In the Comparative Literature major, students examine literature across languages, geographic location, time periods, and genres. The discipline also explores the relationship between literature and other forms of cultural expression such as pop culture, technology, arts, music, or film, as well as the relationship between literature and other academic disciplines, like anthropology, history, religious studies, or women's and gender studies. It's a great major for anyone who loves to explore other cultures.
Students sometimes ask whether they need to be fluent in a foreign language in order to study comparative literature. Definitely not! While all of UWM's instructors and faculty in comparative literature do research in other languages, all Comparative Literature courses are taught entirely in English. Comparative Literature majors choose one of two paths - one path that requires some literature courses be taken in a foreign language program, or another path where all classes are taught in English.
Our alumni can be found working in university and K-12 education, the arts, politics, law, library services, publishing, social services, journalism and communications, editorial roles, marketing, fundraising, corporate sales, consulting, and many other fields. Their knowledge and skills in cross-cultural communication, critical analysis, reading and comprehension of complex text, and writing are highly valued.
Complete 120 credits including 90 credits in the College of Letters & Science and with 36 of the 90 credits in L&S upper-level (numbered above 300) courses. The College requires that students must complete in residence at UWM at least 15 credits in upper-division (numbered 300 or above) courses in their major. Students are also required to complete University-wide General Education Requirements and the specific L&S requirements listed below.
To complete a major, students must satisfy all the requirements of the major as stated in this catalog. Students who declare their majors within five years of entering the UW System as a degree candidate may satisfy the requirements outlined in any catalog issued since the time they entered. Credits used to satisfy the major also may be used to satisfy other degree requirements.
University General Education Requirements (GER)
|Oral and Written Communication|
|Achieve a grade of C or better in the following course:|
|ENGLISH 102||College Writing and Research (or equivalent)|
|Course designated as OWC-B; may be completed through a major-specific course requirement|
|Earn at least 3 credits with a grade of C or higher in one of the following courses or an equivalent course, or achieve a placement code of at least 30 on the mathematics placement test (or other appropriate test, as determined by the Mathematical Sciences Department)|
|Mathematical Literacy for College Students II|
|Contemporary Applications of Mathematics|
|Introduction to College Algebra|
|Algebraic Literacy II|
|Introduction to Logic - Critical Reasoning 1|
or PHILOS 111
|Introduction to Logic - Critical Reasoning|
Or equivalent course
|Course designated as QL-B; may be completed through a major-specific course requirement|
|Select 3 credits||3|
|Select 6 credits||6|
|Select 6 credits||6|
|Select 6 credits (at least two courses including one lab)||6|
|UWM Foreign Language Requirement|
|Complete Foreign Language Requirement through:|
Two years (high school) of a single foreign language
Two semesters (college) of a single foreign language
|UWM Cultural Diversity Requirement|
|One course from the Arts, Humanities, or Social Sciences must also satisfy UWM's Cultural Diversity requirement|
Math 111 and Philosophy 111 are jointly offered and count as repeats of one another. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.
College of Letters & Science Requirements
I. English Composition Requirement
Students must satisfy the English Composition Requirement with one of the following options:
1) Completing ENGLISH 102 with a grade of C or higher; or
2) by placing beyond ENGLISH 102 on the English Placement Test (EPT) (or other assessment as determined by the English Department); or
3) transferring a course of at least 2.5 equivalent credits from another institution that is equivalent to English 102, or a UWM higher-level expository writing course, with a grade of C or higher.
Note: This requirement is the same as the University General Education Requirement for Oral and Written Communication Part A. The College of Letters & Science does not have a specific requirement for a writing course beyond English 102, but students must complete the university-wide requirement for Oral and Written Communication Part B listed above.
II. Mathematics and Formal Reasoning
To satisfy the Mathematics and Formal Reasoning Requirement, students must satisfy the following two requirements:
1. Achieve a placement code of at least 30 on the mathematics placement test (or other appropriate test, as determined by the Mathematical Sciences Department) or earn at least 3 credits with a grade of C or higher in one of the following courses or an equivalent course:
|MATH 102||Mathematical Literacy for College Students II||3|
|MATH 103||Contemporary Applications of Mathematics||3|
|MATH 105||Introduction to College Algebra||3|
|MATH 108||Algebraic Literacy II||3|
|MATH 111||Introduction to Logic - Critical Reasoning 1||3|
|or PHILOS 111||Introduction to Logic - Critical Reasoning|
|MATH 116||College Algebra||3|
|MATH 175||Mathematical Explorations for Elementary Teachers I||3|
Math 111 and Philosophy 111 are jointly offered and count as repeats of one another. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.
Note: This requirement is the same as the University General Education Requirement for Quantitative Literacy Part A, listed above.
2. Complete one course (at least 3 credits) at the 200 level or above chosen from courses in Mathematics, PHILOS 211, or Letters and Science statistics courses:
|Complete one of the following:|
3 or more credits in any 200-level or above Math course
|Introduction to Statistics in African and African Diaspora Studies|
|Introduction to Anthropological Statistics|
|Quantitative Analysis in Geography|
|The Quantitative Analysis of Historical Data|
|Elementary Statistical Analysis|
|Political Data Analysis|
|Introduction to Statistical Thinking in Sociology|
Note: This requirement is NOT the same as the University General Education Requirement for Quantitative Literacy Part B. To complete the BA, students must take one of the L&S approved courses. Not all of the courses listed here will satisfy the QL-B requirement.
III. Foreign Language Requirement
Placement testing may be used to satisfy all or part of this requirement. Language courses (including American Sign Language) other than English taken in high school may be used to satisfy all or part of this requirement. One year of high school language equates to one semester of college work.
Completion of the L&S Language Requirement also satisfies the university-wide Foreign Language GER, but not vice versa.
|Completed in one of the following ways:||0-18|
Successful completion of the 4th semester of college work or equivalent in one language other than English (including American Sign Language)
Successful completion of the 3rd semester of college work or equivalent in one language other than English (including American Sign Language) PLUS the 2nd semester of college work or equivalent in another language other than English (including American Sign Language)
IV. International Requirement
See Approved Courses for the L&S International Requirement for course options.
|Completed in one of the following ways:||9|
Complete 3 courses (min. 9 cr) in a single foreign language (not including literature-in-translation or American Sign Language) at the 3rd semester level and above
Complete 3 non-language courses (min. 9 credits) with an international content chosen from at least 2 curricular areas.
Complete 9 credits in combination of the two options above.
V. Breadth Requirement
Along with completing the University General Education Requirements of 3 credits in the Arts (A); 6 credits in the Humanities (HU), Social Sciences (SS), and Natural Sciences (NS/NS+); and a course with the Cultural Diversity (CD/+) designation, L&S students must complete the Breadth requirement.
|Select 3 credits||3|
|Complete 12 credits of L&S courses with Humanities Breadth designation; no more than 6 credits from a single subject area. *||12|
|Complete 12 credits of L&S Courses with Social Science Breadth designation; no more than 6 credits from a single curricular area. *||12|
|Complete 12 credits of L&S Courses with Natural Sciences Breadth designation, including at least one laboratory or field course; no more than 6 credits from a single curricular area. *||12|
|Complete 3 credits in a course with Cultural Diversity (CD) designation. **||3|
Students should check their course selections carefully with the list of approved L&S Breadth Courses. Students are advised to select at least 6 credits worth of courses in each of the Humanities, Social Science, and Natural Sciences areas that can satisfy both the campus-wide General Education Requirements and the L&S Breadth requirement.
Students are advised to select a course that satisfies the Cultural Diversity requirement as well as a Humanities or Social Science breadth/GER requirement.
VI. The Major
The College of Letters and Science requires that students attain at least a 2.0 GPA in all credits in the major attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.0 GPA on all major credits attempted, including any transfer work. Individual departments or programs may require higher GPAs for graduation. Some departmental majors require courses from other departments. Contact your major department for information on whether those credits will count as part of the major GPA. The College requires that students must complete in residence at UWM at least 15 credits in upper-division (numbered 300 or above) courses in their major.
Within their majors, students must complete a research experience approved by the L&S faculty. A list of courses satisfying the research requirement in each major can be found here.
VII. The Minor
The College of Letters and Science requires that students attain at least a 2.0 GPA in all credits in the minor attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.0 GPA on all minor credits attempted, including any transfer work.
The program welcomes prospective majors who have maintained a minimum 2.0 GPA in their language and literature courses. Prospective majors can declare the major online and then meet with the Comparative Literature coordinator, either in person or online. Students are assigned a Comparative Literature advisor in their primary areas of interest. The advisor helps students design plans of study tailored to their particular interests, academic goals, and professional aspirations.
Comparative literature majors are encouraged to take additional literature courses offered in languages other than English when possible. They also are encouraged to take additional courses outside of the program in the analysis of literature and other arts. In many cases, these courses may be counted toward the comparative literature major.
All CompLit courses and approved electives that a student takes will count in calculating the major GPA. The College of Letters and Science requires that students attain at least a 2.0 GPA on all credits in the major attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.0 GPA on all major credits attempted, including any transfer work.
The department offers two options for the major. Both major options require that, in their senior year, students complete a research project that focuses on major theoretical and critical trends in comparative literature. Students may fulfill this requirement by completing either COMPLIT 463 or COMPLIT 464, or with a substitution approved by the Comparative Literature coordinator.
A total of 36 credits is required for the major, including COMPLIT 207 and COMPLIT 208 and at least 24 credits at the advanced level (numbered 300 and above). At least 15 of the advanced credits must be taken in residence at UWM. Students may count toward the major up to 6 credits in the following selected in consultation with their advisor. Students will take 15 credits in Core and Foundation courses and 21 credits in either Option A or Option B for a total of 36.
|Core and Foundation Courses|
|COMPLIT 207||Global Literature from Antiquity to the 1600s:||3|
|COMPLIT 208||Global Literature from the 17th Century to the Present:||3|
|Choose 1 of the following to complete the research requirement||3|
|Literary Criticism: Major Authors|
|Seminar in Comparative Literary Criticism:|
|Select 6 credits of lower level courses from the list below||6|
|Contemporary Imagination in Literature and the Arts|
|Experiencing Literature in the 21st Century:|
|Literature and Society:|
|Literature and Religion:|
|Literature and Politics:|
|Literature and Film:|
This option is recommended particularly for students who intend to pursue graduate work in comparative literature. Option A students must complete the following:
|Select 9-12 credits in CompLit courses numbered 300 and above 1||9-12|
|Select 9-12 credits in advanced literature courses (numbered 300 and above) offered in a foreign language||9-12|
If student takes 9 credits in COMPLIT, then the student must take 12 credits of advanced literature course. If the student takes 9 credits of advanced literature courses, then the student must take 12 credits of COMPLIT courses.
This option is offered for students with little if any training in a foreign language. Though such work normally is not considered as suitable preparation for graduate work in comparative literature, Option B offers training that is useful and applicable in many academic and professional fields. Option B students must complete the following:
|Select 12 additional credits in CompLit courses numbered 300 and above||12|
|Select 9 credits in advanced courses (300 and above) in the analysis of literature or the other arts 2||9|
Advanced courses (300 and above) in the analysis of literature or the other arts offered by CompLit or by other related departments and programs, with the approval of the CompLit advisor. This includes literature-in-translation courses offered by foreign language programs as well as courses in Art History, English, Film Studies, Philosophy, Religious Studies, or other disciplines that have as their focus the study of literature and/or the other arts
Comparative Literature Advising
Students select a departmental advisor from Comparative Literature faculty and staff upon declaring a major or minor in Comparative Literature. Departmental advisors work closely with students to develop an individual course of study that will both match their interests and fulfill program requirements
Letters & Science Advising
During your time at UWM, you may have multiple members of your success team, including advisors, peer mentors, and success coaches. Letters and Science students typically work with at least two different types of advisors as they pursue their degrees: professional College Advisors and Faculty Advisors. Departmental Faculty Advisors focus on the major while L&S College Advisors advise across your entire degree program.
College Advisors are located in Holton Hall and serve as your primary advisor. They are your point person for your questions about navigating college and completing your degree. College Advisors will:
- assist you in defining your academic and life goals;
- help you create an educational plan that is consistent with those goals;
- assist you in understanding curriculum, major and degree requirements for graduation, as well as university policies and procedures;
- provide you with information about campus and community resources and refer you to those resources as appropriate; and
- monitor your progress toward graduation and completion of requirements.
Faculty Advisors mentor students in the major and assist them in maximizing their development in the program. You will begin working with a Faculty Advisor when you declare your major. Faculty Advisors are an important partner and will:
- help you understand major requirements and course offerings in the department;
- explain opportunities for internships and undergraduate research and guide you in obtaining those experiences; and
- serve as an excellent resource as you consider potential graduate programs and career paths in your field.
Students are encouraged to meet with both their College Advisor and Faculty Advisor at least once each semester. Appointments are available in-person, by phone or by video.
Currently enrolled students should use the Navigate website to make an appointment with your assigned advisor or call (414) 229-4654 if you do not currently have an assigned Letters & Science advisor. Prospective students who haven't enrolled in classes yet should call (414) 229-7711 or email email@example.com.
Honors in the College of Letters and Science
Dean's Honor List
GPA of 3.750 or above, earned on a full-time student's GPA on 12 or more graded credits in a given semester.
Honors College Degree and Honors College Degree with Distinction
Granted to graduating seniors who complete Honors College requirements, as listed in the Honors College section of this site.
Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.500 or above, based on a minimum of 40 graded UWM credits earned prior to the final semester, will receive all-university commencement honors and be awarded the traditional gold cord at the December or May Honors Convocation. Please note that for honors calculation, the GPA is not rounded and is truncated at the third decimal (e.g., 3.499).
Earned on a minimum of 60 graded UWM credits: Cum Laude - 3.500 or above; Magna Cum Laude - 3.650 or above; Summa Cum Laude - 3.800 or above.