University Park, College of the Liberal Arts (CMLIT)
PROFESSOR ROBERT R. EDWARDS, Head
Designed for students who want to study literature with an interdisciplinary and global perspective, the major in Comparative Literature crosses the boundaries of geography, time, nationalities, languages, and cultures. The world of literature taught draws upon readings from the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and from many historical periods. The range includes recognized great books along with less-known works, timeless myths and up-to-date graphic novels and video games, gender studies, colonial and postcolonial literatures, indigenous literatures, testimonies, legends, banned books, literatures of the occult, detective fictions, virtual worlds, and cultural theory, and more. Students engage with different languages and cultures, develop the critical skills for literary and cultural analysis, and relate literature to other media, including film and digital media. The major also encourages students to explore the relationship between literature and ethics through course offerings focused on transnational identities, human rights, cultures of globalization, and the problem of violence. A senior seminar clarifies the mysteries of literary theory and provides opportunities for individual projects.
Students majoring in Comparative Literature take courses in the Department of Comparative Literature and in other literature departments. They also develop competence in a foreign language. Study abroad is encouraged: students may count up to 18 Education Abroad credits toward the major. The department endeavors to provide all Comparative Literature majors with opportunities for an individualized "engaged scholarship" experience, such as an undergraduate research project, an opportunity to assist faculty in research or teaching, an internship, an experience studying or working abroad, etc.
Graduates of the Department of Comparative Literature have undertaken careers in teaching, completed advanced degrees in literature, librarianship, law, and similar fields, entered the Peace Corps or other types of government service, and pursued careers in writing and communications.
The department offers a minor in World Literature and a major/minor in Global and International Studies, as well as the major in Comparative Literature and an innovative integrated undergraduate-graduate degree through which students obtain both a B.A. and an M.A. in Comparative Literature.
For the B.A. degree in Comparative Literature, a minimum of 129 credits is required.
Per Senate Policy 83-80.5, the college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. For more information, check the Recommended Academic Plan for your intended program.
Scheduling Recommendation by Semester Standing given like (Sem: 1-2)
GENERAL EDUCATION: 45 credits
( Included in the REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)
(See description of General Education in this bulletin.)
(Included in ELECTIVES or GENERAL EDUCATION course selection)
UNITED STATES CULTURES AND INTERNATIONAL CULTURES:
(Included in ELECTIVES, GENERAL EDUCATION course selection, or REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)
WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM:
(Included in REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)
ELECTIVES: 27 credits
BACHELOR OF ARTS DEGREE REQUIREMENTS: 24 credits
(3 of these 24 credits are included in the REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR, GENERAL EDUCATION, or ELECTIVES and 0-12 credits are included in ELECTIVES if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.)
(See description of Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements in this bulletin.)
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR: 36 credits
PRESCRIBED COURSES (9 credits) 
CMLIT 010 GH;IL(3), CMLIT 100 GH;IL(3) (Sem: 1-4)
CMLIT 400 US;IL(3) (Sem: 5-8)
SUPPORTING COURSES AND RELATED AREAS (27 credits)
(Students must choose 27 credits from sections A, B, and C., including at least 15 credits at the 400 level.)
a. Concentration, 6-18 credits. Students choose one of the following concentrations (Sem: 1-8): (1) Language Concentration: students select 6-18 credits in the study of a single world language and/or literature beyond the 12th credit level; see department list. (2) Student-designed Thematic Concentration: students select 6-18 credits of CMLIT courses, in consultation with their advisor, organized around a theme they devise, subject to their advisor's approval of a 1-page academic plan in which they explain their theme and the courses that fit into that theme.
b. Literatures: select at least 6-18 credits in courses on literature. Up to 12 of these credits can be taken through departments other than Comparative Literature. Up to 18 credits may be taken as courses offered through an Education Abroad program with departmental approval. (Sem: 1-8)
c. 3 credits in Comparative Literature at the 400 level. (Sem: 4-8)
The Department of Comparative Literature offers an integrated B.A./M.A. program that is designed to allow academically superior baccalaureate students to obtain both the B.A. and the M.A. degrees in Comparative Literature within five years of study. The first two years of undergraduate coursework include the University General Education and Liberal Arts requirements in addition to language and literature study in the major. In the third year, students are expected to define areas of interest in two primary literatures in different languages. In addition, students in the B.A./M.A. program should begin to undertake work in a second foreign language. The fourth year includes graduate-level work in methodology and the student's selection of primary literatures which replaces comparable 400-level senior year courses. The fifth and final year of the program typically consists of graduate work in Comparative Literature courses as well as the chosen literatures. The program culminates with an M.A. paper.
By encouraging greater depth and focus in the course of study beginning in the third undergraduate year, this program will help students more clearly define their area of interest and expertise in the otherwise vast field of international literatures. As a result, long-range academic planning for exceptional students pursuing doctoral degrees after leaving Penn State, or other professional goals, will be greatly enhanced. The student may also be more competitive in applying for admission to Ph.D. programs as well as for institutional and national grant monies and scholarships.
The number of openings in the integrated B.A./M.A. program is limited. Admission will be selective based on specific criteria and the unqualified recommendation of faculty. Applicants to the integrated program:
A typical sequence of coursework for the integrated program would appear as follows:
|Year One:||6 credits:||
|Year Two:||6 credits:||Foreign Language (beyond the 12-credit level)|
|6 credits:||Courses in Literature|
|Year Three:||9 credits:||400-level courses in Literature, including CMLIT 400|
|(variable credits)||Work in foreign language (credits do not count towards the major, but reading proficiency is required for the M.A. degree)|
|Year Four:||3 credits:||CMLIT 501, 502 and/or 503|
|6 credits:||Comparative Literature courses|
500-level courses in Literatures (at least 3 credits in non-Anglophone literature)
|Year Five||3 credits:||CMLIT 501, 502, and/or 503|
|9-12 credits||500-level courses in Literatures (at least 3 credits in non-Anglophone literature)|
|6 credits||500-level Comparative Literature Courses M.A. paper|
Last Revised by the Department: Spring Semester 2017(CMLIT); Spring Semester 2012 (Integrated B.A./M.A.)
Blue Sheet Item #: 45-04-071 (CMLIT); 40-06-143 (Integrated B.A./M.A.)
Review Date: 1/10/2017