Comparative Literary Studies Program

Comparative Literary Studies Program


Thank you for visiting our website. If you love to read, then this may very well be the perfect major for you!


The Comparative Literary Studies Program Major (CLS) introduces students to fundamental questions about the nature, function, and value of literature in an expansive and broadly comparative context–outside national and linguistic boundaries and in conversation with other texts, cultures, media, or technologies. CLS majors become adept in multiple cultures and disciplines; they develop habits of mind as well as skills in close reading, critical analysis and written communication that will serve them throughout their lives as citizens and in any career they might choose.

The program brings together faculty from Classics, East Asian Studies, English, French, German Studies, Italian Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Spanish, and Russian to showcase the exciting breadth and diversity of literary study at Wellesley. Students draw from coursework offered in a variety of departments and programs to construct a program of study that reflects their intellectual goals and areas of interest. Students and faculty in CLS are vitally engaged with not only language and literature programs but also with interdisciplinary programs such as American Studies, Peace and Justice Studies, Africana Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Environmental Studies, to name just a few.

All students planning to major in the Comparative Literary Studies should work with the director of the program or a major advisor, who will help them develop a coherent, well-focused sequence of courses suited to their individual interests. A student in CLS might study topics that link literature, defined expansively, with visual media, gender and sexuality, literary history,philosophy, linguistics, environmental studies, colonialism, human rights and global censorship, postcolonial and diaspora studies, literary theory, film, and translation. Majors in CLS often pursue double majors, because of the flexibility of the major, which allows them to combine their interests in multiple fields, including STEM fields, and to structure their degrees around them. A major in the Comparative Literary Studies will add value to any resume, and our graduates pursue careers such as media, law, public service, the non-profit sector, publishing, international business, and academia, among others.

Learning Goals for the Comparative Literary Studies Program Major

  • Practice and refine skills in the analysis of literary texts, genres and literary movements across departmental, national, and linguistic boundaries and in conversation with other texts, cultures, media or technologies.
  • Learn to recognize and apply key concepts of theoretical approaches to cultural and textual studies.
  • Acquire an overview of the history and disciplines of the Comparative Literary Studies Program and world literature, especially as they evolve in the current global literary moment.
  • Acquire a thorough understanding of the dynamics presented by a literary text in translation and adaptation.