Comparative Literature at UC Davis

Comparative Literature

Major and minor

Through the study of writings from authors of different cultures, backgrounds and periods of history, we learn to appreciate the commonalities all humans share as well as the differences that give rise to our diversity. From Aesop's fables and Lady Murasaki's early Japanese novels to the contemporary work of such writers as Morrison and Garcia Marquez, comparative literature majors explore a broad range of genres, styles and themes. The comparative literature major at UCD combines the benefits of a small program with the opportunities available in a large, intellectually diverse research university.

Real World Outcomes

The broad academic foundation of a major in comparative literature provides excellent preparation for graduate school and a variety of careers. Many graduates have put their well-honed writing skills to work in the competitive fields of journalism, publishing and translation. Others have gone on to succeed in Web design, law, business and other fields where their analytical and communication skills allow them to shine.


After an initial course sequence designed to introduce you to the Western literary tradition and to the major works of contemporary world literature, you will begin combining courses in one or more non-English literature (such as French, German or Japanese) with your work in comparative literature, theory and criticism. Your coursework will sharpen your analytical and writing skills as you focus on the national literatures of your choice. You may also specialize in a particular genre (such as poetry or drama), historical period (such as the Renaissance or the modern era), or movement (such as Romanticism or Naturalism). To complete your graduation requirement, you may work directly with a faculty member to write a senior thesis.