Students interested in literature can enroll in a variety of online literature certificate programs, ranging from world literature to children's literature. Coursework from some certificate programs can be applied to graduate or undergraduate degree programs in literature or a related area. Other programs can be useful for a student simply wishing to explore the subject area. Common majors that include literature courses are children's literature, multicultural literature and literary fiction.
Online courses utilize print and Web technology and vary in length, requiring anywhere from 12-20 credit hours. Many of them can be completed in one or two semesters. Many courses are asynchronous, allowing students to complete assignments on their own time. Some are available entirely online, while others are taught in hybrid form, meaning students have to complete some on-campus components. Many of the courses are taught by the school's on-campus faculty, whom students have access to during the course.
Monterey Peninsula College
Undergraduate Certificate in Great Books (Online)
Online students enrolled in this California community college's literature certificate program begin with an introductory course in literature, after which they take a minimum of four more courses, choosing from such topics as Shakespeare, the Bible as literature, philosophy, British literature, literary masterpieces, and ancient Mediterranean and Near East history. Students write papers and participate in online discussions about the readings. Upon completion, participants are presented with a 'Great Books Scholar' certificate. Credits are transferable to California State University and University of California bachelor's degree programs.
University of Washington
Undergraduate Certificate in Literary Fiction Writing (Hybrid)
This certificate program is open to anyone wishing to write literary fiction. Taught through the UW School of Professional and Continuing Education, the curriculum contains both on-campus and online coursework, so students will need to live in the Seattle area.
Students take three courses: two literary fiction foundation courses and a capstone course. After learning basic storytelling concepts, such as character development, plot and point of view, students begin working on their own fiction writing and present it in class workshops.
The capstone course addresses how to research the writing market and submit work. At the end of the program, students can submit work to the university's literary journal, Stratus: Journal of Arts and Writing. Three continuing education units are awarded for each of the three courses. Throughout the program, students have access to guest speakers that include published authors.
East Carolina University
Graduate Certificate in Multicultural and Transnational Literature (Online)
This interdisciplinary literature program is designed for professionals, college professors, graduate students and others seeking to learn about mainstream literature. Courses focus on ethnic American literature and world literature written in English and emphasize genre, literary criticism and historical context. Students can choose from elective courses in African, Asian, world indigenous, Jewish, Caribbean and Middle Eastern literature.
Penn State Online
Graduate Certificate in Children's Literature (Online)
This 15-credit hour program is designed for school librarians, children's writers, K-12 teachers and others interested in the subject. Students explore classic and modern-day children's books and learn about the folklore, myths and pictures in children's literature. Taught through a blend of text and Web presentations, course topics for the certificate include research, myths and folktales, children's fantasy literature and adolescent literature. Credits from the certificate can be transferred to Penn State's online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction program with an emphasis in children's literature.
Overall, lovers of literature can take standalone classes in the subject or enroll in an undergraduate or graduate certificate program. Schools that offer online educational opportunities in literature include Monterey Peninsula College, the University of Washington and Penn State.