Graduate Program

Our graduate program is recognized as one of the leading Comparative Literature programs in the country. The Department is a vibrant place for the research and study of literatures and cultures in an interdisciplinary framework, from transnational and cross‐cultural perspectives. Our faculty and graduate students develop new historical and theoretical frameworks, and rethink those we have inherited, opening new perspectives on social and cultural forms and relations.

Comparative Literature provides students with tools for engaging, analyzing, and interpreting texts; and for writing, editing, translating, and thinking across disciplinary and national boundaries. Our graduates take up various literary traditions, historical periods and genres, modalities, forms, and contexts, from, for example, Latin American concrete poetry, to discourses of political and race theory, to Yiddish experimental fiction. The Department offers rigorous training in numerous areas that highlight the expertise of our internationally recognized faculty, including Classics, East Asian Literatures and Arts, English, French, German, Italian, Hebrew Studies, Hispanophone Literatures, and Slavic Literatures and Cultures, as well as Critical Theory, Early Modern and Renaissance Studies, Film and Media, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Performance Studies, Comparative Poetry and Poetics, and Postcolonial Theory.

Graduate students in our program are able to pursue rigorous research in a variety of literary and cultural fields, undertake team‐based projects, participate in discussions about political, aesthetic, and social issues, and develop a nuanced cross‐cultural understanding of historical and social processes. Many graduate students present and publish scholarly writings in the most prestigious venues, as well as producing translations, literary writings, or works of theater. (Recent graduates have twice won the PEN Center's Translation Prize since 2016.) All our students work closely with leading scholars in their fields in small seminars that coordinate individual and collective work. Students also participate in the Designated Emphasis Programs on campus, including Critical Theory, New Media Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, Jewish Studies, Medieval Studies, and Renaissance and Early Modern Studies. Students have opportunities to design and team teach courses on topics of interest to them. Comparative Literature students form a well‐integrated community, and also have access to the resources of the entire Berkeley campus, including departments, programs, and faculty; in fact, our program requires that students take seminars in other departments for interdisciplinary training. Our department has one of the most successful placement records of any program in the U.S. or internationally. Our doctoral graduates have become prominent Comparative Literature and national literature faculty across the country and internationally.