What is Comparative Literature?

Comparative Literature at Barnard College is the study of literary and closely related cultural expressions across linguistic and cultural boundaries. It is distinct in its conviction that our encounters with literary and cultural manifestations must be international in character.

Undergraduate students in Comparative Literature acquire proficiency in a great variety of foreign languages, providing them the opportunity to study literature in world contexts and examine the connections between languages, cultures, and literary traditions. It is an interdisciplinary enterprise geared toward exploring boundaries and therefore routinely crosses borders and investigates literary, cultural and social relations between communities of readers, writers, and speakers. For this reason, majors are encouraged to read widely from different literatures and to develop a comprehensive view of important cultural issues.

The versatility and structure of our program provides students an education that combines cosmopolitan breadth with lifelong skills of methodical intellectual inquiry.  It has prepared graduates for careers in business, finance, law, international relations, social work, medicine, education, journalism (print, television, and new media), publishing, arts and culture administration, fiction-writing, as well as translation and interpretation.  A number of graduates have pursued Ph.Ds in literature and become teachers and researchers.



The Senior Experience

Barnard College has a long-standing commitment to preparing students in the major so that they may undertake a capstone project. All Barnard seniors are required to complete a senior project or thesis. Senior projects or theses represent the culmination of academic work in the major. They allow students to develop records of individual research that include theoretical engagement in the major discipline, the development of creative projects or research, and original empirical and interpretative analysis. The form of the senior requirement may vary across majors, but the most common forms are the senior thesis (one or two semesters), supervised original research in a lab, a final creative project, and/or research that has been completed within a dedicated senior seminar.

To learn more about the possibilities, take a look at the range of research projects our graduates have undertaken in the "Senior Thesis Archive."



*Policy on No Exemption from General Education Requirements through Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate Credits: Students Entering Fall 2016

Students entering Barnard in fall 2016 and thereafter will receive points of credit for Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) credit, but these credits will not exempt students from General Education Requirements requirements. Further information may be found on the Registrar's website: http://barnard.edu/registrar/external-credit