optn book

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.

Comparative Literature Contacts

Prospective Students (not yet enrolled at UWM)

Prospective students, contact our admissions counselor at let-sci@uwm.edu 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 ls-advising@uwm.edu 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

instructor helping student
Understand who your advisors are and the ways they help you successfully navigate college life.
View Advising
rows in lecture hall
See all the options for electives and upcoming courses.
View Courses
hand holding piggy bank with graduation cap on top
Understand how to create a scholarship application and sources of funding.
View Scholarships & Awards
students looking at sticky notes
There are additional programs at UWM outside of the Department of Global Studies that cover global topics.
View Related Programs
open book in library
Tutoring, accommodations, mentor programs, and more.
View Help
corporately dressed people in chairs
See what our alumni have done with their Global Studies degrees.
View Resources & Outcomes
students walking and laughing
Find friends with similar interests through career-oriented organizations, social clubs, and community activities.
View Organizations
student at whiteboard; instructor watching
Earn honors in the major or join the UWM Honors College.
View Honors
Opportunities abound around the world for students to live and study outside of the U.S. for a few weeks, a semester or a full year.
View Study Abroad
Experience matters just as much as a degree. Learn about international internships and domestic internships with international companies for students in Global Studies.
View Internships
tiles spelling out Language
Students who place beyond the first-semester of a language can earn up to 14 retroactive credits.
View Retro Credits

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

Comparative Literature 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.

    person at laptop

    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.

    Aerial of UWM main campus with Milwaukee in the background