Undergraduate Programs in

Comparative Literature

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.

More about the BA 

More about the Minor

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, 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 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.

More on alumni outcomes


In a survey of recent graduates:


  • 92% responded that they were employed or pursuing an advanced degree within one year of graduation

  • 89% of students who reported employment responded that they had landed their position within six months of graduation

  • $49K is the annual mean reported salary for 2020-2021 graduates in this area of study 


Our alumni may be found working as:

  • Educators

  • Government analysts

  • Journalists

  • Language translators and interpreters

  • Lawyers

  • Research assistants

  • Publishing executives

Some graduates find employment overseas working for American-based companies.

Graduate School

Many of our graduates have pursued advanced studies in classics, Japanese, education, law, and medicine at distinguished institutions like:

  • Ball State University

  • College of William & Mary

  • Columbia University

  • Cornell University

  • East China Normal University

  • Northeastern University

  • Pace University

  • University of Alabama

  • University of Iowa

  • University of Kent, Canterbury

  • University Of Vermont

  • University of Washington

  • Wayne State University

  • Yeshiva University

Department Chair

Professor John Krapp
Associate Professor of Comparative Literature
Room 312C Calkins Hall
Phone: 516-463-5843

Department of Comparative Literature, Languages, and Linguistics

Room 322 Calkins Hall
Phone: 516-463-5434
Fax: 516-463-7082
Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.