Comparative Literature Requirements

Major Requirements: BA Comparative Literature



Core Curriculum Requirements


Major Requirements (17 credits)


Period Requirements

Among the survey and elective courses you take there must be at least one course from each of these three periods: Classical, Medieval and Renaissance.


Surveys (8 credits)

Select at least two of the following survey courses.

Comparative Literature Specializations

Elective courses (20 credits)

Select five more courses freely, either from the following lists or from the survey courses above, building a personal focus with the help of your advisor.

Author Focus

Delve into the ways in which specific authors have influenced various historical periods and socio-cultural touchstones. Classes will explore subjects like Dante’s development through his Divine Comedy and medieval history, Franz Kafka’s global legacy, and the ways in which Gustave Flaubert and Charles Baudelaire contributed to the emergence of modernity. Cherchez l’écrivain!

Theater and Film

Examine the origins and aesthetics of theater and cinema through the evolution of crime fiction, the multimedia that has defined French identity today, the philosophical consequences of major ruptures within the history of theater, and much more. You’ll soon find that the ties that connect past and present are stranger and more familiar than you might have expected.

Genres and Literary Movements

Plunge into a plethora of literary categories and movements from across the world, including the fascination with horror and the supernatural from the 18th century to the 21st century, the origins and legacy of German Romanticism, and conceptions of Latin American culture and history through its 20th century writers.

Cities, History and Geopolitics

Excavate the connections between nation-building, national identity, and literature, in France and beyond. Among other themes, you will consider how the French urban landscape is imagined differently by French and immigrant writers and filmmakers as well as the crucial role played by Europe in the evolution of the American literary tradition and how that tradition reflects upon America.

Theory and Gender

Explore international literature through different theories, discourses, and movements. Get grounded in the methodology of Gender Studies and contemporary feminist theory, use 19th century literature to analyze Western political discourse, and use postcolonial literature to address key colonial and postcolonial issues and concepts.

Classical Antiquity

This is your chance to use literary and visual media to research Western antiquity, by investigating the ideological and socio-political implications of ancient urban planning, becoming fluent in Latin and Greek, and exploring the literary and philosophical resonances of a wide array of ancient Greek and Latin texts.

Changing topics
Original language option

Students in courses marked with an asterisk may choose to read the texts in English translation or in the original non-English language.


Plus general electives to total 128 Credit


The Honors Program

The department offers honors options to particularly motivated students; there is no GPA requirement. Students are nominated to honors by the department on the basis of a portfolio of work. Honors students in Comparative Literature must demonstrate intermediate proficiency in two languages other than English, and must have studied the primary texts for two of the major elective courses in the original (non-English) language. All honors students write a senior project, which may be an academic thesis or a piece of creative work, of around 40 pages or the equivalent.