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.
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 001-COM 004) 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 advisor at the beginning and end of each calendar year.
All Comparative Literature majors and minors must consult with their advisor, individually, at least once at the beginning and once at the end of each academic year.
Consult the Department office.
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.
Honors & Honors Program
Students, who meet the grade point requirement for graduation with honors and complete the requirements established by the College of Letters and Science, may be recommended by the department for graduation with high honors or highest honors on the basis of an evaluation of their academic achievements in the major and in the honors project in particular. Entrance into the honors program requires that a student have completed at least 135 units with a minimum grade point average of 3.500 in courses counted toward the major.
Candidates must write a senior thesis under the direction of a faculty member approved by the major advisor. For this purpose, in addition to fulfilling all other major requirements, honors candidates must enroll in 6 units of COM 194H during the first two quarters of the senior year.
Teaching Credential Subject Representative
See the Teaching Credential/M.A. Program.
Education Abroad Options
The department of Comparative Literature encourages students to study abroad, in the Summer Abroad program, the Quarter Abroad Program, or the Education Abroad Program. With the approval of a major advisor, applicable courses taken abroad may be accepted in the major or minor programs.
The Comparative Literature Program offers the Ph.D. degree with a strong emphasis on individual research under the supervision of a faculty member. Candidates for the Ph.D., in addition to research of a comparative nature, study three literatures (one of which may be English and/or American) in the original languages, acquiring an extensive knowledge of the overall development of one. Students may choose to focus on a special topic instead of on a third literary tradition.
Within this framework, each student's program will be tailored to individual interests, and may center on a major historical period, such as the Renaissance or the modern age; a genre, such as lyric poetry, epic, drama, or the novel; or any other special emphasis approved by the Graduate Advisor.
For admission to the Ph.D. Program candidates should have an undergraduate major in literature and reading ability in three foreign languages. The Group requires three letters of recommendation and a sample of recent written work, and it is recommended that students submit their GRE scores.
|Preparatory Subject Matter|
|COM 001||Major Works of the Ancient World||4|
|or COM 002||Major Works of the Medieval & Early Modern World|
|COM 003||Major Works of the Modern World||4|
|or COM 004||Major Works of the Contemporary World|
|Two other lower division courses in Comparative Literature; selected from 001-053C excluding the 010 series; cannot include the two required courses in the 001-004 series:||8|
|Fairy Tales, Fables, & Parables|
|Myths & Legends|
|Literature of Fantasy & the Supernatural|
|Utopias & Their Transformations|
|The Short Story & Novella|
|Travel & the Modern World|
|Introduction to Women Writers|
|Introduction to Poetry|
|Humans & the Natural World|
|Animals in Literature|
|Ethnic Minority Writers in World Literature|
|Literature of East Asia|
|Literature of South Asia|
|Literatures of the Islamic World|
|It is recommended that students who do not use a European language toward the major take one of the remaining required lower division courses in the 053 series, preferably the 053 course that relates to the region of the language the student is using to satisfy the upper division language requirement in the major.|
|Sufficient preparation to ensure satisfactory performance at the upper division level.||0-30|
|Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal||16-46|
|Depth Subject Matter|
|Choose five upper division Comparative Literature courses including at least one course in a major period (such as 164A-164B-164C-164D), movement (such as 168A-168B, 169) or genre (such as 160A-160B, 161A-161B, 163, 166A-166B) and including the following required courses:||20|
|Introduction to Critical Theoretical Approaches to Literature & Culture (recommended for the junior year.)|
|Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature (to be taken in the spring quarter before graduation.)|
|Three upper division literature courses in a language other than English.||12|
|Two additional upper division literature courses in Comparative Literature or in any other program including English or literature in translation.||8|
|Depth Subject Matter Subtotal||40|