Major Options

Comparative Literature is an interdisciplinary major for students wishing to work in more than one language, literature, and culture. Courses foster the study of relationships between specific literary and cultural traditions as well as other areas of knowledge -- such as the visual arts, the sciences, philosophy, history, government, economics, religion, geography, anthropology, and music.

Requirements CLASS OF 2016 AND ABOVE

The major consists of ten courses (eleven for honors).

Students work in close consultation with the Chair and other faculty to design a coherent major plan. Most major plans include work in more than one language (one of which can be English). Plans may include languages not currently taught at Dartmouth, with appropriate supervision.  All major plans must be approved by the Chair and the Steering Committee.

Prerequisite for the major: COLT10

Required courses: COLT72, COLT85, and for honors majors only, COLT87; plus eight
additional courses (see options below).
One course from an LSA+ or FSP may be included in the major plan. Other modifications can be approved if consistent with the student’s linguistic abilities and the overall goals of the major plan.

Culminating experience: All students will complete COLT85, Senior Seminar. Those wishing to pursue writing an Honors Thesis will also take COLT87.

Options

Students have two options for structuring their additional eight courses:

A. Comparative study of literature and culture in two languages.
This typically includes 2-4 Comparative Literature courses above COLT10, fluency in one language (3-4 upper-level courses, normally not English), and competence in a second language (1-2 upper level courses). When filling out the major forms any attachments please upload them as a separate document.

PDF iconOption A

B. Comparative study of literature and culture in one language (normally not English) and one other non-literary discipline (e.g. music, film, art, history, geography, physics, etc.).

This typically includes 2-4 Comparative Literature courses above COLT10, fluency in one language (3-4 upper-level courses), and substantive preparation in a non-literary discipline (3-4 upper level courses).

PDF iconOption B

Honors Program

Students who wish to pursue serious independent research are invited to apply for Honors in Comparative Literature.

Eligibility: Junior standing; 3.3 GPA in the major; satisfy the minimum College requirements for Honors.

Application: Includes a research proposal approved by two supporting faculty members who agree to advise the project. Application is normally made at the end of junior year, with a revised research plan submitted at the beginning of senior year.

Thesis: Students work throughout the process with their advisors and the Chair. After completing the Senior Seminar (COLT 85), students enroll in COLT 87. A written thesis is usually 60-80 pages; students also give an oral presentation based on their project.

Honors Thesis Timeline
 

PRIOR TO CLASS OF 2016

Requirements for the Major in Comparative Literature

The major seeks to provide an opportunity for selective and varied study of two or more literatures in their relation to each other, or for the study of a foreign literature in its relationship to an extraliterary discipline, such as film, music, or history (see the three options below). Each student’s major plan is designed individually around a particular focus of interest. Students planning to major in Comparative Literature will normally enroll in an Honors Program, which entails writing a thesis (60 to 80 pages) during their senior year. Some students may choose to write two senior essays (about 25 pages each) in lieu of the thesis. Students pursuing the two-paper option will substitute another Comparative Literature course for COLT 87. One senior essay will be written in COLT 85. The second will be written in a course taken senior year that is relevant to the student’s course of study. The two-paper option does not carry honors credit.

The major is administered by the Comparative Literature Steering Committee. Students design their major plan in consultation with an advisor and the Chair. All applications to the major must be approved by the Steering Committee. Major cards can be signed only by the Chair. Students interested in becoming majors should consult the Chair well in advance of their intended declaration of a major.

Prerequisite for the major: any from among the COLT 10's.

Required courses: any from among the COLT 72's, COLT 85, and, for honors majors only, COLT 87.

COLT 85 (Senior Seminar) is required to fulfill the culminating experience requirement for students who do not meet the honor requirements, and COLT 85 and COLT 87 (Thesis Tutorial) for students meeting honors requirements.

Major Options

  1. Two foreign literatures.

    We require fluency in the primary language and competence in the secondary language. Fluency and competence are determined by the chair in consultation with the chair of the relevant foreign language department. Competence is ordinarily defined as completion of the fourth quarter of language study, and fluency as three courses beyond the fourth quarter of study. One course from an LSA+ or FSP may be counted toward work in a language, as long as the course content is primarily literary. This major consists of 10 courses: any from among the COLT 72's, COLT 85, COLT 87; at least 2 additional Comparative Literature courses; 3-4 courses in the primary literature; and 1-2 courses in the secondary literature.

    Students interested in graduate study in Comparative Literature are strongly encouraged to choose Major option A.

  2. Two literatures (one of which is a literature in English). We require fluency in the non-anglophone language. Fluency is determined by the chair in consultation with the chair of the relevant foreign language department. One course from an LSA+ or FSP may be counted toward work in a language, as long as the course content is primarily literary. This major consists of 12 courses: any from among the COLT 72's, COLT 85, COLT 87; at least 2 additional Comparative Literature courses; 3-4 courses in the non-anglophone literature; and at least 3 courses in the anglophone literature.
  3. A foreign literature and a nonliterary discipline (e.g. literature and music; literature and film; literature and history, etc.). We require fluency in the foreign language. Fluency is determined by the chair in consultation with the chair of the relevant foreign language department. One course from an LSA+ or FSP may be counted toward work in a language, as long as the course content is primarily literary. This major consists of 12 courses: any from among the COLT 72's, COLT 85, COLT 87; at least 2 additional Comparative Literature courses; 3-4 courses in the foreign literature; and at least 3 courses in the nonliterary discipline.

Honors Thesis Timeline