Prospective Students

The undergraduate program in Comparative Literature at Harvard prepares students to play an active and creative role in today’s globalized world by exploring literature and culture across languages, and investigating the intersections and inter-connections among literatures, cultures, media, and disciplines.

Students in Comparative Literature design a course of study tailored to their particular interests, and work in languages as diverse as English and German, French and Hindi, Spanish and Arabic, Chinese and Latin.  Some students have fluency in their foreign language(s) of choice when they join the program, while others develop their linguistic fluency as they pursue their studies in the concentration. Comp Lit concentrators can connect their literary studies with broader interests in the Humanities, such as film, digital media, and music.  They can also incorporate their literary studies into their interests in other fields, such as law, medicine, and the environment. Many of our students bring a comparative disciplinary element into their program of studies (literature and gender studies; literature and philosophy; literature and government), while others pursue a joint concentration directly.

In short, the Comparative Literature Concentration provides an ideal home for students who wish to craft a comparative and interdisciplinary concentration that is embedded in the Humanities but has the potential to reach beyond.

Concentration Events for Prospective Students - Fall 2018:

There are several opportunities that are designed to introduce prospective sophomore and freshmen to what it is like to be a concentrator in our department. Students is encouraged to attend at least one event:

•    Friday, Oct. 12, 12-1:30 pm, Comp Lit Lunch for Current and Prospective Concentrators.  Feel free to drop in for even just a few minutes and talk informally with members of the department about the undergraduate Comp Lit program. Dana-Palmer House Seminar Room.

  • Thursday, Oct. 18, 4-5pm: Drop-in Office Hours with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Comp Lit., Dr. Sandra Naddaff. Dana-Palmer House, Room #209.
  • Monday, Oct. 22, 6-6:45pm. Join current Concentrators for Pizza to get the inside scoop on the department. Dana-Palmer House Seminar Room.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 24, 11am-12:30pm: Drop-in Office Hours with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Comp Lit, Dr. Sandra Naddaff. Another chance to ask your questions about life in the Comp Lit Concentration. Dana-Palmer House, Room #209.
  • Sunday, Oct. 28, 7-10pm: US Premier of Holy Lands followed by Discussion with Director and Cast, including Actress Rosanna Arquette. Join us for this exclusive event! Free and open to all. Boylston Hall, Fong Auditorium.

Concentration Application Process:

Our Concentration Admission season occurs in the fall for Harvard students in their sophomore year. This year, applications to Comparative Literature were due on October 25th, 2018. If you wish to inquire about the possibility of joining our concentration after our deadline, please contact our Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Sandra Naddaff, at your earliest convenience.

Please review the Harvard College Handbook for Students for a description of the Comparative Literature concentration and its requirements.

Our application guidelines and form are available on our How to Apply page.

How to find our more about Comp Lit:

Feel free to contact one of our Peer Advisors for more information on what it's like to concentrate in Comparative Literature.

Students who have concentrated in Comparative Literature have gone on to careers in a variety of fields:  academics, journalism, film, law, medicine, and business, among others. Please see our Alumni List for specific examples. Here are also some testimonies about our concentration from some of our alumni: Alumni Voices.

We welcome your questions throughout the year:

If you are interested in concentrating in Comparative Literature, our Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Sandra Naddaff, will be happy to answer any of your questions throughout the year. She holds office hours by appointment (Fall 2018 Office Hours: Thursdays, 3-4:30 pm). Please call (617-495-4186) or email our Program Coordinator ( if you wish to sign up for an appointment. You may also email Dr. Naddaff directly ( with any questions you might have.

comp lit without borders