Undergraduate programs in
Comparative Literature is a major for students who love literature and have an aptitude for languages. By studying comparative literature, you'll come to understand the ways that storytelling and literary themes vary and evolve across cultures, time, and genres. You'll learn why the classics – The Iliad, The Odyssey, Oedipus the King, works by Shakespeare, Milton, and Cervantes, to name a few – have transcended time and place, continue to speak to and inspire readers, and remain relevant to your own life today.
Why study Comparative Literature?
This major is a path to a variety of careers, including journalism, translation positions, government roles, and art. The foreign language requirement gives students a competitive edge in the workforce, allowing alumni to deal with an international clientele and represent employers abroad.
Hofstra's varied slate of cultural offerings and our proximity to New York City means you'll have ample opportunities to enrich your studies with plays, lectures, and other events and programs.
Degrees & Programs
Students pursuing a degree in Comparative Literature are required to complete coursework in at least two foreign languages. In the first foreign language, students are expected to achieve full professional proficiency. In the second foreign language, they take at least two courses beyond level 2, reaching limited professional proficiency.
In addition to studying languages, students take courses in the literature and cultures of Europe, ancient Rome, Greece, China, and Japan. The literature courses are taught in translation, though students with linguistic fluency are encouraged to read and study works in their original language.
Because comparative literature is an interdisciplinary course of study, students take at least two courses in another discipline, including anthropology, art history, drama, history, music, philosophy, and sociology.
In the Classroom
Learn from the Experts
Comparative Literature faculty are internationally recognized scholars who give students personalized attention in small classes. The department chair, John Krapp, PhD, was a 2020 Teacher of the Year at Hofstra, nominated by graduating seniors. Professor Tammy Gales (2018) and Professor Robert Leonard (2008) are also recipients of this award. Professor Steven Smith, PhD, was honored with the Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit for his 2019 book, Greek Epigram and Byzantine Culture: Gender, Desire, and Denial in the Age of Justinian. Professors Barbara Lekatsas and Patricia Welch direct Hofstra’s study abroad programs in Athens and Japan, respectively.
By the time they graduate from the program, Hofstra students are effective writers and researchers, and skilled presenters. They have fine-tuned their grammatical and syntactical precision and are well-versed in literary history, theory, and criticism; the process and theory of translation; and textual analysis. They are ready to move into the competitive world of work or an advanced studies program.
In a survey of recent graduates:
93% responded that they were employed or pursuing an advanced degree within one year of graduation
82% of students who reported employment responded that they had landed their position within three months of graduation
$38K is the annual mean reported salary for 2018-2019 graduates in this area of study
Our alumni may be found working as:
Language translators and interpreters
Some graduates find employment overseas working for American-based companies.
Many of our graduates have pursued advanced studies in classics, Japanese, education, law, and medicine at distinguished institutions like:
College of William & Mary
East China Normal University
University of Alabama
University of Iowa
University of Kent, Canterbury
University Of Vermont
University of Washington
Wayne State University
Department of Comparative Literature, Languages, and Linguistics
Room 322 Calkins Hall
Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.