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Bulletin Archive

This archived information is dated to the 2008-09 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Undergraduate Programs in Comparative Literature

The department's undergraduate programs are designed to enhance students' appreciation of literature in all its diversity, particularly through introductory courses that include treatments of the primary literary genres. The course of study at intermediate and advanced levels is flexible in order to accommodate student interest in areas such as specific geographical regions, historical periods, and interdisciplinary connections between literature and other fields such as philosophy, music, the visual arts, and the social sciences. A Comparative Literature major prepares a student to become a better reader and interpreter of literature, through enhanced examination of texts and the development of a critical vocabulary to discuss them. Attention to verbal expression and interpretive argument serves students who plan to proceed into careers requiring strong language skills. In addition, the major in Comparative Literature provides preparation for students who intend to pursue an advanced degree as a gateway to an academic career.

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 adviser, 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.

Declaring the Major—Students declare the major in Comparative Literature through Axess. Students should meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to discuss appropriate courses and options within the major, and to plan the course of study. Majors are also urged to attend department events such as public talks and conferences.

Advising—Students majoring in Comparative Literature should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies at least once a year. The director monitors progress to completion of the degree. Students are also encouraged to develop relationships with other faculty members who may act as mentors.

Overseas Campuses and Abroad Programs—The Department of Comparative Literature encourages time abroad, both for increased proficiency in language and the opportunity for advanced course work. Course work done at campuses other than Stanford is counted toward the major at the discretion of the Director of Undergraduate Studies and is contingent upon the Office of the University Registrar's approval of transfer credit. To that end, students abroad are advised to save syllabi, notes, papers, and correspondence.

Honors College—The Department of Comparative Literature encourages honors students to enroll in the honors college scheduled during the weeks preceding the beginning of every academic year. Applications to the college are available from the department administrator. The honors college is coordinated by the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages (DLCL).

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