Bachelor of Letters

Bachelor of Letters (BLitt or LittB; Latin Baccalaureus Litterarum or Litterarum Baccalaureus) is a second undergraduate university degree in which students specialize in an area of study relevant to their own personal, professional, or academic development. This area of study may have been touched on in a prior undergraduate degree but not studied in depth, or may never have been formally taught to the student. The degree is less often awarded now than in previous centuries, and is, at the current time, only awarded by two universities in Australia and four universities in Turkey, although it is still very common in Brazil.


Although the BLitt degree was once awarded by many Australian universities, it is now awarded only by Flinders University, Monash University as an arts-based degree exclusively for university graduates, and, until recently, the University of Western Australia. The BLitt was once offered by the Australian National University, Deakin University and the University of Melbourne.[1][2]


To graduate as a Bachelor of Letters (Bacharelado em Letras) in Brazil typically requires coursework in Literature, Linguistics, and, depending on the institution, Translation Studies. It takes four to five years to complete such a bachelor's degree, and graduates often pursue careers in translation or research. A Bachelor of Letters degree may differ from the Licentiate degree called Licenciatura em Letras, which focuses on teaching and Applied Linguistics, and thus includes coursework and seminars on pedagogy and classroom practice, to prepare graduates to become language instructors. It also takes four or five years to complete a Licenciate degree, and students are expected to focus their studies on a foreign language and/or Portuguese. Unlike a bachelor's degree in Letters, a Licenciate Degree qualifies graduates to teach at public and private schools in Brazil.

United KingdomEdit

The degree was awarded by the University of Oxford and a small number of other universities, including the University of Birmingham. It was still available at Oxford in 1977 though it has since been replaced by the more research-based Master of Letters degree.[3][4] Unsuccessful candidates for the DPhil at Oxford were, certainly until the 1960s, offered the option of accepting the BLitt if they did not wish to revise their thesis in a further attempt to be admitted to the degree of DPhil. The verb "to BLitt" a candidate was sometimes used to indicate that the BLitt had been obtained via this route, hence, for example "He was BLitt-ed."[citation needed]

United StatesEdit

In the late 19th century the degree was awarded at the University of Michigan.[5] During the early years, Marywood University, formerly a women's college, offered the degree.[6] A degree of Bachelor of Arts in Letters has been awarded at the University of Oklahoma since 1937, when the school of Letters was organized in the College of Arts and Sciences.[7]


  1. ^ "Bachelor of Letters (0202) - Undergraduate Course - Arts - Monash University Handbooks 2014". Monash University. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Rules : UWA Handbook 2015 : The University of Western Australia". 2014-11-04. Archived from the original on 2014-11-04. Retrieved 2018-03-27.
  3. ^ Examination decrees and regulations (University of Oxford, 1977): "Of the Admission of Candidates for the Degree of Bachelor of Letters i. Any person may be admitted to a course of special study preparatory to research, to be pursued at Oxford, as a Probationer-student for the Degree of Bachelor of Letters..."
  4. ^ "About our programmes - University of Oxford". University of Oxford. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  5. ^ Charles Willcox, ed., General Register, University of Michigan (1892), pp. 36-40
  6. ^ Dunn, Josephine Marie; Kashuba, Cheryl A. (2007). Images of America — The Women of Scranton: 1880-1935. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 59–61. ISBN 9780738538587.
  7. ^ "Major in Letters". University of Oklahoma. Archived from the original on 22 August 2016. Retrieved 11 September 2016.