The program is based on reading works in both poetry and prose, as well as critical examination of theory and of different methods of study drawing from the fields of literature and aesthetics, as well as gender and cultural studies.
The department also includes a Special Program in Literary Writing in which writers and poets teach creative writing workshops in poetry, prose, and essay writing.
Study in the program is based in three historical divisions:
- Aggadah and folkloric literature: the midrash and aggadah in rabbinic literature, and the folkloric literature from antiquity to the present age.
- Poetry and piyyut up to the 18th century: liturgical poetry, secular poetry, rhymed prose, as well as renaissance and baroque poetry.
- Hebrew literature from the 18th century to the present: literature of the Haskalah and modern period, poetry and prose from outset of Zionism, and contemporary Hebrew literature.