Modern and Global Studies

The programs in Modern Literature and Culture (MLC) and Global English Literature and Culture (GELC) are merged into Modern and Global Studies (MGS).  
Questions?  Please contact Prof. Jahan Ramazani at

Modern and Global Studies

The program in Modern and Global Studies is designed for students who seek an exciting interdisciplinary approach to the literature and culture of global modernity. The program offers a rigorous concentration on modern and contemporary literature and global culture in relation to adjacent fields such as religious studies, history, fine arts, politics, psychology, ethnic studies, media studies, and literature in other languages.
This concentration also allows students in the English major to extend their study into the widest contexts of international literary achievement. Modern and Global Studies courses examine the spread of Anglophone literary culture around the world, a phenomenon that has existed from the earliest stages of English literature and that has recently become one of the most striking features of our global cultural condition. Writing in South Asia, Anglophone Africa, the South Pacific, and the Caribbean, among locations, has acquired decisive importance for the future of English. Students in Modern and Global Studies encounter the provocation and accomplishment of such work, while also preparing to become globally literate citizens of this new millennium.
Through small-group seminars, courses in literature and nonliterary fields and extracurricular events, members of the program participate in an active and collective intellectual life.
Modern and Global Studies is a two-year program. Students usually apply in the spring semester of their second year, though students are accepted on a rolling basis in later years as long as they articulate a program of study that can be completed in a timely fashion. Transfer students who arrive at Virginia at the beginning of their third year and who wish to apply to Modern and Global Studies should see the program director in the Fall term to discuss their interests.

Modern and Global Studies Requirements—

Take at least 30 credits of English courses. These must include:

  1. ENGL 3002.

  2. Either ENGL 3001 or a pre-1700 literature class.

  3. One course in literature published between 1700-1900.

  4. Two ENGL 4561 seminars.

  5. Up to four courses outside the department, determined in consultation with the program director, that relate to a particular area of interest concerned with the study of modern and global literature and culture. GDS 3030/ENGL 3030: Global Cultural Studies may be counted as one of the four interdisciplinary courses; students interested in global issues are especially urged to take it. All electives from other disciplines will normally have to be at the 3000- or 4000-level but some 2000- level courses can also count (usually ones in other language departments, when the literature is offered in translation).
Modern and Global Studies Seminars: Each semester an MGS seminar (ENGL 4561) is offered. Students should plan to take one in their third year or in the fall of their fourth year. Enrollment in the seminar is guaranteed to members of Modern and Global Studies. Much of the strength of the program derives from the collegiality and intellectual community fostered in these small-group contexts. In addition to offering intensive study of the period and the nature of interdisciplinary work, the seminars provide occasions for students to come to know and to learn from one another. Recent seminar topics include "The Global City," "The Queer Novel," “Literature and Human Rights,” “Poetry in a Global Age," The Dystopian Novel," and "Postcolonial Modernities."
Interdisciplinary Work: In addition to English courses, students in the program take up to twelve further hours of courses outside the department. These courses, chosen in consultation with the program director, reflect a student’s particular interests. Occasionally, students will take twelve hours in a single department; more often, though, they will pursue “branching courses” in various fields, with the aim of achieving related multiple perspectives on global modernity. In recent years students have designed programs of study on topics such as “The City in Modern Life,” “Gender and Modernity,” “Literature and Migration,” Black Literary Culture and Liberation,” “Literatures of Conflict and Justice,” Speculative Fiction in a Postcolonial Age,” “Postcolonial Literature,” “Crises of Faith in the Twentieth Century,” and “Authoritarianism.”
Thesis: Students in the program are encouraged to consolidate their interests during their final year, if they are qualified, by writing a thesis in the Distinguished Majors Program. For more information, please see the Distinguished Majors Program page.
Final Events: Each year in the late spring semester, members of the program gather for an evening of conviviality, scholarly discussion, and a celebratory meal. Students (individually or collectively) may present their work, a reading, an essay, a performance, or some comparable activity.



Applications are accepted during the Spring semester. Although students may apply at any time during their academic career, it is recommended that they join by the third year.​

An application should include: 

  • Application Form
  • An unofficial copy of your current transcript from the Registrar's home page

  • An endorsement completed by a faculty member or graduate teaching assistant in the College of Arts and Sciences should be sent electronically to the director of the program (Jahan Ramazani: 

  • Your current address, phone number, and e-mail address 

  • A brief statement (1-1½ pages) of what you hope to accomplish as a student in the Modern and Global Studies program

Special care should be given to the personal statement. You should briefly outline your academic goals and indicate why you believe that those goals would be best met in the context of the Modern and Global Studies Program. Give your proposed concentration a name and list several courses from other departments that would be appropriate to it. You may also mention 3000 level courses you have already taken that emphasize your intellectual interests.

Please return the completed application to Jahan Ramazani, Director of Modern and Global Studies, via email:


Admitted students should complete the declaration form putting Jahan Ramazani ( as the Department major contact.  The declaration form should indicate a major in English, Modern and Global Studies. Proposed courses should satisfy requirements specific to this concentration.

If are considering the program and have questions, you should email Prof. Ramazani. He will inform you of anything you need to think about as you consider your application.

Applications are due by April 1, 2024, at 5 p.m.​