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DL - Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.)

Program Title

Doctor of Letters

Program Type


Degree Designation



Program Description

Effective prior to 2011

Modifications Made to Curriculum: Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

The interdisciplinary Arts and Letters program recognizes that in the contemporary world, a thorough grounding in the humanities offers the necessary intellectual and personal development for individuals to stay informed about timely issues—and timeless speculations—emerging throughout the world.

Advanced Research

In consultation with an adviser, students in the D.Litt. Program must write a dissertation based on significant and sustained scholarly primary research.

Concentrations for D.Litt.

D.Litt. candidates also do a concentration of 4 courses, which should be selected to achieve congruence and connectedness. D.Litt. students must declare a concentration prior to registering for their 6th course. Some A&L courses may serve different concentrations, depending on content and subject to consultation with the Program Director. Students must also take coursework from at least three separate areas of study. The available concentrations are:

Literary Studies: Explore the craft and meanings of literature from past and present, encompassing a variety of authors, time periods, and genres from Shakespeare to the graphic novel.

Fine Arts and Media Studies: Explore the academic study of the arts, practice of the arts, and the arts in the public sphere.

Historical Studies: Explore historiography and topics in a curriculum mainly focusing on Europe and America.

Studies in Religion: Explore the phenomenon of religion through a diversity of disciplines, approaches, and across traditions and cultural contexts.

Teaching in the Two-Year College: Study in this concentration supports students training to teach at two-year colleges, including training in pedagogy, teaching specialization, and an internship.

Teaching Writing: Study in this concentration enables teachers of all levels the opportunity to use research and theory to foster a vision of literacy learning as an active social process in which students become engaged writers.

Writing: Explore writing through several different genres, including but not limited to: essay, poetry, short story, prose, and academic writing. This concentration is required for a creative writing dissertation.

Free Form Requisites

Degree Requirements

Students in the Doctor of Letters program complete 45 credit hours from Arts and Letters listings, as well as approved courses from other Caspersen and Theological School programs

I. Required Courses (6 credit hours)

Complete all of the following:

  • course - Liberal Studies: What They Are, What They Do

  • course - The Joy of Scholarly Writing: Beginning the Dissertation Process

II. Concentration

In order to ensure congruence and connectedness within the course of study, D.Litt students must declare a concentration prior to registering for their 6th course.

A. Literary Studies (12 credits)

Selected from AREL and by Program Director approval.

B. Fine Arts and Media Studies (12 credits)

Selected from ARFA and by Program Director approval.

C. Historical Studies (12 credits)

Selected from ARHI and from HIST by Program Director approval.

D. Studies in Religion (12 credits)

Selected from ARSP, and from REL or Theological School offerings by Program Director approval.

E. Teaching in the Two-Year College (12 credits)

Complete all of the following:

  1. course - Introduction to the Two-Year College

  2. course - Two Year College Internship

  3. Two Arts and Letters courses in one’s teaching specialization.

F. Writing (12 credits)

Selected from ARWR (in addition to course,  and not including course or course) and by Program Director approval.

Required concentration for a Creative Writing dissertation.

G. Teaching Writing (12 credits)

Refer to the program page for requirements.

Note: As of the 2020-2021 Academic Year, Conflict Resolution is no longer available as a  concentration; instead, it is available as a stand-alone certificate to all Arts and Letters students. Refer to the Conflict Resolution & Leadership page for requirements.

III. Electives (18 credit hours)

The remainder of a D.Litt. student’s coursework should be selected from a minimum of two other areas of concentration, and in consultation with the Program Director, to achieve breadth and depth in interdisciplinary training. Students must take courses with a minimum of three different professors.

IV. Dissertation (9 credit hours)