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Degree Overview: Bachelor Degree Programs in Comparative Literature

Majors Overview February 6, 2015

Students in bachelor’s degree programs in comparative literature are given the chance to study written work across plenty of cultures. Those interested are required to be fluent in a second language or prepared to take language courses.

Information on Comparative Literature Bachelor Degree Programs

Students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in comparative literature typically attend these programs on campus. Coursework is often conducted in an enrolled student’s secondary language, thereby giving them the opportunity to hone their fluency with peers and instructors.

Because of this, prior proficiency in a second language may prove beneficial to an incoming student. Students enrolled in comparative literature programs are prepared for careers in international relations, translation, writing, and editing.

Related Degree Options

Schools offer bachelor’s degree programs in fields related to literature in several languages, including English. Graduate study in comparative literature may be pursued by students, thereby leading to instructional positions. They may choose from program options such as:

•Master of Arts (M.A.) in Comparative Literature
•Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Classical Studies
•Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English Literature
•Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree Programs in Comparative Literature

Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program in comparative literature are expected to delve into intense analysis of work of fiction from all over the world. Comparison of literature from different worldviews and cultures is mainly emphasized in this major via examination of poetry, short stories, and novels from diverse viewpoints, such as social, cultural, political, or historical factors.

Comparison of the literary experience is done internationally as well as between various types of media, wherein the impact of fiction on society is studied in respect of its relation to works of film, music, and art.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma. Some coursework in a language other than English is required by the majority of comparative literature degree programs. Therefore, students are required to have proficiency or have completed coursework in a secondary language to ensure that they are fluent at an early stage of the bachelor’s degree program.

Additionally, students wishing to enroll in the program have to satisfy particular requirements as defined by most comparative literature departments. They may have to complete a minimum number of semester credit hours in the department, a higher-division literature course in a foreign language, or two years of college-level study in a foreign language.


Students usually take four years to complete an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree program in comparative literature, wherein students are required to complete some courses outside of the department to satisfy degree requirements. For instance, liberal arts classes complementing both the student’s interest and a comparative literature degree program may need to be taken; these include anthropology, sociology, history, and philosophy. Coursework may include topic areas such as:

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

Career Choices

Those that graduate from comparative literature degree programs are qualified for careers in editing, communication, writing, international relations, and publishing. Available career choices include:

•Staff writer
•Research associate
•Literary agent

Continuing Education Choices

Due to the interdisciplinary aspect of this major, those that graduate may pursue master’s degree programs in comparative literature along with other liberal arts topics, especially English literature, sociology, and history. Those interested in Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs may be offered dual bachelor/master degree choices.

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