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Comparative Literature

About Comparative Literature

The major in comparative literature is designed for students who are interested in a broad view of literature and in the diversity of literary cultures. The study of comparative literature considers literary movements and genres, as well as techniques and recurring themes in world literature.

The study of comparative literature prepares students for careers in teaching, interpreting, and translating, as well as those professions that recognize the importance of a broad humanistic education, including law and medicine.

Programs and Courses

 Programs and Courses in Comparative Literature

Administration and Faculty

Program Office:

1318 West
(212) 772-5129/5093


Paolo Fasoli 
1318 West
(212) 772-5159


Comparative Literature Faculty

HEGIS Code: 1503


Major Requirements

All majors take a core course in methodology, but the remaining classes in a student’s program are arranged with the coordinator in an effort to work out a balance between two different bodies of literature, two different literary periods, and two different genres. In addition to comparative literature courses in prose fiction, drama, myth and folklore, literary movements, and literature and the arts, majors may also elect appropriate classes from other literature departments, as well as from such disciplines as history, philosophy, art and anthropology, with the approval of the coordinator. Upon becoming a major, a student will, in consultation with the coordinator, choose one member of the comparative literature committee as an adviser and plan an individualized program. All majors are required to review their programs with their adviser once a semester.

The comparative literature major consists of 30 credits distributed as follows:

A. Concentration in at least two periods and in two genres.

B. At least 9 credits in COMP-prefixed courses, beginning with the following

(all of these courses will be taught in English)

C. 21 credits in literature courses

distributed so that at least 12 credits are courses studied in the original language (be it a foreign language, if the student is proficient in that language, or English). Courses at the 300 level are strongly preferred, although exceptions may be granted by the adviser.

Minor for Students Majoring in Comparative Literature

A 12 credit minor is required. Students will be advised by their Comparative Literature faculty mentor to choose a discipline that will complement and enrich their major field of study.

Minor in Comparative Literature for Students Majoring in Other Programs

If this minor is recommended by the major department, students may consult a Comparative Literature adviser who will help them select suitable courses.


Students are eligible for departmental honors if their GPA in the major is no less than 3.5. The student must also take at least 3 credits (but no more than 6 credits) in honors courses offered by the program and approved by the adviser. The offerings of the Comparative Literature Program are determined by the needs of students in the program and the faculty available. For specific information, consult the coordinator.