Requirements for the Comparative Literature Major

The comparative literature major introduces students to the study of literature across departmental, national, and linguistic boundaries. Students devise their own course of study in consultation with their advisor and with the director of the program, in relation to the major’s particular languages and concentration and mindful of the many and diverse courses that pertain to the study of literature.

These include, but are not limited to, the following:

1.   courses in literary history;

2.   courses in particular literary genres, authors, or periods;

3.   courses in the theory of literature;

4.   courses in linguistics;

5.   courses on the theory and practice of translation;

6.   courses supplementing the study of literary texts offered in the humanities and social sciences.

Many courses combine or fall between these categories.

Majors in comparative literature shall complete a minimum of 10 units. All units must count toward the major in the departments in which they are offered (unless they are language courses, of which up to two 200-level courses may be counted toward the major).

1.   Foundation: Students shall take “World Literature” (CPLT 180) early in their studies.

2.   Concentration: At least three courses must be elected in a single department or program. In consultation with the advisor and director, students may choose to concentrate in the literature of a nation or a region or in a specific field of inquiry (e.g. literature & religion, translation, literature & politics, philosophical or theoretical inquires into literature, visual arts & literature, etc.). Majors assemble a group of concentration course from literature or cognate departments (of which English may be one); when relevant, the student shall be obliged to satisfy departmental prerequisites for these courses. Majors shall take a minimum of one 300-level course in their concentration.

3.   Complementation: a) Pre-modern study. Majors shall take a minimum of one course outside of the modern period. b) Interdisciplinary study. Majors may complement their literary studies by takings courses that address issues of their interest from the perspective of the sciences or the social sciences. Majors shall take at least one of our interdisciplinary courses: CPLT 208, CPLT 209, CPLT 200, or CPLT 294.


Majors shall take CPLT 375 “Translation and the Multilingual World”.

Honors in Comparative Literature

There are two routes to honors in the major: Plan A entails writing a thesis. Plan B entails a dossier of essays written for several courses with a statement of connections among them and critical questions raised by them. Both Plan A and Plan B require a student to pass an oral exam.

To be admitted to the honors program, a student must have a grade point average of at least 3.5 in all work in the major field above the 100 level; the department may petition on her behalf if her GPA in the major is between 3.0 and 3.5. See Academic Distinctions.