The aim of the program is to encourage students to study a varied and illustrative range of literary topics rather than the total development of a single literary tradition. True to the spirit of Brown's New Curriculum, a concentration in Comparative Literature affords great academic freedom. For example: advanced courses in any literature department at Brown count for concentration credit; although English is commonly one of the languages that students apply to their Comparative Literature studies, basically any language—ancient or modern—supported at Brown may form part of a Comparative Literature concentration program. In essence, concentrators study a generous range of literary works—from Western cultures, both ancient and modern, to Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic—and develop a focused critical understanding of how cultures differ from one another. Comparative Literature differs from other literature concentrations largely through its international focus and its broad-gauged view of art and culture in which the study of languages is combined with the analysis of literature and literary theory. All students take a course in literary theory and have the opportunity to complete a senior essay.

Please contact Professor Ourida Mostefai, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, with questions.

Student Goals

Students in this concentration will:

  • Gain fluency in at least one language other than English
  • Develop an understanding of poetry, drama, and narrative in more than one culture and in different historical periods
  • Become conversant in literary theory
  • Develop sophisticated reading and writing skills
  • Produce a body of critical papers


  • Comparative Literature with Three Languages
  • Comparative Literature with Two Languages
  • Literary Translation

Graduating Class

Class Year Total Students Capstones Completed Honors Graduates
2014 25    15 
2015 36    17 
2016 21    11 
2017 29   
2018 27  19  17 
2019 24   11

Alumni Pathways

Graduates with a degree in Comparative Literature have pursued careers as writers and editors, artists, physicians, curators, marketing executives and consultants, journalists, directors of film and television, university faculty, and legislators. Hear what recent alumni have to say about their concentration and their career trajectories on the Comparative Literature department's Career Forum.

What are Comparative Literature concentrators doing...


Director of Undergraduate Studies: Ourida Mostefai