Comparative Literature

What is Comparative Literature? Comparative Literature combines the study of national literatures with courses that address the relationship between literature and other disciplines such as anthropology, cultural studies, gender studies, philosophy, linguistics, media and technology studies, psychoanalysis, religious studies, and fine and performing arts. Comparative Literature majors study literary theory, periods of world literature, themes, movements and genres. Comparative Literature majors might investigate the development of the Faust tradition from the Middle Ages to the present.

At UCSB, the Department of Comparative Literature requires majors select either a foreign language or interdisciplinary emphasis. To prepare for the major, students must take two years of a foreign language appropriate for their field of study; three lower-division comparative literature courses; and one of the three-course series in world history, art history, history of philosophy, or religious studies. The major requires 44 upper-division (junior and senior level) units, which include literature classes taught in translation and in foreign languages.

General Major Information

How Can I Tell If I Would Like Comparative Literature?

Students who major in Comparative Literature enjoy a great advantage in being able to choose departmental courses from all literatures, Western and non-Western, and even from a number of disciplines. They should have an interest in investigating different theoretical approaches to literature and explore cross-disciplinary issues — between literature and the arts, literature and the sciences, and literature and the social sciences. Students choosing the Department of Comparative Literature should have a commitment to the study of literature and be open and curious about different approaches to it. They should be adventurous in choosing from a variety of courses and have an independent mind.

What Are Potential Topics Within This Major?

Although the following list can provide students with topics that may be covered in this major, look at the UCSB catalog and consult with the undergraduate advisor for more detailed information about requirements and course offerings.

European Literature
Fantasy and Science Fiction
Creative Writing

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General Career Information

What Are Some Possible Career Options?
Note: On its own, your major does not dictate what your job will be. The following list provides only a handful of possibilities. Comparative Literature majors with strong liberal arts background may pursue career options in many fields. Depending on experience, specialized coursework, and possible graduate study, options include:

Scholar: literary & cultural studies
Law and diplomacy
Legal/Contracts Secretary
Probation Officer

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Career Opportunities for Majors in Comparative Literature
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Careers in Comparative Literature
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