Bachelor's Degree in Comparative Literature: Program Information

A bachelor's degree program in comparative literature offers students the opportunity to study written works across diverse cultures. Learn about program requirements, common courses and job opportunities.

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Essential Information

Comparative literature bachelor's degree programs prepare students for jobs in editing, writing, translating, and international relations and typically take four years to complete. These programs tend to be offered only on campus and not online. Program fields include classical studies, English and English literature.

Since one main requirement of this degree is the study of literature written in a language other than English, a portion of a student's semester hours typically include courses conducted in the student's secondary language. This gives students the chance to improve their fluency by speaking with instructors and peers. For this reason, students may need to already be proficient in a second language before starting the bachelor's degree program.

Students must adhere to general university admittance requirements, which include a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition, most comparative literature departments have specific requirements for students who wish to declare the major. These include a certain number of semester credits taken in the department, two years of college-level study in a foreign language, or an upper-division literature course taken in a foreign language.

Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature

A bachelor's degree program in comparative literature involves intense analysis of works of fiction from around the world. This major mainly emphasizes comparing literature from various cultures and worldviews. Students examine novels, short stories, and poetry from diverse perspectives, including historical, political, cultural, and social factors. Students compare the literary experience not only internationally, but also among different forms of media, studying the impact of fiction on society as it relates to works of art, music, and film.

Interdisciplinary in nature, this degree program requires students to take some coursework outside of the department to fulfill degree requirements. For example, students may need to take liberal arts courses that complement both the comparative literature degree program and the student's interest, such as philosophy, history, sociology or anthropology. Coursework required for the major includes topics such as:

  • Narrative theory
  • Postcolonial literature
  • Mythology
  • Fundamentals of modernism
  • Cultural politics

Popular Career Options

Graduates of a comparative literature degree program may qualify to pursue a variety of careers, including careers in publishing, editing, writing, communication and international relations. Some possible job titles include:

  • Editor
  • Literary agent
  • Staff writer
  • Translator
  • Research associate

Continuing Education

Because of the interdisciplinary aspect of these major, graduates may be prepared to enter master's degree programs in comparative literature as well as other liberal arts subjects, particularly history, English literature and sociology. Some programs offer dual bachelor's/master's degree options for students interested in pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program.

A bachelor's degree in comparative literature focuses on teaching students how to analyze literature from around the world. Graduates can pursue graduate degree programs or work various jobs in writing, research and communication fields.

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