Comparative Literary Studies Major

Students must also complete the Undergraduate Registration Requirement and the degree requirements of their home school.

Students pursuing a program of study in comparative literature need to be acquainted with at least two literary traditions. They choose a first literature, normally that written in their native tongue, and a second literature written in another language. They take at least 2 courses in each. They also take at least 2 courses in non-Euro/American literature, either in translation or in the original language.

The core 200-level CLS courses provide students with a range of theoretical approaches to literary texts in partic­ular and the study of culture in general. Advanced or 300-level CLS courses build on these core courses, allowing students to use their linguistic skills to further explore literary themes, movements, genres, and periods on a comparative basis.

During their junior year, majors in CLS should meet with the director of undergraduate studies (DUS) to ensure they are on track to complete requirements for the major, including literature courses taken in different genres, periods and regions, as specified by the major description. By spring of their junior year, students must choose a faculty advisor and begin to outline a senior research project.

All majors are required to take COMP_LIT 398-0 Senior Seminar in fall quarter of senior year, during which they write a substantial senior paper (which may be based on a previous paper written for another course). Students meeting the necessary requirements may opt to pursue honors in the major, by enrolling in COMP_LIT 399-0 Independent Study in the winter quarter of their senior year, and expanding their senior essay into an Honors Thesis.

Major Requirements (12 units)

2 courses required for all majors:

10 literature courses, which must encompass the following categories (a single course may fill multiple requirements):

  • 200-level COMP_LIT courses: 2 core courses in comparative literary studies, chosen from:
    Course Title
    COMP_LIT 201-0Reading World Literature
    COMP_LIT 202-0Interpreting Culture
    COMP_LIT 205-0Reading Difference
    COMP_LIT 207-0Introduction to Critical Theory
    COMP_LIT 211-0Readings in Genre
  • 300-level COMP_LIT courses: 3 advanced courses in comparative literary studies (chosen from any COMP_LIT 300-level course, except 398 or 399)
  • Language: 4 courses
  1. 2 courses in first language, at least one 300-level
  2. 2 courses in second language, at least one 300-level (modification by consent of director of undergraduate studies)
  • Genre: One course each devoted to three of the following four genre categories:
  1. Poetry
  2. Drama & Performance
  3. Narrative
  4. Film & Visual Studies

  • Period: Two courses in each of two broad periods:
  1. Pre-1830​
  2. 1830-present
  • Region: Two non-Euro/American courses (can be in translation)

If the above category requirements are not fulfilled by the minimum of 10 literature courses, additional courses may be required. At most 2 courses counted toward the Comparative Literary Studies major may be double-counted toward another major.

Honors in Comparative Literary Studies

Majors with strong academic records may be recommended to pursue honors based on the strength of their senior essays. Recommended students expand their senior essay into a senior thesis (at least 30 pages long) during 1 quarter of independent study (COMP_LIT 399-0 Independent Study), preferably in winter quarter. The COMP_LIT 399-0 Independent Study enrollment does not count toward the 12 courses required for the major. Students whose theses and grades meet program criteria are recommended to the college for graduation with honors. For more information consult the program website and Honors in the Major.