Comparative Literature Major

The comparative literature major is designed to allow students significant freedom in designing a major with a literary emphasis. It stresses foreign language skills and encourages students to approach literature from an interdisciplinary perspective. The department’s commitment to a vital engagement with literature and the arts, its encouragement of cross-disciplinary work and its strengths in the areas of modern theory and philosophy, cultural studies and translation studies create a distinctive context for an innovative humanities major.


  • COLI 110, 111. World Literature I and II (or appropriate equivalents)
  • One comparative literature course at the 200 level or higher
  • Demonstration of foreign language proficiency. Requirement can be fulfilled either by completing one foreign language course beyond the third semester level (203 or 211, depending on language), or passing the foreign language evaluation exam offered by Comparative Literature.
  • Three courses in advanced (300 level or above) literature, art or related disciplines, courses do not need to be listed under Comparative Literature rubric, though they may be. Classes chosen on an individualized basis through consultation with undergraduate director.
  • The following three undergraduate seminars:

       a) COLI 371: Seminar I: The World, The Text, The Critic. Offered once per year.
       b) COLI 372: Seminar II: Works that Call Forth Thinking. Offered once per year.
       c)  COLI 481. Methodologies and Masterpieces Tutorial. Offered once per year.

  • Thesis option. In lieu of two advanced courses (of requirement a,b,c above), a student may present a thesis directed by one of the Department of Comparative Literature faculty or by a faculty member from another department (with approval of the undergraduate director).


Candidates for honors in the comparative literature major must write an honors thesis with a director chosen from among the comparative literature faculty. To be eligible, students must have a grade-point average of at least 3.5 for courses within the major. They may write their thesis in a single semester by enrolling in COLI 499, Honors Thesis, or may choose to devote a full year to the project by enrolling initially in COLI 498, Honors Seminar, and then, in the second semester, in COLI 499. COLI 498 is not a prerequisite for COLI 499; it simply offers students the opportunity to undertake larger projects. Students should consult with the undergraduate director to determine which option will best serve their needs and interests. The designation of honors in comparative literature is awarded to students who receive a grade of at least A– for their honors theses.

For questions or inquiries, please contact the director of undergraduate Studies, Prof. Maria Lugones. 

Comparative Literature Minor


  • one 100-level course in Comparative Literature. Enrollment preference is given to minors in 100-level courses
  • one course in any foreign language, 215 or above (in case of Greek or Latin, 203 level or above)
  • COLI 481
  • three other 300- or 400-level courses in comparative literature.

Subject to approval by the undergraduate director, suitable courses in related areas may be substituted for any of the above, except COLI 481 and the foreign language.

For questions or inquiries, please contact the director of undergraduate Studies, Prof. Maria Lugones.

Last Updated: 12/16/15