Why Literature?

The Literature major refines students’ capacities to interpret human experiences creatively represented in the written word.  Poetry, drama, novels, and stories present a universe of human imagination for Literature students to explore critically.  Drawing on the unique linguistic diversity of the students and faculty at Yale-NUS, the Literature major features courses in world Anglophone literature and beyond: our students also pursue studies in Chinese languages, ancient Greek, and Latin in Singapore and abroad, often in conjunction with the Chinese Studies or Global Antiquity independent minors.  Graduates in Literature will exercise their versatile skills in attentive reading, persuasive writing, and cross-cultural criticism wherever sophisticated interpretative and rhetorical awareness is required, for instance, law, journalism, education, and marketing.  Training in Literature also enhances creative pursuits in writing, screenwriting, and game design.

The Literature minor complements the dual degree program in Law, and majors in many other disciplines, such as Arts and Humanities, History, Environmental Studies, Global Affairs, and Urban Studies.

Through the study of literature, students cultivate highly applicable skills, especially:

  • Aesthetic analysis: the ability to identify details in a text and relate them to the work as a whole.
  • Formulating arguments: the ability to craft debatable theses by using textual evidence appropriately, develop a confident authorial voice and identify the appropriate audience for their writing.
  • Historical and cultural knowledge: the ability to identify, describe and contrast the major authors, conventions, trends, themes and texts in world literature.
  • Critical reading: the ability to recognise, question and present alternatives to cultural assumptions, received ideas and normative values.
gerhard_richter_reader1Gerhard Richter, Lesende (Reader), 1994 [credit: Collection SFMOMA]