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Northwestern University

Area VI: Literature and Fine Arts

NOTE: Students who start taking classes at Northwestern after Spring 2023 should refer to the FD-LA: Literature and Arts page. The information below pertains to students who started at Northwestern Spring 2023 or earlier.

Literature and fine arts courses help you understand how the attitudes, ideas, and values of individuals, groups, societies, or cultures are represented in their literature, arts, and other creative activities. This area includes surveys of broad topics, courses that focus on significant eras, and courses that focus on a significant writer or artist. Some courses involve the study of a specific literary or artistic genre, and others involve more analytical and abstract approaches to the arts.

Why study literature and fine arts?

Many people consider the art and literature of a culture a measure of that culture's highest achievements. Creative activities also represent a culture's identity—to itself and to others—providing unique access to its history, institutions, preoccupations, and aspirations. Studying literature and fine arts can help you better understand other cultures and your own.

Choosing courses

Review the list of approved courses in literature and fine arts. This list includes a wide range of literature courses as well as courses in music and in the visual arts.

Students with good skills in certain foreign languages can satisfy the requirement by taking literature courses taught in the original language.

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