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Comparative Literary Studies, Bachelor

  • Application Deadline
  • 48 months
University rank #24 (WUR) Evanston, IL, United States
The Comparative Literary Studies program of Northwestern University is an interdepartmental, interdisciplinary program for the study of literature across national and linguistic lines. Those who work in the field of comparative literature are committed to the proposition that language is not an indifferent medium of expression but an integral dimension of every expressive act. 
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The Comparative Literary Studies program of Northwestern University is drawing on faculty from the various literature departments as well as from other disciplines (such as art history, film studies, music, and philosophy), the CLS program reflects the belief that literary texts can best be understood within the context of diverse literary traditions and other cultural phenomena. 

Program highlights

CLS encourages students not only to read and interpret works of literature but also to reflect on the assumptions, methods, and goals that shape literary and other humanistic studies.

In contrast to literature departments in which students trace the development of one literature in a particular culture over a specific time period, CLS juxtaposes literatures of different cultures and epochs in a variety of ways. Comparative literature studies the themes, conventions, and movements shared by distinct literary traditions as well as the features that differentiate them. Though the field has traditionally dealt with the canonical texts of Western literature, Northwestern’s CLS program strongly encourages students to explore literatures outside the European and American canon (especially those of Africa and Asia) as well as expand the Western canon to include the literatures of excluded or marginalized groups.

CLS students also examine literary theories and critical approaches to literature. In considering texts ranging from the classics of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations to contemporary critical theory, students not only learn to understand specific literary works but also to raise questions about their relations to other forms of discourse (e.g., historical, scientific, and philosophical) and about the nature of literature itself. To this end, the CLS program emphasizes both the study of various types of specifically literary theory (such as structuralist, poststructuralist, psychoanalytic, sociopolitical, and New Historical) and the examination of the theoretical and methodological concerns of other disciplines (such as anthropology, history, philosophy, gender studies, and sociology).

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 48 months
  • Credits
    120 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Intro to World Literature: Oral Poetry from the Classical World to Hip Hop
  • Contemporary Japanese Literature
  • Gender and Politics
  • Introduction to Japanese Cinema: From the Silent Era to the Golden Age
  • What is Lyric Poetry?
  • Studies in World Literature: Transnational Francophone Literature

English Language Requirements

This programme may require students to demonstrate proficiency in English.

General Requirements

  • Common Application or Coalition Application*
  • Official secondary school transcript and school report
  • Counselor recommendation
  • At least one teacher recommendation
  • SAT or ACT scores†
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS scores‡ (ONLY required for international applicants whose first language is not English or whose schooling has not been in English)
  • Nonrefundable application fee of $75 or application fee waiver
  • Early Decision Agreement (ONLY Early Decision applicants)
  • Midyear transcript
  • Music audition (ONLY School of Music applicants)
  • Required for homeschooled applicants ONLY: 3 SAT subject tests 

Tuition Fee

  • International

    56232 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 56232 USD per year and a duration of 48 months.
  • National

    56232 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 56232 USD per year and a duration of 48 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Evanston

  • 1100 - 1500 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


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