Effective date: Fall 2010

May be elected as an interdepartmental major

The major in Comparative Literature provides excellent preparation for professional studies in fields such as law, journalism, and business, as well as preparation for graduate work in the humanities.

Undergraduate majors will establish individualized programs of study in close consultation with a faculty advisor. These programs will offer students the opportunity to increase skills in analytical reading and argumentative writing and to develop an understanding of the interrelationships among several literary traditions. Students who concentrate in comparative literature will acquire training in one or more second languages, study at least two literatures (one of which may be English) in the original languages, and acquaint themselves with some of the essential writings in the theory of literature. Students who choose to write a senior thesis will find it an opportunity for synthesis of earlier course work and further intellectual exploration.

Prerequisites to the Major

Foreign languages necessary for the study of foreign literature courses at the 300-level.

Requirements for the Major

33 credits minimum, according to the following plan:

  • 24 credits: A complementary grouping of literature courses at the 300-level or above in a minimum of two languages, one of which may be English. At least 12 credits are required in each literature.
  • If a student chooses to work in English as one of the chosen languages, then a maximum of 18 credits of undergraduate courses in COMPLIT may be applied to the major, of which the maximum number of credits at the 200-level is six. Students may also combine with courses in COMPLIT other courses in the national literature departments and related fields, in consultation with the department advisor. 100-level courses do not count toward the major.
  • 3 credits: The senior seminar, COMPLIT 495, is required for all students in the major.
  • 6 credits: Comparative Literature electives at the 200 level or above. COMPLIT 496 (3 credits), for those writing an Honors thesis during the last term may be used. (Maximum of 6 credits of 200-level COMPLIT courses may be used in the major.)

Courses will be chosen in consultation with the department advisor in Comparative Literature based on a robust theoretical or organizational principle.

Honors Plan. To be eligible for an Honors major in Comparative Literature, students should have a cumulative grade point average of at least a 3.4, and a 3.5 grade point average in courses counting toward the major. Students who elect an Honors degree will write an Honors thesis during the final year of their course work.

Advising. Prospective majors should consult the Comparative Literature department advisor as early as possible about developing a challenging and unified interdepartmental program of study.

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