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Comparative Literature. Undergraduate Program


  • Contact

    Olga Dunlop
    Undergraduate Student Services
    450 Serra Mall, Bldg. 260
    Pigott Hall, Rm. 128
    Stanford, CA 94305-2005
    (650) 723 1967

  • Chairs of Undergraduate Studies:

    Alexander Key
    Bldg. 240, Rm. 215

  • Undegraduate Peer Advisor:

The major in Comparative Literature requires students to enroll in a set of core courses offered by the department, to complete electives in the department, and to enroll in additional literature courses, or other courses approved by the Chair of Undergraduate Studies, offered by other departments. This flexibility to combine literature courses from several departments and to address literature from multiple traditions is the hallmark of the Comparative Literature major. Students may count courses which read literature in translation; however, students, and especially those planning to pursue graduate study in Comparative Literature, are encouraged to develop a command of non-native languages.

Undergraduates may major in Comparative Literature with a special track in interdisciplinary studies at the intersection of literature and philosophy. Students in this option take courses alongside students from other departments that also have specialized options associated with the program for the study of Philosophical and Literary Thought. See

The department's honors option offers motivated Comparative Literature majors the opportunity to write a senior honors paper. During Spring Quarter of the junior year, a student interested in the honors program should consult with the Chair of Undergraduate Studies and submit a thesis proposal (2-5 pages), an outline of planned course work for the senior year, and proof of a 3.5 GPA or higher within the student's Comparative Literature course work to date. During this quarter, the student may enroll for 2 units of credit for independent research in COMPLIT 189B to prepare this statement and undertake initial planning for the honors paper. The proposal is reviewed by the honors committee, including the Chair of Undergraduate Studies and the chair of the department.

The undergraduate minor in Comparative Literature represents an abbreviated version of the major. It is designed for students who are unable to pursue the major but who nonetheless seek an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of literature. Plans for the minor should be discussed with the Chair of Undergraduate Studies. The minimum number of units required for a minor at Stanford is 20, and all courses must be taken for a letter grade.  The requirements for the minor in Comparative Literature are:

Additionally, the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages offers an undergraduate minor in Modern Languages. This minor draws on literature and language courses offered in this and other literature departments.