Best Universities offering Graduate Programs in Comparative Literature - Updated 2019

What do you learn in a Comparative Literature Graduate Program?

A Master’s in Comparative Literature is an interdisciplinary degree, combining the studies of language, literature, and culture. Most students in comparative literature graduate programs know a second language, giving them a larger base through which to read and comprehend various works of fiction. Often, comparative literature is an international discipline, involving works of writers from all around the world. Most comparative literature programs analyze literature in connection to history, philosophy, politics, and linguistics, and study the intersection of literature with other media forms such as film, drama, visual arts, and music.

Graduates of a comparative literature program can go on to work as teachers, publishers, journalists, translators, or authors. Additionally, graduates may go on to pursue a PhD in comparative literature, or another related field.

There are 50 schools offering graduate degrees in Comparative Literature. Harvard University had 4 international graduate students in its 50 program, which is one of the highest counts in the country. Yale University had the most women graduates in this program.
Ranked as: #1 in Best National University
Tuition: $47,140
State: NJ
Acceptance: 6.41%
The degree of Doctor of Philosophy in comparative literature is offered by the Comparative Literature in cooperation with other departments. The program of study enables students with exceptional training in languages and literatures to profit from the increased awareness and understanding that may be derived from the considered view of than one literature and of the theoretical presuppositions behind literary study as a whole. The program prepares candidates for scholarship in the field and for teaching in comparative literature, separate departments of literature, and the humanities.

Comparative Literature

Please consult with the Director of Graduate Studies if you are unsure whether a language can qualify as meeting the classical requirement. Determination of proficiency can be made by written certification of the instructor of a graduate course in the relevant national literature department, upon successful completion of the course, or by the language exam, (usually a brief translation exercise) offered yearly by the individual foreign language departments. The re-enrollment of all students to each year for which they are eligible to attend is dependent on course performance, timely completion of language examinations (or coursework), graduate coursework, and the General Examinations, including the dissertation prospectus defense.
Ranked as: #2 in Best National University
Tuition: $44,816
State: MA
Acceptance: 5.16%
The Department of Comparative Literature offers Comparative Literature as a secondary field in GSAS to enrich the education of PhD students in other departments who seek to do research and teach across the institutional boundaries of national languages and literatures. The secondary field in Comparative Literature prepares them to do so by introducing them to basic issues in the field.

Comparative Literature

Romance Languages and Literatures (French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish). The number of courses required for the PhD in Comparative Literature is 16, of which at least 8 must be graduate (200-level) seminars. You can arrange to produce extra work, typically in the form of a graduate-style research paper, to receive 200-level credit for courses that are listed at the 100-level such arrangements must be made early in the semester when the course is being taken, ideally within the first two weeks of classes, because your plans must be approved by both the course instructor and the DGS. The necessary approval form is available from the Department Administrator in Dana-Palmer House, or may be downloaded from the department website.
Ranked as: #3 in Best National University
Tuition: $41,000
State: CT
Acceptance: 6.93%
The Department of Comparative Literature introduces students to the study and understanding of literature beyond linguistic or national boundaries; the theory, interpretation, and criticism of literature; and its interactions with adjacent fields like visual and material culture, linguistics, film, psychology, law, and philosophy. The comparative perspective invites the exploration of such transnational phenomena as literary or cultural periods and trends (Renaissance, Romanticism, Modernism, postcolonialism) or genres and modes of discourse. Students may specialize in any cultures or languages, to the extent that they are sufficiently covered at Yale. The Ph.D. degree qualifies candidates to teach comparative literature as well as the national literature(s) of their specialization.

Comparative Literature Yale University

The Department of Comparative Literature also offers three Combined Ph.D. degrees with the Department of Classics, the Film Studies Program, and the Renaissance Studies Program. Additionally, students in Comparative Literature are eligible to pursue a supplemental M.Phil. Fellowship and degree in Medieval Studies.
Ranked as: #4 in Best National University
Tuition: $55,836
State: IL
Acceptance: 8.73%
The first year of the Ph.D. program in Comparative Literature consists of eight graduate-level courses, all of which must be taken for a quality letter grade (not pass/fail). Students are expected to take a minimum of six courses in their field of study in years One & Two with room for language study built in. The two-quarter foundational sequence Comparative Literature 501 and 502 is required for ALL first years and transfer students, including those with a previous MA.

Comparative Literature

MAPH students can choose to focus all of their coursework in the Department or complement their research in Comparative Literature with classes in other subject areas, such as Cinema and Media Studies, Classics, Gender and Sexuality, Germanic Studies, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, English Language and Literature, Romance Languages and Literatures, Slavic Languages and Literatures, and South Asian Languages and Civilizations.
Ranked as: #4 in Best National University
Tuition: $44,864
State: NY
Acceptance: 6.61%
The major program at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS) allows qualified students to study literature, culture, and society with reference to material from several national traditions, or in combination of literary study with comparative study in other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.

Comparative Literature and Society Columbia College

Columbia University in the City of New York program Comparative literature is dedicated to the study of literature in an international and interdisciplinary context. They study literature and culture from various parts of the world to develop knowledge and critical understanding of how cultures differ from as well as connect and interact with one another through the medium of artistic expression. They study theoretical approaches traditional and contemporary, ancient and modern to literature and other media and examine the relationship of literature to other fields and disciplines in the arts and sciences.
Ranked as: #4 in Best National University
Tuition: $48,987
State: CA
Acceptance: 4.73%
Courses offered by the Comparative Literature are listed under the subject code COMPLIT on theStanford Bulletin ExploreCourses web site. The Comparative Literature offers courses in the history and theory of literature through comparative approaches. The department accepts candidates for the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy. The department is a part of the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages.
The Comparative Literature differs from most national literature departments. While it seeks to prepare its students for reading and research in the languages and histories of different societies and periods, it is also dedicated to critical and cultural analysis. Literary theory in all its forms helps to break down the borders between national literary fields, as well as between literary studies and other disciplines. Indeed, the discipline of Comparative Literature asks, often, just what literature is, and how it functions as a product of (and response to) Stanford University imaginations, Stanford University languages, and Stanford University social and economic lives.
Ranked as: #8 in Best National University
Tuition: $33,604
State: PA
Acceptance: 9.3%
The Ph.D. Program in Comparative Literature covers the study of narrative, poetry, representation and cultural history. The Program enables students to engage rigorously with critical theory.

Comparative Literature, PhD

Ranked as: #11 in Best National University
Tuition: $51,468
State: NH
Acceptance: 10.45%
For over twenty years, Dartmouth Comparative Literature Program has attracted some of the best to the comparative study of literature and culture. Dartmouth is thus uniquely placed to train M.A. candidates in foreign languages, literary theory, and practical scholarship. The aim of Dartmouth one-year Masters Program is to provide the tools necessary for Ph.D. study or for careers in teaching and international studies. The curriculum stresses intensive language study, broad-based theory and methodology courses, research tools, directed independent work, and pedagogical training.

Comparative Literature Program

The Comparative Literature Master degree Program is a nine and a half month program which includes nine (9) courses. In their third term on campus, students produce an article of professional standard with potential for publication based on the readings and theoretical explorations undertaken in the fall and winter terms. Students are expected to work for at least two terms as a teaching or research assistant.
Ranked as: #13 in Best National University
Tuition: $52,239
State: IL
Acceptance: 9.24%
At Northwestern University, students pursue a broadly interdisciplinary course of study focusing on the comparative analysis of literary texts and other cultural artifacts. Students will deepen their knowledge of the history of literary and narrative forms across a broad range of national literatures, cultures and historical periods, as well as exploring the complex relationship of literary works to politics, philosophy and the visual arts.

Comparative & World Literature Programs

Ranked as: #14 in Best National University
Tuition: $50,650
State: MO
Acceptance: 15.96%
As a comparative literature major, you’ll study the human condition as depicted in literary works from many different traditions. The international and comparative range provides majors with a broad, critical understanding of what literature is and does. Since knowing the language is essential to understanding a given literature and culture, all majors study a second language and literature at an advanced level.

Comparative Literature Major

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