The M.A in Literature: Ecocriticism Option

About the Ecocriticism Option

The English Department now offers an innovative new option in Ecocriticism.  The option is for students interested in how literature shapes our understanding of the environment and vice-versa.  In addition to courses required for all MA Literature students, those who pursue the Ecocriticism option will take core upper-division coursework in Ecocritical Theory and Practice (LIT 422), along with seminars in Literature, Nature and Politics (LIT 524) and Special Topics in Ecocriticism (LIT 502).  A rich variety of upper-division electives in the Literature(s) of Place, Nature Writing in British and American Literature, and Ecology in Non-Western Literary Traditions will also be available to students pursing the Ecocriticism option.  The option is designed to prepare students who intend to pursue Ph.D. work in Literature and the Environment and/or to assist those who wish to incorporate a concern for ecological and social justice issues within their pedagogy.

Working with nationally recognized scholars in the field, students who successfully complete requirements for the option will have this accomplishment officially recorded on their transcripts.

Contact:  Louise Economides, Director of Literature & the Environment (

Option Requirements

A minimum of 36 total credits is required.  Please see requirements for M.A. Literature degree for areas of overlap.

  1. Three upper-division core courses in the Literature and the Environment (LIT 422, LIT 524, LIT 502).
  2. Three additional 500-level seminars (LIT 500, 520, 521 or 522). 
  3. At least four additional upper-division courses (another seminar, 400-level UG LIT classes, WRIT 540, Independent Study coursework, coursework in other programs). 

Given the interdisciplinary nature of green studies, at least one of these courses must be taken from a department outside of English.  This course should provide a framework for thinking about environmental issues.  Students might take courses in complementary humanities programs housed outside English, such as those required for the Environmental Philosophy emphasis (Philosophy Dept.), those included in EVST’s focus areas (Environmental Justice, Environmental Knowledge of Native Peoples and Environmental Writing) or courses in Comparative Cultural Studies offered by MCLL.  Alternatively, students might take courses within the sciences relevant to environmental study, such as those within the Systems Ecology program in the Division of Biological Sciences.  Historically, MA Lit students have taken courses in other departments without a barrier being posed by prerequisites.  For example, English students have taken courses such as PHIL 504 and PHIL 591 (formerly PHIL 427) in the Philosophy Department, ENST 487, 505, 530 and 573 in EVST, MCLL522 in the MCLL Department and BIOB 513, 519 and 575 in Biological Sciences.  Please consult the English Department’s Director of Graduate Studies with questions regarding classes that might meet this requirement.

Also required:  up to six Thesis credits (LIT 599)