Comparative Literature

Comparative Literature takes as its special mandate the teaching and comparing of world literature, not only as social documents but also as works of art whose full appreciation depends on the study of languages, an understanding of diversity and globalization, and an appreciation of various media. The program encourages the study of literature by promoting the study of a second or third foreign language and by sponsoring courses and dissertations that cut across national boundaries. The three introductory courses, Introduction to Comparative Literature, World Literature: From the Beginning to 1700 A.D., and World Literature: 1700 to the Present, give students a base upon which to build their studies.  The Comparative Literature program is designed so that students can individualize their plans of study.

Points of Pride

  • Undergraduate coursework in comparative literature could include areas such as: Chinese, classics, English, Languages and Cultures, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
  • The comparative literature program hosts a spring lecture series.
  • Purdue hosted the 2009 Renaissance Comparative Prose Conference titled "Murrin & Nohrnberg".


  • Communications specialist
  • Technical writer
  • Data librarian
  • Business jobs in training/management
  • Graduate or professional school
  • Teacher

Plan of Study

A grade of "C" or better is required for any course used to fulfill a pre-major or major requirement

A. Required introductory courses (9)

CMPL 23000 Crossing Borders: Introduction to Comparative Literature ( or ENGL 30100, PHIL 27500)
CPML 26600 World Literature: From the Beginning to 1700 A.D. (or ENGL 26600) (Global Perspective)
CMPL 26700 World Literature: 1700 to the Present ( or ENGL 26700) (Global Perspective)

B. TWO courses of literature and language studies in student's primary foreign language (6)

30100 Language Level V
24100 Introduction to the study of ______ Literature (or equivalent)

C. ONE course of a students secondary foreign language course (3)

D. FIVE courses in world literature at the 20000 level or higher (15)

No more than SIX hours of film studies courses (33000, ENGL 38600, ENGL 38700)
No more than THREE hours of Directed Reading (59000)
A minimum of Three hours at the 40000 level or higher

Program Course Requirements (57-58 credits): (See PDF for full list here)

ONE of the following:

ENGL 10600 First Year Composition
ENGL 10800 Accelerated First Year Composition

COM 1140 Fundamentals of Speech Communication
Other Language (12) (Proficiency through level IV in one language)
West Heritage
United States Tradition
Other Cultures
Aesthetic Awareness
Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Gender Issues
Social Ethics
Individual and Society
Global Perspective
Natural Sciences
Natural Sciences Lab

Electives (20-21 credits)

University Core Requirements

Courses selected above must meet the following University Core Requirements:

Human Cultures Humanities
Human Cultures Behavioral/Social Science
Information Literacy
Science Selective
Science Selective
Science Technology Society Selective
Written Communication
Oral Communication
Quantitative Reasoning

For more information, visit

Print plan of Study

Comparative Literature Program

School of Interdisciplinary Studies

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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