Comparative Literature


The concentration in Comparative Literature enables students to study literature in cross-cultural perspectives. The aim of the program is to encourage students to study a varied and illustrative range of literary topics rather than the total development of a single literary tradition.  True to the spirit of Brown’s New Curriculum, a concentration in Comparative Literature affords great academic freedom.  For example: advanced courses in any literature department at Brown count for concentration credit; although English is commonly one of the languages that students apply to their Comparative Literature studies, basically any language--ancient or modern--supported at Brown may form part of a Comparative Literature concentration program.  In essence, concentrators study a generous range of literary works--from Western cultures, both ancient and modern, to Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic--and develop a focused critical understanding of how cultures differ from one another.  Comparative Literature differs from other literature concentrations largely through its international focus and its broad-gauged view of art and culture in which the study of languages is combined with the analysis of literature and literary theory. All students take a course in literary theory and have the opportunity to complete a senior essay. 

Student Goals

Students in this concentration will:

  • Gain fluency in at least one language other than English
  • Develop an understanding of poetry, drama, and narrative in more than one culture and in different historical periods
  • Become conversant in literary theory
  • Develop sophisticated reading and writing skills
  • Produce a body of critical papers


Click here for a list of the Comparative Literature concentration requirements. For more information about this concentration, please visit the department's website.

Honors and Capstones

View Honors website

There is no capstone requirement. Honors concentrators, however, must complete a senior Honors thesis on a well-focused topic of Comparative Literature which the student has carefully investigated. Students should generally begin thinking about an Honors Thesis in their junior year. Please see the department's website for a complete description of program requirements.


  • Comparative Literature with Three Languages
  • Comparative Literature with Two Languages
  • Literary Translation

Liberal Learning

This concentration allows you to address the following Liberal Learning goals:

  • Enhance your aesthetic sensibility
  • Expand your reading skills
  • Understand differences among cultures
  • Embrace diversity
  • Engage with your community
  • Develop a facility with symbolic languages
  • Work on your speaking and writing

Download the full statement on Liberal Learning at Brown

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Affiliated Departments


Graduating Class

Year Total Capstone Honors
201028 15 14 
201126 15 15 
201227 12 12 
201334 17 17 

Alumni Pathways

Graduates with a degree in Comparative Literature have pursued careers as writers and editors, artists, physicians, curators, marketing executives and consultants, journalists, directors of film and television, university faculty, and legislators. Hear what recent alumni have to say about their concentration and their career trajectories on the Comparative Literature department's new Career Forum.

See more details on the CareerLAB website.

Dept. Undergraduate Group

Visit this DUG's website to learn more.

Student Leaders:

  • Corina Arnal
  • Juan-Diego Mariategui

If you are an advisor and would like to make changes to the information on this page, contact, or email Dean Besenia Rodriguez.