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 - Spring 2020:

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:

  • Fields of Study Fair, Monday, February 10th from 5pm-7pm in Annenberg. Come meet with Comp Lit students, tutors, and faculty, and learn about life in Comparative Literature.
  • Love in Many Languages, Tuesday, February 19th 3:30-5pm. A Valentine’s Day Celebration featuring Sweet Treats and Love Poetry from around the world. Dana-Palmer 102, 16 Quincy St.
  • Senior Thesis Panel, Wednesday, April 8, 7-8:30pm: Presentation of thesis projects by Comp Lit seniors. Come hear about the kind of work students do in Comparative Literature.  Dessert will be provided. Barker Center, Thompson Room

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 31st, 2019. 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:

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. 

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 (Spring 2020 Office Hours: Wednesdays, 2:30-4pm) and you can sign up for your appointment on this page. You may also email Dr. Naddaff directly ( with any questions you might have.

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