Critical thinking is an ever-growing interdisciplinary field of research. This paper introduces key aspects of the vast scholarship on critical thinking in higher education to the academic community of English literary studies in Sweden. Its aim is to provide a sound framework for research-based discussions of the potential for critical thinking in literature courses. To achieve this goal, the paper first presents a synopsis of the main theoretical models of critical thinking in higher education: as cognitive-argumentative skills, as cognitive-argumentative skills and psychosocial dispositions, as resistance to oppression, and as a crucial step toward critical acting and being. These models and approaches are then used to identify the conceptions of critical thinking that inform the learning objectives in undergraduate-level English literature syllabi in Sweden. The study finds that the cognitive-argumentative-skills approach dominates the conceptualization of critical thinking in English literature syllabi, but the other three models are also present in various degrees. The article ends with a call for a systematic discussion of the curricular and teaching practices that cultivate critical thinking in English literary studies.