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Comparative Literature


Comparative literature programs focus on comparing the writings of various nations.

Students usually learn at least two languages other than English. They study methods of literary criticism and compare regional and period literatures.

Comparative literature programs include topics such as:


Community colleges and other two-year schools offer associate degree programs in comparative literature. An associate degree usually takes two years to complete. After earning an associate degree students can transfer to a college or university for further study.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in comparative literature. They are sometimes offered as part of an English program. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Several universities offer graduate degrees in comparative literature. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, and good test scores.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Schools may require that you take tests to demonstrate reading and writing proficiency in two languages other than your native language.

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

Students take literature courses about books and writings written by authors from several different countries and in different languages. Many courses use nonfiction books and texts (such as religious works or psychological pieces) in addition to works of fiction.

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate study in comparative literature typically includes:

Things to Know

Students who choose an emphasis on one or two national literatures often incorporate courses in the history and linguistics for the same nations. They may compare periods as well as authors, themes, and literary styles.

Many people with an undergraduate degree in this field go to graduate school in comparative literature or English.

Comparative literature is a broad, interdisciplinary field. In addition to studying languages and books, you can study film, art, and music. You also can learn about world religions and political systems.


East Side Area

Central Washington University

King-Snohomish Area

University of Washington - Seattle

Tacoma Area

Pacific Lutheran University

University of Puget Sound

Yakima Area

Heritage University