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The Major Program

Comparative Literature is a dynamic major whose own self-definition is constantly shifting. Once mostly limited to the study of western European literature and its Greco-Roman classical past, today Comparative Literature has become a global interdisciplinary study of literature in original languages and other media (including cinema, television, fine arts, and opera, for example). Thus, we can define Comparative Literature as the study of literature and culture across national boundaries and throughout historical time.

The Program. Both the major and the minor programs in Comparative Literature allow students to combine courses in one or more national literature departments with courses in Comparative Literature. The introductory course sequence (COM 1 through 4) provides both an overview of ancient to contemporary literature and film and offers intensive practice in analytical thought. In addition, any one of the courses in the sequence satisfies the university composition requirement. All readings in undergraduate Comparative Literature courses are in English, but majors take upper division courses in at least one foreign literature in the original language.

Students majoring in Comparative Literature choose a first and second literature of concentration, one of which may be English. After the introductory sequence, each student's major course work is divided between courses in the two literatures of concentration and Comparative Literature courses. These Comparative Literature courses encourage students to take a broad view of a historical period, a theme, a genre, or a literary movement. The wide variety of options in the program permits great flexibility and encourages interdisciplinary connections among literature and philosophy, psychology, history, and the arts. Each student's plan of study must be approved by the major adviser at the beginning and end of each calendar year.

Career Alternatives. A Comparative Literature major offers an excellent enhancement to pre-professional training, preparing students for graduate study in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and other science fields as well as law and business, besides of course journalism and publishing, teaching, or graduate study in literature.

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Updated: March 22, 2017 10:38 AM