Literature/Humanities

Literature/Humanities

Literature courses expose students to master writers recognized for their ability to convey ideas, feelings, and images through the power and play of words. The study of literature provides students with an opportunity to deepen their critical reading and writing skills.

The GS "Literature-Humanities" requirement is fulfilled by the completion of at least one literature course at Columbia and either an additional literature course or one in the humanities. In addition to the rich variety of courses offered by the Department of English and Comparative Literature, students may choose from among the many literature courses found in Columbia's foreign language and literature departments as well as from the list of special GS colloquia.

Courses on literature in translation, as well as literature courses in foreign languages at the 3000 level or above, may satisfy the literature requirement. GS students may also elect to take the two-semester Literature-Humanities course, HUMA F1001-1002, to fulfill the literature or humanities requirement. The course is particularly recommended for students who are planning to major in English literature.

Click here for the 2013-2014 Literature-Humanities syllabus.

To fulfill the literature requirement, the course must focus exclusively on the formal study of poetry, fiction, or drama. Courses that focus primarily on literary theory, film, music, creative writing, or other non-literary interdisciplinary topics may not count for the literature requirement, even though they may be taught within the Department of English and Comparative Literature.

Humanities courses offer ways to understand the development of cultures and how the human experience is expressed in art, music, literature, architecture, drama, and religion.

A course from one of the following departments or interdisciplinary programs may count toward the second part of the GS Literature/Humanities requirement. (In foreign language departments, only courses at the 3000 level or above will be considered.)

  • Archaeology
  • Architecture
  • Art History and Archaeology
  • Classics
  • English and Comparative Literature
  • Film Studies
  • Germanic Languages
  • History*
  • Italian
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Religion
  • Slavic Languages
  • Spanish and Portuguese

*Courses from the Department of History may be counted toward the social science or the humanities requirement, but in no case may more than two courses from one department be used to fulfill Core requirements.

GS students may elect to take the two-semester course Masterpieces of European Literature and Philosophy, HUMA F1001-1002 (commonly known as "Lit Hum"), to fulfill the humanities or literature requirement. This year-long course is highly recommended for students considering a major in English literature or philosophy.

GS students may also elect to take the two-semester course Contemporary Civilization-F1101-1102, Contemporary Western Civilization, to fulfill one social science and one humanities requirement. This year-long course is highly recommended for students planning to major in political science.

Note: Only the first semester of Contemporary Civilization may be applied to either the humanities requirement or the social science requirement (but not both). The second semester may only be applied to the social science requirement.

Interdisciplinary Programs

The following interdisciplinary programs offer courses in both humanities and social sciences. GS advisors must determine the appropriate category for a course when taken to satisfy a GS core requirement.

  • African-American Studies
  • American Studies
  • Asian American Studies
  • Comparative Ethnic Studies
  • Comparative Literature and Society
  • East Asian Languages and Cultures
  • Human Rights
  • Latino Studies
  • Middle East, South Asian, and African Studies
  • Women's and Gender Studies

Registration and Petitioning

Students interested in registering for Literature Humanities should review the Core Registration and Petitions page.