Literature, Culture, and Tradition

BAAS Concentration in Literature, Culture, and Tradition
Literature, Culture, and Tradition

About the concentration in Literature, Culture, and Tradition

The humanities and social sciences help us to understand cultures through historical and contemporary lenses. In the Literature, Culture and Tradition concentration, you study and analyze the worldviews of different cultures, exploring cultural change and continuity over time and place. Through historical, literary, and cultural analysis of sources and artifacts, you develop research skills and learn to evaluate complex cultures and scenarios. You also apply the same analytical approaches to gain critical insights into current world challenges.

The concentration in Literature, Culture, and Tradition prepares you to:

  • Understand significant historical themes and issues from the ancient world to the present, with an emphasis on encounters and exchanges among different cultures
  • Interpret key literary and historical texts, from the perspectives of gender, religion, politics, and economics
  • Combine perspectives from multiple disciplines, including religious studies, history, economics, cultural anthropology, sociology, literary studies, and politics
  • Explore the diverse history of religion from ancient societies to the present and how it informs contemporary cultures, politics, and societies


Students in the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree will choose a concentration to tailor their undergraduate education to specific personal and professional goals. Courses within each concentration may be taken in any order, unless prerequisites are specified.

Students must complete foundational courses for the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree. In addition, students in this concentration focus their studies by completing a total of 12 courses (12 c.u.*):

  • 4 courses in 2 of the course blocks listed below (a total of 8 courses)
  • 4 additional courses with input from an academic advisor

Course options

Classics course block

  • Greek & Roman Mythology
  • Mediterranean Archaeology
  • Ancient Cities
  • Greek & Roman History

Creative Writing course block

  • The Craft of Creative Writing
  • Modern and Contemporary US Poetry
  • Poetry Workshop
  • Fiction Workshop
  • Writing About Place
  • Screenwriting
  • Advanced Nonfiction
  • Journalism

English Literature course block

  • Ways of Reading
  • Writing about Literature and Culture
  • History in Ten Books
  • Modern and Contemporary US Poetry
  • Radical Literature from the American Revolution to the Civil War

Modern Middle East Studies course block

  • The Middle East and the West
  • Women and Gender in the Middle East
  • Oil and Politics in the Middle East
  • Religious Traditions of the Middle East

Music course block

  • Music of the World
  • Contemporary African Music
  • Jazz
  • Popular Music
  • Music and Technology

Religion and Culture course block

  • Greek and Roman Mythology
  • Gods, Ghosts, and Monsters
  • Religion and Traditions of the Middle East
  • Hindu Mythology

Courses are subject to change.

    *Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.

    Careers related to Literature, Culture, and Tradition

    The analytical and communications skills gained in the Literature, Culture and Tradition concentration are essential in any communications-related profession and in many business settings. Career options include:

    • Copywriter
    • Journalist
    • Pre-law
    • Public relations professional
    • Communications officer
    • Editor
    • Publisher
    • Technical writer
    • Educator and librarian
    • Grant writer

    Course Registration

    Fall 2019 registration is now open

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