Thomas University to begin offering Literature & Media degree fall 2021

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When faculty in Thomas University’s Division of Humanities began looking at offering an undergraduate literature degree, they set out to create a different kind of degree program.

“The idea was to transform a traditional English degree into something that is more technology-focused and more based on storytelling,” said Dr. Sandra Simonds, TU English program coordinator. “Our idea was to take those English classes and then use them as a starting off point to create digital narratives, look at the ways that the texts are talked about through different media, the public discourse and things like that.”

The result is a bachelor’s degree in Literature in Media that will begin this fall. Majors in the new program can choose between a focus on traditional literary study or digital media communications.

The major still includes the traditional literature curriculum found in most undergraduate English degrees but with a different teaching approach.

“A key component of this degree program is that students are never studying that literature in isolation with just a book,” said Dr. Jason Dunn, Chair of the Division of Humanities. “They’re always going to be engaging those ideas through digital online conversations, which is how relevant literary study takes place. That’s going to be built into all of these courses. As students are studying literature, they’re also developing digital communication skills at the same time.”

For example, students will study works by Shakespeare, but unlike in a traditional English degree program, students won’t just read a play by Shakespeare, write an essay and turn in that essay to a professor.

“That’s not what this is going to be,” Dunn said. “You’re going to read that play. You’re going to think creatively and critically. Then you’re going to engage in some kind of online discussion and communicate that way about race, about gender, about these things. That brings the creative and critical thinking of an English degree into a digital realm.”

Other classes included in the Literature and Media degree program include “Cultural Criticism in a Digital World,” Creative Nonfiction,” “Creative Writing” and “Digital Media Writing.”

Students who graduate with the Literature and Media degree will be prepared for careers in creative and social media technology, English education, law and other graduate students. Those interested in a more technical career can choose to study digital content skills and apply those skills to social media marketing and innovative storytelling. As part of the program, students will work closely with faculty members to create a portfolio of their professional work. This major also gives students hands-on experience in web and graphic design, film and digital photography applicable to a wide range of occupations and professions. Students graduating with this degree program will be prepared to enter careers immediately after graduation or enter graduate school.

“This degree is practical and useful for the 21st century,” Simonds said. “There’s a lot of need for people who can write and also who can use technology to convey their writing.”

Students in the Literature and Media major will produce the Night Hawk Review, TU’s literary journal, which will now be in a digital format. They will also have the opportunity to become members of TU’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English honor society, and attend conferences where they can present their literary scholarship. Literature and Media students will also have opportunities to share their work through the TU Media Arts Gallery.

For more information about the new bachelor’s degree in Literature and Media, visit or call the Office of Admission at 844-862-6978. Appointments by phone or video conference are available with admissions representatives and student success advisors.

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