Culture, Literature & the Arts

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The Culture, Literature & the Arts major

The Culture, Literature & the Arts major (CLA) inquires into the make-up of diverse cultures and societies, and their literatures and arts.

Students in the major study written and visual texts, interactive and performative modes of practice, and philosophical and theoretical accounts of those texts and practices.

Students gain an understanding of the complex relations among lived, represented, and speculated existence.  CLA courses focus on the historical, social, and aesthetic dimensions of arts and culture, with special attention to the intersections among gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, disability, and other vectors of power and privilege.

Career focus

CLA majors graduate with an ability to pursue inquiry across a broad range of endeavors and to become engaged, reflective, and productive global citizens. The major is excellent for careers that demand strong written and verbal communication capabilities, such as law, publishing, public relations, journalism, web content production, museum and bookstore management, and teaching. CLA majors may also advance their studies by pursuing graduate degrees in a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary fields that engage the humanities. 

Major requirements


While there are no official prerequisites beyond the requirements for admission into the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, students choosing this major will find it helpful to be able to write an analytical paper and should have at least two courses in literature, the visual arts, or performance. Historical knowledge and competency in foreign languages is also highly desirable. At UW Bothell, students may benefit from taking one of the 200-level gateway courses for the major: BIS 206 Engaging Literary Arts; BIS 209 Engaging Visual and Media Arts; BIS 212 Engaging Performing Arts; and/or BIS 215 Literature into Film

Degree requirements

  • BIS 300 Interdisciplinary Inquiry*- min. 2.0 grade (5 credits)
  • CLA Core (5 credits)
  • CLA Courses (35 credits)
  • BIS 499 Portfolio Capstone - min. 2.5 grade (5 credits)
  • Additional IAS Coursework (20 credits)

TOTAL = 70 Credits

*Should be taken in the first quarter of IAS enrollment. 

Learning objectives

The Culture, Literature & the Arts curriculum advances the five core IAS learning objectives. Students taking courses and/or majoring in Culture, Literature & the Arts:

  1. Engage the complex question of what cultures are and do;
  2. Analyze diverse forms of cultural production and consumption, including literature and language, film and media, music and sound, visual arts and images, performing arts and kinesthetics;
  3. Appreciate the richness and complexity of artistic communication, language, and imagination;
  4. Investigate the importance of form, design, and genre across the arts;
  5. Understand how creativity and artistic expression are embedded within larger social and cultural contexts;
  6. Understand how artistic practices and cultural production vary across time and space.


Please contact the CLA Faculty Coordinator if you have any questions, concerns or ideas about the Culture, Literature and the Arts major. To declare the CLA major, please contact the First Year & Pre-Major Program.

Academic Advisor

Research Librarian


Recommended preparation 

Interested in exploring this major, but not ready to commit? Consider taking one of the below courses! Any of these selections will help familiarize you with the academic program and prepare you for advanced coursework in the major.

  • BIS 161 Introduction to Film Narrative
  • BIS 206 Engaging Literary Arts
  • BIS 209 Engaging Visual and Media Arts
  • BISIA 207 Introduction to Creative Writing: Words, Stories, Dialogues  
  • BISIA 230 Performing Arts Techniques
  • BISIA 240 Visual and Media Arts Techniques

A. Introduction to Culture, Literature & the Arts (CLA:CORE)

5 credits required from the below list

  • BISCLA 380 Arts in Context
  • BISCLA 384 Literary and Popular Genres

B.  Culture, Literature & the Arts Courses (CLA) 

35 credits required from the below list

  • BISIA 207 Introduction to Creative Writing: Words, Stories, Dialogues
  • BISIA 310 Creative Writing: Poetry
  • BISIA 311 Creative Writing: Prose
  • BISIA 401 Literary and Arts Journal Editorial Board
  • BISIA 410 Advanced Creative Writing Workshop
  • BIS 206 Engaging Literary Arts
  • BIS 207 Shakespeare and Film
  • BIS 208 Experimenting through the Arts
  • BIS 209 Engaging Visual and Media Arts
  • BIS 212 Engaging Performing Arts
  • BIS 245 Environmental Humanities
  • BIS 261 Introduction to Film Studies
  • BIS 263 Literature into Film
  • BIS 301 Narrative Forms
  • BIS 324 Gender, Human Rights, and Global Cinema 
  • BIS 331 Journalism and Media History
  • BIS 332 Global Digital Industries
  • BIS 347 History of American Documentary Film
  • BIS 361 Studies in American Literature
  • BIS 363 Politics and Popular Music
  • BIS 370 Nineteenth Century American Literature
  • BIS 371 Twentieth Century American Literature
  • BIS 378 Languages of Poetry
  • BIS 379 American Ethnic Literatures
  • BIS 385 Art and Climate Change
  • BIS 387 Women and American Literature
  • BIS 388 Literature in Translation 
  • BIS 389 American Indian Literature
  • BIS 407 Children's Literature and Reader Response Criticism
  • BIS 465 Performance, History, and Memory
  • BIS 471 Women in Art
  • BIS 481 Modernism, Postmodernism, and American Literature
  • BISIA 230 Performing Arts Techniques
  • BISIA 240 Visual and Media Arts Techniques
  • BISIA 250 Photography as Art
  • BISIA 283 Interdisciplinary Art Techniques
  • BISIA 319 Interdisciplinary Arts
  • BISIA 340 Visual and Media Arts Workshop
  • BISIA 344 Video Art
  • BISIA 350 Photography and Digital Art
  • BISIA 383 Interdisciplinary Arts Workshop
  • BISIA 450 Image and Imagination
  • BISIA 483 Advanced Interdisciplinary Arts Workshop
  • BISIA 484 Arts Learning in the Community
  • BIS 204 Introduction to Journalism
  • BIS 205 Technologies of Expression
  • BIS 216 Introduction to Cultural Studies
  • BIS 227 Rad Women in the Global South
  • BIS 233 Participatory Media Culture
  • BIS 235 Critical Media Studies
  • BIS 236 Introduction to Interactive Media
  • BIS 238 Language, Identity, Culture and Power
  • BIS 256 Introduction to African American Studies
  • BIS 264 Africa on Film
  • BIS 265 Introduction to Comparative Ethnic Studies
  • BIS 310 Women, Culture and Development 
  • BIS 313 Issues in Media Studies
  • BIS 314 Topics in Geography
  • BIS 317 Language, Society and Cultural Knowledge
  • BIS 322 Topics in Performance Studies
  • BIS 326 Race, Space, and Segregation
  • BIS 339 Issues in Global Cultural Studies
  • BIS 340 Approaches to Cultural Research
  • BIS 341 Topics in the Study of Culture
  • BIS 351 Topics in American Culture
  • BIS 372 Representation, Colonialism, and the Tropical World
  • BIS 431 Issues in Sexual Politics and Cultures
  • BIS 440 Topics in Everyday Social and Cultural Life
  • BIS 450 Performance and Healing
  • BIS 455 Literature and Sexuality
  • BIS 464 Topics in Advanced Cinema Studies
  • BIS 470 Art, Politics, and Social Change
  • BIS 474 Topics in European Cultural History
  • BIS 485 Topics in Cultural Studies
  • BIS 486 Studies in Women and Literature
  • BIS 487 Topics in American Literature
  • BIS 488 Topics in British Literature
  • BIS 491 Topics in Policy Studies
  • BISAES 364 Public Memory and Dissent in American Culture
  • BISAES 367 Exploring American Culture: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration
  • BISAES 369 American Culture and Mass Media
  • BISGWS 303 Approaches to Feminist Inquiry
  • BISMCS 234 Media and Communication Techniques
  • BISMCS 333 Media and Communication Studies
  • BISMCS 343 Media Production Workshop
  • BISMCS 471 Advanced Topics in Media and Communication
  • BISMCS 472 Advanced Media Production Workshop
  • BISPSY 348 Cultural Psychology

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