Discover the Secrets of Taylor Swift’s Songwriting at Stanford University’s Groundbreaking Course!

Stanford University is offering a course titled “The Last Great American Songwriter: Storytelling with Taylor Swift Through the Eras.” This course, developed by Ava Jeffs as part of the school’s Student Initiated Course program, is an exciting opportunity for fans of Taylor Swift and aspiring songwriters to delve into the art of songwriting and explore the narrative power of music. In this article, we will take a closer look at the course, its objectives, and what students can expect to learn.


Stanford University introduces an innovative course focused on Taylor Swift’s storytelling skills and her impact as a songwriter.

About the Course

The course is titled “The Last Great American Songwriter: Storytelling with Taylor Swift Through the Eras.” It is a student-initiated course offered to all undergraduate students through the university’s English department.

Course Development

Ava Jeffs, a lifelong fan of Taylor Swift, conceived the idea for the course due to a lack of contemporary music analysis in academic settings. She wanted to explore Swift’s songwriting as an art form and draw parallels between her songs and classic literature.

Course Objectives

The primary objective of the course is to analyze Swift’s repertoire in a literary context. Students will delve into her discography, album by album, and explore the interplay between literary references, lyricism, and storytelling techniques. The course aims to deepen students’ understanding of the narrative power of music.

Course Structure

The course will span a 10-week program, with each week dedicated to a different album from Taylor Swift’s discography. Students will analyze the evolution of her songwriting style, explore the cultural impact of her music, and discuss how she reinvented herself throughout her career.

Grading and Evaluation

The course will be graded on a satisfactory/non-satisfactory basis, allowing students to fully immerse themselves in the material without the pressure of traditional grading. The grades obtained in this course will not impact students’ GPAs.

Supervision and Support

Professor Mark McGurl, an experienced literature professor, will supervise academic integrity and grading for the course. Students will receive guidance and support throughout their learning journey.

Course Impact

Stanford University’s dedication to offering courses on Taylor Swift’s music highlights her influence as a songwriter and the cultural significance of her work. This course provides a unique opportunity for students to explore the intersection of music and literature.

Personal Connection

Ava Jeffs, the creator of the course, emphasizes her personal connection with Taylor Swift’s music. She shares how Swift’s songs have helped her navigate personal challenges and hopes to inspire fellow students through this course.


The introduction of “The Last Great American Songwriter: Storytelling with Taylor Swift Through the Eras” at Stanford University opens doors for students to explore the artistry and literary aspects of music. The course aims to foster a deeper appreciation for Taylor Swift’s songwriting and its narrative impact.


1. Can non-Stanford students audit this course?

No, Stanford’s courses, including this one, are not available for auditing by the public. They are exclusive to enrolled students.

2. Will this course count towards my GPA?

No, the course will be graded as satisfactory/non-satisfactory and will not impact your GPA. It is designed to encourage exploration and learning without the pressure of traditional grading systems.

3. How does Taylor Swift’s songwriting connect to classic literature?

The course aims to draw parallels between Swift’s songs and classic works of literature, exploring themes, literary devices, and narrative structures. This connection enhances the understanding of storytelling techniques in both music and literature.

4. How will the course benefit aspiring songwriters?

The course provides aspiring songwriters with insights into the songwriting process and the narrative possibilities within music. It offers a unique perspective on crafting stories through songs, drawing inspiration from Taylor Swift’s successful career as a songwriter.

5. What other universities offer courses on Taylor Swift?

Some universities, such as Boston’s Berklee College of Music, the University of Texas, and New York University, have also offered courses dedicated to Taylor Swift’s music. These courses explore her songs as literary works and analyze her use of poetic devices and storytelling techniques.