Minoring in Comparative & World Literature

Program Scope

Comparative Literature is a way of studying world literature. It is a literary discipline designed to go beyond the chronological, geographic, and linguistic boundaries of individual national literatures.

Undergraduate Program:

The Bachelor of Arts and Minor in Comparative and World Literature is an interdisciplinary program that provides students with a global perspective through the reading and analysis of literature from multiple traditions. Students develop university-level understanding of what different cultures have in common as well as what makes each culture unique. The study of comparative literature also seeks to establish relationships between literature and other fields, from the arts and sciences to folklore and religion. In addition to taking courses in comparative literature and various national literatures (in the original languages and in translation), students also learn methods and techniques of literary analysis and comparison.

Comparative and World Literature Minor — Minimum 18 units

Core Courses (12 units)

Program Electives (6 units)

  • Two upper-division literature courses

In consultation with departmental advisers, students select upper-division literature courses that reflect the breadth of literary studies. These courses may be from departments other than CWL.

Up to two courses (6 units) of lower-division literature courses may be used toward the total units; one course (3 units) of these may come from a non-CWL literature course.


To ensure adequate planning of a student’s program, all minors must consult an adviser at least once per year.

All students in the Comparative and World Literature minor are urged to acquire reading competence in at least one language in addition to English.

Complementary Studies:

Bachelor of Arts students must complete at least twelve units of complementary studies outside of the primary prefix for the major. (Note: Students may not use an alternate prefix that is cross-listed with the primary prefix for the major.)

Students who complete two majors or a major and a minor automatically complete the complementary studies requirement. An additional way to complete complementary studies for students in the Comparative Literature major is completion of 12 units in a language other than English or in some other group of courses outside the CWL-prefix (and not cross-listed with CWL) that is approved by a major adviser (which may include, but is not limited to, languages other than English, units toward a minor or certificate, study abroad, and literature courses taught in other departments).

Students who have earned AA-T or AS-T degrees and are pursuing a similar B.A. degree at SF State are required to fulfill the Complementary Studies requirement as defined by the major department. Students should consult with a major adviser about how transfer units and/or SF State units can best be applied to this requirement in order to ensure degree completion within 60 units.