Undergraduate Overview

View of Clemens Hall off in the distance.

The Department of Comparative Literature at the University at Buffalo is a relatively small, yet independent program. Because of its small size, the department offers students a very close working relationship with faculty. There are approximately as many faculty members as degree-seeking students. In all cases, students take considerable personal initiative in shaping their program of study.

What is Comparative Literature?

Comparative Literature is traditionally known as the study of two or more literatures in comparison (English and German, for example) and their multi-dimensional components which may encompass aspects such as the historical, gender, economic, cultural, social, philosophical, religious, and linguistic factors of the distinct cultures being analyzed. 

Non-traditional study may include other forms of readable expression such as film, gender studies, ethnicity, politics, graffiti or television as these are all forms of cultural expression.

How can Comparative Literature benefit me?

Students develop critical thinking skills useful not only for reading but for improving the ability to recognize and approach problems creatively, improve language and writing skills, and understand and appreciate the dynamic interplay between cultures as well as subcultures. 

Where do people find careers with a Comparative Literature background?

There are more opportunities for Comp Lit students than most realize! There are opportunities in teaching and journalism but also marketing, publishing, public relations, government, translation, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) just to name a few.  Creating an interdisciplinary undergraduate degree in Comparative Literature allows students the freedom to develop their own path.  Comp Lit pairs well with departments such as philosophy, psychology, business and law.