Free Online Lectures and Courses for Literature

The Epic of Gilgamesh. The Kojiki and Nihon Shoki. The Kumulipo. These are just some of the timeless creation stories from around the world that students of literature can explore. These tales help us unravel the cultural practices, art forms, values and ideas of various societies throughout history. Literature majors delve into historical and contemporary works, learning about major eras of creative thought and civilization development.
Literature students have the freedom to explore texts and gain familiarity with various cultures, time periods and groups in society. Graduates can be extremely versatile employees; these skill sets make graduates well-rounded and multifaceted individuals, with strong communication and analysis skills. These abilities can be applied to roles within business, technology, education and marketing.

Sample Courses

Undergraduate students exploring literature will typically begin their studies with composition classes, which help them learn how to accurately convey their thoughts, criticisms, and analysis in essay form. English composition classes typically focus on essay form, academic source citation and building rhetorical arguments. Students in their later undergraduate years will begin to focus their studies on immersive literature courses such as modern poetry, Post WWII American literature and medieval literature.

Possible Specializations

In some ways, literature and history students face similar challenges – there are so many eras, regions and cultures to cover, that these fields can seem too expansive. This is where specialty studies come in. Those who declare this major can choose a comparative literature route, specializing in two very different literary fields. Others can specialize in a foreign language, pairing up language fluency with literary studies and analysis. Students interested in nonfiction and rhetoric might choose to specialize in cultural studies, including African American, LGBT, women's rights, disability studies and other group discourses.

Degree Types

Students of literature can pursue degrees ranging from the associate to the Ph.D levels, however, a four-year degree minimum is a common requirement for most employers hiring literature majors.


Some colleges offer an Associate of Arts Degree in English Literature. These two-year degrees are generally used by students who wish to apply course credits toward a future bachelor's degree. Since many writing, marketing and teaching jobs require a bachelor's degree, it can be very difficult to find work with just an associate degree in literature.


This four-year degree gives students enough time to cover the fundamentals of critical reading and writing practices, while delving into a specialty within literature. People who graduate with a bachelor's degree in literature can find work as online marketers, journalists, English language instructors and technical writers.


Students who continue on to graduate school with a master's degree program will typically dedicate an additional one to two years to their studies. These individuals gain further specialization, and might even instruct their own courses as graduate teaching assistants. Master's degree holders can gain work in professional writing, editorial leadership, English language instruction and marketing.


These students are on track to faculty positions at colleges. They dedicate their time to researching key texts within literature, honing their knowledge on specific themes, time periods and groups within literature. Those who graduate with a Ph.D. can find administrative work within companies and schools, or leadership roles across the publishing industry, but particularly in the academic sphere.
Students should explore networking and funding opportunities with academic groups like Sigma Tau Delta (the International English Honors Society). These organizations award scholars who commit themselves to remarkable academic achievements within literature.

Ideal Candidates for Literature

Students with strong communication skills, both verbal and written, will find they excel as literature majors. These skills can help with the reading, interpretation and analysis of literary texts, tasks that take up quite a bit of time within a student's course load. Students with a significant interest in poetry or screenplays might discover that strong verbal communication skills can help with the recitation process, which is integral to understanding these works.
Literature majors should also be highly adaptable, since they will often stray outside of their comfort zones to analyze unfamiliar texts. This might include works from various cultures and groups within society. Literature allows students to gain insight into people's experiences from a different class, race, ability and identity background. At the graduate level, scholars might even be encouraged to travel abroad, especially if their studies involve a foreign language. The ability to adapt can serve students well as they encounter new and unfamiliar texts and environments.

Career Pathways

Literature majors have a more diverse pick of prospective careers than most college graduates. They can pursue teaching roles at English language immersion schools domestically and abroad. They can explore writing for publications or for marketing departments. Literature majors can also find roles on writing or editorial teams.
Postsecondary English language and literature teachers can make an average of $67,980, with the majority of these professionals being hired by colleges and other academic institutions. Many of these roles are faculty positions that are available to graduate degree holders.
The median pay for editors is $53,880 a year, with the majority of professionals working for newspaper, book and magazine publishers. Unfortunately, the career prospects for growth in this role are very low, with a job outlook rate of -2% before the year 2022. On the other hand, there is still a slightly higher demand for writers , who make an average of $55,940 a year, with the majority working within the information, scientific and technical sectors.

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Literature Journals & Trade Magazines

  • Journals

    • American Literary Scholarship

      Duke University Press is the publisher of this MLA sponsored, peer-reviewed journal covering American authors from the colonial era through the present.

    • Arthuriana

      This one of a kind journal is dedicated to all facets of the King Arthur story, from its start in the Middle Ages to modern treatments in stage, film and writing.

    • Critical Inquiry

      An interdisciplinary journal presenting critical thought about the arts, humanities and literature since 1974.

    • International Journal of English and Literature

      This is an open source journal that is published monthly. It features articles in all areas of African literature, literature appreciation and cultural studies.

    • Journal of Modern Literature

      Published by Indiana University Press and recently expanded to include contemporary writing and established literature is considered by many the journal of record for modern literature.

    • Literary Imagination

      A resource and forum for those interested in quality literature spans the breadth of civilization from ancient to modern and criss-crossing language borders.

    • New England Review

      The NER has long held the goal of publishing new fiction, non-fiction and poetry that, at the same time, has always made a point of testing readers' comfort zones.

    • Ploughshares

      Begun in a Cambridge Massachusetts publication in 1971 and based out of Emerson College, this publication has played host to literary luminaries like Seamus Heaney and Raymond Carver.

    • Tin House

      A melding of diverse literary journals and glossy magazines, this publication aims to please passionate readers who are not necessarily academics or publishing professionals.

  • Trade Magazines

    • Granta

      Looking very good for its age (125 years old), this magazine founded by students at Cambridge University continues to publish some of the world's finest ...

Literature Grants & Scholarships

  • Grants

    • Minnesota Emerging Writers' Grant

      Deadline: March 28th

      Award Amount: $10,000

      Minnesota writers are the beneficiary of this grant designed to help writers create action plans that will further their literary careers.

    • The Gulliver Travel Research Grant

      Deadline: September 30th

      Award Amount: $800

      The Speculative Literature Foundation makes this award available for the purpose of aiding recipients in paying for travel so they may continue their research in speculative literature.

  • Scholarships

    • Debra Plousha Moore and John E. Moore Jr. Scholarship

      Deadline: April 2nd

      Award Amount: $3,000

      Applicants are required to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, complete an application indicating their financial need and write a short statement indicating their ...

    • English Alumni Scholarship

      Deadline: March 17th

      Award Amount: $1,000

      Two University of Missouri undergraduates will receive $1,000 to continue their studies as English majors if they have a 3.0 GPA or higher and submit an essay ...

    • Kelsey Harris Writing Scholarship

      Deadline: March 25th

      Award Amount: $1,000

      Writing is at the heart of this scholarship for graduating high school seniors pursuing a writing career with the award being sent directly to the successful ...

    • Madeline and Joseph Wolfolk Thomas Scholarship

      Deadline: March 7th

      Award Amount: $7,500

      Merit is the exclusive basis of this Louisville University award. It can be used for tuition and room and board by successful applicants who have completed at ...

    • Milton Postgraduate Fellowship

      Deadline: March 15th

      Award Amount: $16,000

      This is a nine month fellowship stipend to enable new Christian writers the opportunity to finish their first book length manuscript of fiction, poetry or ...

    • Nick Ivins Memorial Literature Scholarship

      Deadline: March 5th

      Award Amount: $1,100

      This is an Arizona State University scholarship for English majors who have already completed 25 credit hours, are full-time students and have a minimum of a ...

    • Norma Ross Walter Scholarship

      Deadline: January 31st

      Award Amount: $2,000

      This scholarship is named in honor of WWII Navy Wave Norma Ross Walter and is for female Nebraska high school graduates who plan to or are already enrolled as ...

    • The Miriam R. Taub Scholarship

      Deadline: March 31st

      Award Amount: $2,500

      Young women who are the first in the family to attend college and who have at least a 3.25 GPA may apply for this scholarship. Preference is given to 1st ...

    • William D. Cocorinis Scholarship

      Deadline: March 17th

      Award Amount: $1,000

      The Department of Languages and Literature at the University of Utah established this scholarship for the benefit of students who are studying modern or ...

    • William T. Lowe Scholarship

      Deadline: April 7th

      Award Amount: $3,000

      William Lowe, a mystery writer, created and funds this scholarship based on his belief that a college education is necessary for a young person to achieve ...

Literature Internships

  • Center for Talented Youth


    Johns Hopkins University is in search of writing instructors and teaching assistants to work in summer programs for gifted students in grades K-12 at 11 locations nationwide.

  • Harper Collins


    Harper Collins is on the lookout for summer interns who would like to acquire broad experience in publishing.

  • NPR


    This unique internship opportunity is by NPR, which regularly moves individuals from intern to employee upon graduation, with almost 10% of their current staff coming from the ranks of internships.

  • Penguin Group


    Spring, summer and fall semester internships are available on a rolling application basis for positions in a variety of departments. Students who can commit to 14-28 hours of work per week.

  • Scholastic


    Scholastic, the education publisher, offers full-time (35 hours/week) paid internships to qualified juniors and seniors with strong computer skills who attend accredited colleges or universities.

  • Simon & Schuster


    Internships are available throughout the year, with applications accepted on a rolling basis. Candidates must be undergraduate or graduate students who can work from 16-20 hours per week.

  • The New Press


    As a nonprofit, The New Press is highly dependent on interns and makes a concerted effort to treat them in the same way as salaried assistants.

  • Verso Books


    Available at locations in the US and UK, these 16 week internships are paid at the rate of $9 per hour with applications accepted on a rolling basis for slots during fall, spring and summer ...

  • W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.


    This is a paid internship ($8 per hour) available to college students who will benefit from an introduction to publishing gaining hands on experience in the day to day operations of a book publisher.

Literature Student & Professional Organizations