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Comparative literature majors enjoy a personalized program at UWM. Small classes lend themselves to strong bonds among classmates and with the faculty.

Many comparative literature majors take advantage of the flexibility of the program to double major in another discipline. They find that the analytical skills developed through this major are greatly beneficial in other areas such as the arts, journalism and communication, business, the public sector, and more.

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Biochemistry major Matida was hired full-time with nonprofit Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin and leads the Dane County team for Project Recovery. (UWM Photo/Troye Fox)
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A double major in political science and communication, Sandra started her first full-time job as an administrative assistant/paralegal in the Milwaukee County Court coordinators office. (UWM Photo/Marcelo Martinez)
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Esrom was hired as the dance director at the Fine Arts Institute at East High School in Green Bay. Esrom is graduating with a MFA for Dance Performance and Choreography. (UWM Photo/Marcelo Martinez)
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Blake was hired by Rockwell in the sales and engineering department. Blake is a mechanical engineer and interned at Rockwell in Shanghai. (UWM Photo/Elora Hennessey)
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Architecture student Alanna was hired before graduation and works for Excel Engineering as a team designer. She says, “I work with a team to bring ideas to paper and design to construction.” (UWM Photo/Elora Hennessey)

Major Requirements

The program welcomes prospective majors who have maintained a minimum 2.0 GPA in their language and literature courses. Prospective majors can declare the major online and then meet with the Comparative Literature coordinator, either in person or online. Students are assigned a Comparative Literature advisor in their primary areas of interest. The advisor helps students design plans of study tailored to their particular interests, academic goals, and professional aspirations.

Comparative literature majors are encouraged to take additional literature courses offered in languages other than English when possible. They also are encouraged to take additional courses outside of the program in the analysis of literature and other arts. In many cases, these courses may be counted toward the comparative literature major.

All CompLit courses and approved electives that a student takes will count in calculating the major GPA. The College of Letters and Science requires that students attain at least a 2.0 GPA on all credits in the major attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.0 GPA on all major credits attempted, including any transfer work.

The department offers two options for the major. Both major options require that, in their senior year, students complete a research project that focuses on major theoretical and critical trends in comparative literature. Students may fulfill this requirement by completing completing GLOBAL 550 with a research project on a comparative literature topic, or with a substitution approved by the Comparative Literature coordinator.

Credit Requirements

A total of 36 credits is required for the major, including COMPLIT 207 and COMPLIT 208 and at least 24 credits at the advanced level (numbered 300 and above). At least 15 of the advanced credits must be taken in residence at UWM. Students may count toward the major up to 6 credits in the following selected in consultation with their advisor. Students will take 15 credits in Core and Foundation courses and 21 credits in either Option A or Option B for a total of 36.

Core and Foundation Courses
COMPLIT 207Global Literature from Antiquity to the 1600s:3
COMPLIT 208Global Literature from the 17th Century to the Present:3
GLOBAL 550Global Studies Integrated Capstone: 13
Select 6 credits of lower level courses from the list below6
Contemporary Imagination in Literature and the Arts
Experiencing Literature in the 21st Century:
Literature and Society:
Literature and Religion:
Literature and Politics:
Literature and Film:
Total Credits15

To fulfill the Research Requirement in the College of Letters and Science in Comparative Literature, most students should take GLOBAL 550 and complete a research project on a comparative literature topic. The Research Requirement may also be met with a substitution approved by the Comparative Literature coordinator.

Option A

This option is recommended particularly for students who intend to pursue graduate work in comparative literature. Option A students must complete the following:

Select 9-12 credits in CompLit courses numbered 300 and above 19-12
Select 9-12 credits in advanced literature courses (numbered 300 and above) offered in a foreign language9-12
Total Credits21

If student takes 9 credits in COMPLIT, then the student must take 12 credits of advanced literature course. If the student takes 9 credits of advanced literature courses, then the student must take 12 credits of COMPLIT courses.   

Option B

This option is offered for students with little if any training in a foreign language. Though such work normally is not considered as suitable preparation for graduate work in comparative literature, Option B offers training that is useful and applicable in many academic and professional fields. Option B students must complete the following:

Select 12 additional credits in CompLit courses numbered 300 and above12
Select 9 credits in advanced courses (300 and above) in the analysis of literature or the other arts 29
Total Credits21

Advanced courses (300 and above) in the analysis of literature or the other arts offered by CompLit or by other related departments and programs, with the approval of the CompLit advisor. This includes literature-in-translation courses offered by foreign language programs as well as courses in Art History, English, Film Studies, Philosophy, Religious Studies, or other disciplines that have as their focus the study of literature and/or the other arts

With a BA in Comparative Literature, you can pursue a career in numerous areas. As is true of most liberal arts degrees with countless job options, you will need to research, explore and gain hands-in experience while in college to match your skills, knowledge and interests to jobs in the marketplace.

Internships, research projects, and part-time jobs can help you determine which career path is right for you. Comparative Literature majors often find job opportunities in journalism, publishing, editing, translation, and other related fields that make use of their writing and analytical skills and their knowledge of literature and film. They teach at the primary and secondary levels, and they are well-prepared to offer the multicultural or world literature and interdisciplinary humanities courses that are increasingly offered at the secondary level, particularly if they have coupled their work in the major with education courses. The interpretive, expressive, and analytical skills of Comparative Literature majors prepare them for a wide range of positions in business, governmental agencies, or non-profit organizations; the comparative cultural perspectives of Comparative Literature students, coupled with language skills, make them well-suited for international business, foreign service, or work within the diplomatic corps.

We encourage you to begin exploring career options when you declare your comparative literature major or at the start of your sophomore year, whichever comes first.  

Comparative Literature Advising

Students select a departmental advisor from Comparative Literature faculty and staff upon declaring a major or minor in Comparative Literature. Departmental advisors work closely with students to develop an individual course of study that will both match their interests and fulfill program requirements

Letters & Science Advising

During your time at UWM, you may have multiple members of your success team, including advisors, peer mentors, and success coaches. Letters and Science students typically work with at least two different types of advisors as they pursue their degrees: professional College Advisors and Faculty Advisors. L&S College Advisors advise across your entire degree program while departmental Faculty Advisors focus on the major.

College Advisors are located in Holton Hall and serve as your primary advisor. They are your point person for your questions about navigating college and completing your degree. College Advisors will:

  • assist you in defining your academic and life goals;
  • help you create an educational plan that is consistent with those goals;
  • assist you in understanding curriculum, major and degree requirements for graduation, as well as university policies and procedures;
  • provide you with information about campus and community resources and refer you to those resources as appropriate; and 
  • monitor your progress toward graduation and completion of requirements.

Faculty Advisors mentor students in the major and assist them in maximizing their development in the program. You will begin working with a Faculty Advisor when you declare your major. Faculty Advisors are an important partner and will:

  • help you understand major requirements and course offerings in the department; 
  • explain opportunities for internships and undergraduate research and guide you in obtaining those experiences; and 
  • serve as an excellent resource as you consider potential graduate programs and career paths in your field.

Students are encouraged to meet with both their College Advisor and Faculty Advisor at least once each semester. Appointments are available in-person, by phone or by video. 

Currently enrolled students should use the Navigate website to make an appointment with your assigned advisor or call (414) 229-4654 if you do not currently have an assigned Letters & Science advisor. Prospective students who haven't enrolled in classes yet should call (414) 229-7711 or email

Get Advising
  • Currently enrolled majors with questions about general degree requirements? Make an appointment with your assigned Letters & Science College Advisor through Navigate or email your advisor.
  • Currently enrolled majors with questions about the major specifically? Email your faculty advisor or the department directly.
  • Currently enrolled UWM students not yet in the College of Letters & Science? Email
  • Haven’t started classes yet at UWM? Email our admissions counselor at
Letters & Science Degree Requirements

In addition to the requirements for the major (in the Requirements tab of this page), students must fulfill a number of other requirements. Students must take a minimum of 120 credits to graduate. These can be thought of as falling into one of three "buckets:" major, general requirements, and electives, which is where a minor could fall. Many classes fall into more than one bucket at the same time. This is why it is important to talk to your advisor, so you can take advantage of those double-counting opportunities.

Learning Goals for Comparative Literature Majors

  1. The ability to think critically and analytically about human expression in cross-cultural contexts, including the ability to construct interpretive arguments that are clear, coherent, and persuasive.
  2. The ability to analyze and criticize texts using comparatist approaches, and the knowledge of at least one language other than English, when possible.
  3. A general familiarity with the histories of literature in their international contexts, and with significant literary relationships in one or more of the following areas: African, Asian, Middle Eastern, European, and American-North, South, and the Caribbean).
  4. An understanding of the processes and theories of translation.
  5. An understanding of the differences between primary and secondary texts.
  6. Knowledge of major literary genres, including novel, poetry, drama, epic, and other types of prose and poetic forms.
  7. Knowledge of the relationships of literature and the arts (including film, architecture, music, and such visual arts as painting, photography, sculpture, and digital media).
  8. An understanding of methods of literary criticism and critical theory.

Prospective Students (not yet enrolled at UWM)

Prospective students, contact our admissions counselor at or 414-229-7711.

Current Students

General questions such as how to declare, how to change a major, general education requirements, etc. should be directed to the College advising office at or 414-229-4654.

Specific questions about Comparative Literature, such as research opportunities, internship opportunities, major requirements, etc., should be directed to Prof. Demetrius Williams.