Comparative literature transcends borders in order to engage with great works of literature from different places and times. The program at Washington University requires an intense immersion in at least one foreign language and literature, and exposes students to western and non-western literatures as well as texts in translation. Historically, comparative literature’s transnational orientation has made it the home for literary theory. Comparative literature is interdisciplinary and draws from scholarship across a multitude of departments at WashU, including East Asian Languages and Cultures, English, Germanic Languages and Literatures, Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and Romance Languages and Literatures.
For undergraduate students, the program offers two majors and minors in comparative literature and comparative arts. For graduate students, there are a doctoral and master’s program in comparative literature as well as a specialized doctoral track in comparative literature for international writers. The program also offers joint doctoral degrees with Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish and a graduate certificate in translation studies.