Why Comparative and World Literature?

The undergraduate program in Comparative and World Literature (CWL) is an interdisciplinary one, which provides students with a global perspective through the reading and analysis of national literatures. Students develop university-level understanding of what different cultures have in common as well as what makes each culture unique.

The study of Comparative and World 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 various national literatures in the original languages and in English translation, students learn the methods and techniques of literary analysis and comparison.

three bookshelves in a library filled with books

The undergraduate major and minor are designed for students who wish to gain an interdisciplinary and broad liberal arts education. The undergraduate degree also provides a solid foundation for students who wish to continue work in comparative literature or in a specific national literature at the graduate level (please note that Ph.D. programs in comparative literature generally require reading knowledge of two to three languages other than English). Students find that the program offers a rich background for teaching in the humanities, liberal arts, English and foreign languages.

Upper-division courses (taken as part of the degree requirement) may be counted towards the Single Subject Teaching Credential in English (Comparative and World Literature Emphasis). For information about the Teaching Credential, please consult the Credentials Office in the College of Education.