FAQs

I am a freshman or sophomore interested in exploring the Comparative Literature major.  What courses should I take?

Good places to start exploring the major are Comparative Literature/ Humanistic Studies 205-206 or Humanistic Studies 216-219.  These are, respectively, Classical Roots of Western Literature; Masterworks of European Literature; and Interdisciplinary Approaches to Western Culture: Literature and the Arts.  Another good introductory course for the major is COM 225, Introduction to World Literature.

I already know that I want to major in Comparative Literature.  May I declare early?

Yes.  Please see the early concentration guidelines.

Do sophomores need two languages other than English to enter the department or start the major?

No.  To enter the department, you should know one language other than English well enough to take an upper-level course in its literature during your junior year.  For specific guidelines, please see the prerequisites.  You must be able to read in the second foreign language by the time you graduate.  For information on financial support for language study during the summer, for both incoming students and current majors, please see Funding.

May I still major in Comparative Literature even if the department’s faculty members do not read the language I want to study?

Yes.  For your senior thesis, you will need a Princeton faculty member who is knowledgeable in that language to serve as an adviser, but he or she need not be in Comparative Literature, as long as your other adviser is a faculty member or associate member of this department.

Must majors take Comparative Literature theory courses?

No.  The only specific Comparative Literature course you are required to take is COM 300, the Junior Seminar. You are also required to take two other COM courses or courses crosslisted with COM, but they do not have to be on literary theory.

How are advisers assigned?

If you're interested in working with a particular professor on your junior paper or senior thesis, you can confer with him or her informally in the summer or semester before you begin your independent work, and you can also list the professor's name on the department's online forms.  Most advisers are professors from Comparative Literature, but exceptions can be made in some cases.  Alternatively, you can list your interests when you complete the online form, and the Director of Undergraduate Studies will select the most appropriate adviser. The DUS makes the final determination about advising, and informs students and faculty on the first day of the relevant semester.