not be unusual for you to become enthusiastic about disciplines previously unfamiliar to you. With careful planning, these courses may also apply toward fulfilling your university and college requirements.

To narrow your choice of study, carefully consider the general college requirements, the description of courses offered in the major, and the departmental requirements for completing the program of study. Look at the books required for each course. Sit in on a few classes and talk with professors during their office hours. Discuss interests and plans with a departmental counselor or faculty adviser, a college counselor, or advisers in the UCLA Career Center.

Certain majors, especially in the arts, engineering, the sciences, and theater, film, or television require early declaration. Some have enrollment quotas and allow application by new majors only during a specified term. Students should check with the departmental adviser for the majors that interest them.

In addition, UCLA undergraduate students are limited to between 208 and 216 quarter units, depending on the college or school, to complete the academic program and fulfill all degree requirements. So, if you wait to declare a major, you should not wait too long. In any case, you must declare your major by the beginning of your junior year (90 quarter units).

When you are ready to declare your major, you should obtain a Petition for Change of Major from your college or school office.