Major Requirements

To enter the program, a student must normally have completed the required sequence necessary for entry into the advance literature courses of her major program. This varies from language to language; students should consult the chair. Each student, after consultation with the chair, chooses an adviser from one of her two fields of concentration in a language. This adviser guides her in developing a sequence of courses appropriate for her goals in the major.  Download the Map to the Comparative Literature Major.

All students are required to take CPLS BC3001 and 14 courses normally to be chosen from the following categories:

  • One (1) course in appropriate classical texts
    • For those specializing in languages and literature in the Western tradition
      • CLLT GU4300: The Classical Tradition
      • RELI UN3301: Hebrew Bible
      • RELI UN3120: Introduction to the New Testament 
    • For those specializing in languages and literatures in Eastern traditions
      • AHUM UN3399: Major Texts - Middle East and India
      • AHUM UN1400: Colloquium on Major Texts - East Asia
    • For other courses, please see chair for approval.
  • One (1) course in literary theory.
    • Students will normally be expected to satisfy this requirement by taking CPLS UN3930: The Colloquium in Literary Theory.
    • If study abroad plans make this impossible, other courses may be substituted (i.e.: ENGL BC3194: Critical & Theoretical Perspectives on Literature)
  • Three (3) courses from each of two (2) literary traditions studied in the original languages.
    • Foreign literature courses must be beyond the introductory level.
  • Five (5) elected courses in comparative literature or literary theory (studied in the original or in translation) related to the student's individual program.
    • These courses must be comparative or theoretical in nature; consultation with the chair advised.
  • One (1) course for writing the Senior Thesis.
    • The Senior Thesis must deal with material from at least the two central literatures in the student's major. In addition, this thesis must treat, entirely or in part, the one period, genre, theme, or theoretical issue that has shaped the student's program. The choice of topic for this senior essay and the appointment of a second adviser are determined in consultation with the area adviser and the director of the program. A detailed description for planning the major is available from the director of the program.

Students who wish to major in Comparative Literature, but who for valid reasons wish to pursue a program at variance with the above model, should consult the director.



If you plan on spending part or all of junior year abroad, plan to take the “Introduction to Comparative Literature” (CPLT BC3001) during the second semester of your sophomore year. This means contacting the director of Comparative Literature program during the first semester of your sophomore year. Indicate that you plan to be abroad one or both semesters during junior year and discuss when to take core courses such as “The Classical Tradition” (CLLT GU4300) or the “Colloquium in Literary Theory” (CPLS UN3950).

If you plan to be away for the entire junior year, consider taking the “Colloquium in Literary Theory” in the spring of your senior year or discuss with the program director which other courses can count toward the major when studying abroad. You should also plan to identify advisors before your departure so that you can contact them via e-mail and meet with them at the beginning of your senior year.

If you have further questions regarding the thesis process and its parts, please contact the Program Director.