Major in Comparative Literature and Culture

The Comparative Literature and Culture program promotes linguistic proficiency and cultural literacy, with emphasis on critical thinking, practice of close reading, extensive writing and text analysis so students can be successful in their academic and professional endeavors but also in the service to others in an increasingly multilingual and multicultural world.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • articulate in writing and discussions responses to literary texts in the context of their historical, cultural and/or aesthetic traditions
  • identify and compare ideas and formal features of an integrated body of literary or non-literary texts using the disciplinary convention and methodologies of literary and cultural analyses
  • analyze the main ideas of various cultural phenomena, such as literature, art, music, film and popular media
  • appreciate and explain the plurality of meanings and diversity of perspectives presented in literary and non-literary texts of one or more ethnic, racial, religious and culturally diverse groups, or their communities within the US


44 units

Introductory Level (4 Units - 1 course)

  • CMPL 195: The Beauty of the Beast in Literature
  • CMPL 195: Literatures of the Child: Trauma and Healing
  • CMPL 200: Intro to Comp. Studies: Cultures in Conflict
  • CMPL 200: Intro to Comp. Studies: Literatures of the Body
  • CMPL 295: Life Disrupted: The Psychic Wound in Early Life
  • CMPL 295: Animal Encounters in Literature

Intermediate Level (4 Units - 1 course)

  • CMPL 399 Critical Analysis

Foreign Language (8 Units - 2 courses)

  • 4th Semester of a Foreign Language (202 in target language )
  • 5th Semester of a Foreign Language (above 202 culture or literature course in target language)

Students must complete two semesters of one foreign language above the three semesters required by the College of Arts and Sciences

Electives (24 Units - 6 courses)

  • Students will select their elective courses at the 300-level or above from the offerings of departments and interdisciplinary programs. These courses must have a strong emphasis in one or more literatures and cultures of the world, and must be relevant to the student's area of concentration for comparative studies.
  • Students enrolled in CMPL program will meet with a CMPL adviser to discuss their choice of electives before registering. In addition, they will submit a petition for approval of each of their electives. The petition will include a narrative, which demonstrates how such elective contributes to the student’s area of concentration. (Petition forms are available at the Department of Modern Languages office).
  • Major with Language emphasis - Students will select all six elective courses in their first and second foreign language of study. Students must achieve an advanced proficiency level equivalent to one 400-level seminar in their first foreign language of choice and complete two 300-level courses or equivalent in their second foreign language.

Capstone Seminar (4 Units)

  • CMPL 400 Capstone: Political Fictions

Upon completion of all their electives, students will register for the Capstone Seminar on Political Fictions. In this seminar they will also conclude their individual research in their area of concentration and write a Senior Thesis. Additional information about the Capstone Seminar and Guidelines for the Senior Thesis are available on canvas.

Units toward second major/minor

No more than eight units of the CMPL major or minor can count toward a second major and/or minor.

Unit Transfer

Students may transfer up to twelve (12) units toward their elective requirements from another institution or a study abroad program. To transfer, courses must be at the minimum level of 300 or above, or its equivalent. To facilitate transfers, student will provide the course syllabus, a major paper written for that course and a petition form for each course.

Study Abroad

Majors in Comparative Literature and Culture are strongly encouraged to study abroad.

Students may transfer up to twelve (12) units from their University sponsored study abroad program toward the Comparative Literature and Culture Major. A minimum of twenty-four (24) of the total forty-four (44) units required for the Comparative Literature and Culture Major must be completed in residence at USF.

Studying Abroad