Narrative Studies is a systematic inquiry into the determinants of an effective story. It prepares students for the development and evaluation of original content for novels, films, theatre, and other narrative platforms, but recognizes that the range of professional opportunities in literature and the performing arts is much wider than the roles of author, screenwriter, or playwright.
To recognize a good story, to critique, help shape, realize, and transform it requires a background in the history of narrative, cross-cultural and contemporary models, and an understanding of the broader context of popular culture.
Narrative Studies assumes that an effective narrative will be adapted from the medium in which it first appears as new media become available. In the past this has most often meant from written fiction to another form, but the future will likely present more opportunities for narratives written originally for new story-telling environments. To prepare students for a future in which media are likely to change, the BA in Narrative Studies allows students to study across the current platforms, while concentrating on techniques of effective construction common to them all.
In so doing, it draws upon coursework from several schools of art, but finds its home in the humanities, where the history of narrative in cross-cultural perspective has long been a topic of inquiry. To help develop the flexibility necessary to understand how stories change across platforms, students are expected to complete at least three courses in literary and three courses in performance-based media. The remaining three courses may be chosen to reflect the student’s personal preference and initial career aspirations.
MDA 490, Directed Research, is a capstone experience: students work under the guidance of a faculty member in a relevant discipline or professional field, which may include full-time faculty from the College or the participating schools of the arts. Projects intended for the stage should be done under the direction of School of Theatre faculty.
The narrative studies major is offered by the department of English. For information on the major's requirements and course descriptions, see the narrative studies requirements.