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In the Comparative Literature major, students examine literature across languages, geographic location, time periods, and genres. The discipline also explores the relationship between literature and other forms of cultural expression such as pop culture, technology, arts, music, or film, as well as the relationship between literature and other academic disciplines, like anthropology, history, religious studies, or women’s and gender studies. It’s a great major for anyone who loves to compare, contrast, and explore other cultures.

Students sometimes ask whether they need to be fluent in a foreign language in order to study comparative literature. Definitely not! While all of UWM’s instructors and faculty in comparative literature do research in other languages, all Comparative Literature courses are taught entirely in English. Comparative Literature majors choose one of two paths – one path that requires some literature courses be taken in a foreign language program, or another path where all classes are taught in English.

Our alumni can be found working in university and K-12 education, the arts, politics, law, library services, publishing, social services, journalism and communications, editorial roles, marketing, fundraising, corporate sales, consulting, and many other fields. Their knowledge and skills in cross-cultural communication, critical analysis, reading and comprehension of complex text, and writing are highly valued.

The minor can be completed entirely online if desired.

Comparative Literature Contacts

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.

Major or Minor in Comparative Literature

Ready to Declare?

Select the declaration that’s right for you, and you will find more instructions on how to declare and what to expect.

Recommended Resources for CompLit Majors and Minors

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Earn honors in the major or join the UWM Honors College.
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Students who place beyond the first-semester of a language can earn up to 16 retroactive credits, depending on the language.
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Comparative Literature Highlights

Our learning objectives for students:

writing in non-English languageLearn to think critically and analytically about human expression in cross-cultural contexts
bookshelvesGain knowledge of major literary genres
person with bookDiscover methods of literary criticism and critical theory
Discover the relationshipbetween literature & the arts
students in classUnderstand processes and theories of translation

Comparative Literature News

  • Xu publishes Deleuze and Chinese “Pure Literature”
    Congratulations to Jian Xu, whose book Deleuze and Chinese "Pure Literature": Literary Worlding from History to Becoming has been published with Rowman & Littlefield! It's available as a hardcover or an ebook at the link above, and of course it's in the UWM Libraries, …
  • Congratulations to our 2024 scholarship recipients!
    The Department of Global Studies wishes to extend our warmest congratulations to this year's scholarship winners in Comparative Literature, French, Global Studies, and Italian! Well done! Darren Jurmé Allumier: Roy Arthur Swanson Merit Scholarship in Comparative Literature Emily Barnard: Giovanni Carini …
  • Spring 2024 Language Tables and Informal Conversation Opportunities
    UWM's language programs offer many opportunities to speak in languages other than English outside of the classroom. Explore all your Spring 2024 language table options here.
  • Apply now for 2024-2025 scholarships in all of our programs!
    Applications for all scholarships within the Department of Global Studies  are due within the UWM Panther Scholarship Portal are on Friday, March 1. Please make sure to complete the general application and upload a transcript showing your grades for Fall 2023 …
  • Exciting Summer Study Abroad Opportunities Await! 
    Are you ready for an enriching experience? Discover the world and earn credit in French, Global Studies, or Italian through our faculty-led study abroad programs. Check out the details of each program below: BLM/Brazil: Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture …

Comparative Literature Events

There are no upcoming events.

Comparative Literature pairs well with every other major!

It is common for students of Comparative Literature to double major in an additional subject. The mental muscle that students develop when comparing, contrasting, and analyzing literary works leads to exceptional problem-solving skills for business, education, marketing, engineering, library science, political science, economics, and more.

Our small class size in comparative literature also guarantees close relationships with faculty. Whether you choose a comparative literature major or minor, students receive personalized attention and have ample opportunities to partner with faculty on research projects.

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Campus Resources

UWM offers a wide range of on-campus resources, such as academic support and mental health resources. Students also find community within our student centers.

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