Foreign Language Prerequisites. To enter the department, students must be sufficiently knowledgeable in one language other than English to take an upper-level course in its literature in their junior year. Students who major in Comparative Literature are also expected to study at least one other non-English language and to be able to read in that second non-English language by the time they graduate. Such language study may take place before or during the years as departmental majors. Students can establish proficiency through an upper-level course in that language, or through two semesters’ study and an additional language course in the summer, or occasionally through an intensive language course in the summer. Proficiency can also be established through the foreign language test administered by the relevant department. Many majors, including early concentrators, apply for and receive funding from Comparative Literature to study a language over the summer in both domestic and foreign courses. Students with additional questions about the foreign language requirements should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Introductory Courses. Students who wish to major in Comparative Literature are advised, though not required, to take Comparative Literature/ Humanistic Studies 205-206, COM 209, COM 225, COM 280, Humanistic Studies 216-219 or TRA 200 in their sophomore year or earlier.
Early Concentration. Qualified students may elect early concentration and enroll in the department at the beginning of the spring term of the sophomore year. Declaring early means that students can choose to write the first of their two Junior Papers in the spring of the sophomore year; this option is of particular appeal for those planning on studying abroad during the junior year. Students considering early concentration should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Letter of Language Competency. Each graduating senior is given a departmental letter attesting to his or her proficiency in the primary foreign language, and to reading ability in the secondary foreign language. This document is awarded in the Class Day ceremony, and is useful in applications for employment.
Questions? Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies by email or set up an appointment on WASE. The DUS welcomes questions from high-school students interested in applying to Princeton and majoring in Comparative Literature, from first-year Princeton students, and from undeclared majors. Our current students would also be happy to provide information about the major; they can be contacted via our list of undergraduates.