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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.

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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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

  • Pickering-Iazzi in conversation on her latest translation
    On September 20, Prof. Robin Pickering-Iazzi had the opportunity to engage in a lively online conversation of her translation of Maria Rosa Cutrufelli's Tina, Mafia Soldier with Chiara Durrazini (Boston Italian Theater Company), Juliet Grames (Soho Press), and Cutrufelli through I Am … Read more
  • Join the Global Student Alliance!
    The Global Student Alliance is a student organization of both undergraduate and graduate students with a mission to cultivate a vibrant and inclusive community of students dedicated to fostering global awareness, cross-cultural understanding, and sustainable change within our college campus … Read more
  • 2023 UWM Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society
    Congratulations to all of the 2023 inductees to Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society from UWM, including those from the Department of Global Studies: Emma Lynn Blanchette (French and Linguistics double major) Jennifer Olson (Global Studies major) Abby Schroder (English major, … Read more
  • Congratulations to the 2023-2024 RASCL Scholarship recipients!
    Congratulations to Tabitha Lindstrom and Abby Schroder, the 2023-2024 recipients of the Roy Arthur Swanson Merit Scholarship in Comparative Literature! We are so happy to have you both in the program as minors, and delighted to be able to support … Read more
  • 414 for UWM Giving Day
    On April 14, UWM celebrates “414 Day.” This year the 414 for UWM Giving Day campaign runs from noon on Thursday, April 13 through noon on Friday, April 14. Please consider supporting UWM and the students of Comparative Literature, French, … Read more

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.

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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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