What do you call literature that a student may choose to study for a certain course. I don't mean optional literature, or reference material, but rather a selection of books, articles etc from which the student must choose a given number of texts, but they still get to choose within that selection. Do you say that it is elective? Electable? What? And, while I'm at it, which is the better choice of course literature and course reading for the books etc that you need to study for a course at the university? (Or should it be something else entirely?)

Thank you!

2 Answers 2


I'm not aware of any specific adjectives that do what you're asking. Of the two you suggest: "elective" would tend to refer to the course as a whole, not the reading material; and "electable" means something entirely different.

Exactly which word or words would fit really depends on the broader context. A couple of examples:

For my English literature course, I have to choose four texts from the reading list of ten.

Spanish Level 2 - Cervantes -- begins next Tuesday. I will focus on the first volume of Don Quixote, but for final exam purposes you will also be required to discuss your own choice of three of the twelve Novelas ejemplares.

As to the term for such material: there are many. Both of yours -- "course literature" and "course reading" -- could work, although in the case of a technical topic (science, engineering), "literature" might not be used. Others include, "reading list", "book list", "required and suggested reading", and so on.

  • I don't think the word item is so great here.
    – Lambie
    Mar 26, 2022 at 15:19
  • Yeah, there's probably something better. Got a suggestion?
    – tkp
    Mar 26, 2022 at 15:24
  • choice of text or texts
    – Lambie
    Mar 26, 2022 at 15:25
  • "I have to choose four choices of text from the reading list of ten."??? 🥴
    – tkp
    Mar 26, 2022 at 15:28
  • Ah, no, I think I gotcha. Fixed. Better?
    – tkp
    Mar 26, 2022 at 15:29

Literature Courses:

  • Required Courses
  • Elective Courses

Reading List for a course

  • reading list with choice of 5 texts [for example]
  • choice of five texts from the reading list
  • required reading [list]
  • optional reading [list]

You have a choice or choose some number of texts or works from some list.

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