COMPARATIVE LITERATURE is the interdisciplinary study of global literary and cultural expressions as they shape and are shaped by science, economics, religion, politics, law, sexuality, media, and other historical forces. The discipline and our program attract students with wide-ranging interests in literature, theory, cultural and media studies, and who wish to read literature in the original language as well as in translation.
Comparative Literature offers a major as well as a minor. Students generally begin with "Literature across Borders" (201) before taking other 200- and 300-level courses in Comp Lit and other programs. Since every student has different preparations and interests, no two pathways through the major or minor are identical. Students craft, in close consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, a personalized major that best represents each student's research interests.
Comparative Literature faculty are accomplished scholars and devoted teachers. Many have won awards from Rutgers and around the world. The major and minor programs offer students the opportunity to work closely with these professors, who come from a wide variety of departments, including African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures (AMESALL); Asian Languages and Cultures (ALC); English; French; German, Russian, and East European Languages and Literatures (GREELL); Italian; Latino and Caribbean Studies (LCS); and Spanish and Portuguese. Core faculty are available to mentor students and serve as advisors of honors theses.
Because of the intensive training they receive in analytical thinking and writing, undergraduates who major or minor in Comparative Literature often go on to study literature or related fields in graduate school, attend law school, or find employment in professional fields such as publishing, the arts, business, and government service.
For more information, or to schedule an advising appointment, please reach out to the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Karen Elizabeth Bishop at
Fall 2023 course descriptions here. Time and location of classes available at the Schedule of Classes.
Our distinguished alumni/ae include:
Joan Ross Acocella, dance critic for The New Yorker and the author of many books about literature and the performing arts
Sharifah Munirah Alatas, Lecturer, Strategic Studies and International Relations Programme, School of History, Politics and Strategic Studies, National University of Malaysia
Johanna Barba Jones, Inspector General, Department of Transportation, State of New Jersey
Mark Krasovic, Associate Professor of American Studies and Associate Director of the Clement A. Price Institute, Rutgers University-Newark
Analilia Mejia, National Political Director for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders's 2020 Democratic Primary Presidential Campaign
Zoe Westhof, author of Nowhere To Be Home: Narratives from Survivors of Burma's Military Regime McSweeney's Books