Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

The Major

To major in Comparative Literature students need to select a track or concentration, complete nine courses, write a senior thesis, and participate in the Senior Project Roundtable.
Students explore the interconnectedness, interactions or intersections of two or more literary and cultural Western or non-Western traditions, studied in their historical and geopolitical contexts.
Students explore literary and cultural expressions of diaspora communities throughout the world and address questions of national and transnational identity and local and global cultural diversity.
  LITERATURE AND THE HUMANITIES, SCIENCES OR SOCIAL SCIENCES (such as anthropology, philosophy, political science, theology, environmental policy, or the natural sciences)
Students explore the interactions between literature and other modes of conceptualizing and understanding nature, physical reality, human thinking and human experiences.
Students explore the interactions between literature and other modes of human communication. NOTE: Students pursuing a film track should take COMM 2471-Introduction to Film in their sophomore or junior year (the course counts as one of the 5 electives).
  LITERATURE AND THE CREATIVE ARTS (e.g., creative writing, the visual and the performing arts)
Students explore the boundaries and interactions between verbal expressions and non-verbal experiences.
Students explore the interconnectedness and interactions among different modes of critical thinking on art, literature, nature and society.
COLI 3000-Theories of Comparative Literature. An introduction to theory and methods in comparative literary studies. (ENGL 3045-Theory for English Majors can be substituted for COLI 3000.)
  At least two courses offered by the departments of Modern Languages and Literatures or Classics, which will allow the students to demonstrate an ability to read and analyze texts written in a language other than English. These would normally be courses in the same language numbered 2500, 3000 and above.
  Five elective courses including at least two COLI courses (3000+ level) and up to three cross-listed courses appropriate to the student's program of study and final project (normally at the 3000+ level).
  A senior seminar in Comparative Literature (4000+ level), open to juniors with permission. This capstone course varies in topic, and has a seminar format and a strong theoretical component.
  COLI 4998-Senior Thesis Tutorial. Practical application of comparative techniques and research methods. Supervised independent work culminating in an original research paper in the selected track.
  NOTE: All elective courses must be selected in consultation with the Comparative Literature major advisor.
The senior year experience comprises:
- The capstone seminar in Comparative Literature (see above, "Course Distribution"),
- The senior thesis, and
- A concluding roundtable discussion with faculty and students.
The senior thesis is a substantial research project conducted under the supervision of a primary reader (a faculty member affiliated with the Program and selected by the student) and in consultation with a second reader (a faculty member affiliated with the Program or a department or program related to the thesis topic, and appointed by the program co-directors), both of whom must approve the resulting thesis in its proposed and final form. It is a process that a major initiates in early May of his/her junior year by submitting a 3 to 5 page proposal. In the fall of senior year, a major will take a tutorial (COLI 4998-Senior Thesis in Comparative Literature, see above, "Course Distribution") to begin writing his/her thesis. A draft will be required by the end of the fall semester. All majors will submit a finalized version of their thesis by April 15 of the spring semester. The senior project is comparative in nature and should reflect a student's ability to historically contextualize and critically discuss materials in the selected area of study: literature in two or more languages (track 1), diasporic literatures and cultures (track 2), literature and a textual discipline or science (track 3), literature and another medium (track 4), or literature and theory (track 6). Creative theses such as a translation (track 5) must be accompanied by a substantial critical essay.

All Comparative Literature majors are required to present and discuss their final projects in a public forum with faculty and students from the Program and other disciplines. This event, which usually occurs in spring, is an important intellectual exchange in which students articulate summaries of their research projects and respond to the questions and comments of both their peers and Fordham faculty.

FURTHER INFORMATION STUDY ABROAD - Students are strongly encouraged to pursue study abroad for a semester or a year, usually in their junior year. Students studying abroad for one semester may apply up to four study abroad courses toward the major. Students studying abroad for one year may apply no more than five study abroad courses toward the major. Study abroad courses must be pre-approved by the Comparative Literature major advisor.
  INTERNSHIPS - Students who wish to pursue an internship an receive college credit for it should contact the Comparative Literature major advisor and Career Service to identify internship opportunities relevant to their field of study and professional interests. To receive college credit, students sign up for a 2-credit tutorial with the major advisor, and provide weekly reports on their experience, in addition to meeting with the advisor on a regular basis during the semester. Requirements may vary depending on the type of internship.
  HONORS IN COMPARATIVE LITERATURE - Honors in Comparative Literature is awarded on the basis of grade point average in the major (3.5), and the quality of the senior thesis and its presentation at the Senior Roundtable.
  GRADUATE STUDIES IN COMPARATIVE LITERATURE - It is strongly recommended that the students who plan to pursue graduate work in Comparative Literature develop a reading knowledge in a second foreign language.
Download the "Comparative Literature Major Worksheet" here. If you wish more information, please contact us.

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