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 was once awarded by many Australian universities, the degree is now only awarded 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.
A Bachelor of Letters (Bacharelado em Letras) in Brazil typically requires coursework in Literature, Linguistics, and, depending on the institution, Translation Studies. In Brazil, it takes four to five years to complete a bachelor's degree in Letters, and graduates often pursue a career in translation or research. A Bachelor of Letters may differ from a Licentiate degree (Licenciatura em Letras), which focuses on teaching and Applied Linguistics, and thus includes coursework and seminars on pedagogy, as well as classroom practica to prepare graduates to become language instructors. It takes 4-5 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 allows graduates to teach at public schools in Brazil.
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 It was still available at Oxford in 1977 though it has since been replaced by the more research-based Master of Letters. 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."
In the late 19th century the degree was awarded at the University of Michigan. During the early years, Marywood University, formerly a women's college, offered the degree. A 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.