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What is Comp Lit?



Students who enter UMass already proficient in a language other than English can jump into upper-level courses in literature, film, and culture in these languages; however, with guidance from their advisors, it is possible for students who are just begininng a new language to complete the Comp Lit major. Our students work in a wide variety of languages, including Hebrew, Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Russian, Polish, Hungarian, Arabic, Japanese, and Chinese. Our undergraduate curriculum also has strengths in film and other media--including digital technologies and graphic novels--and in translation; many of our majors also complete certificates in Film Studies and Translation.

Our 100 and 200 level courses are open to everyone. Courses at the 300-500 levels are more specialized: Comparative Literature and Foreign Language majors have the opportunity to use the languages they are studying by reading the original texts. Comparative Literature majors must take 6 Comparative Literature courses, along with upper-level courses in at least two other literature departments, with the guidance of their advisor. See the specific requirements for the Major, Minor, and Honors.


Graduate students pursuing the PhD, MA, or MA in Translation find abundant resources in Comparative Literature at UMass Amherst, as well as a good deal of freedom, since our approaches to the discipline continue to grow with evolving scholarship. Be sure to read about making progress to the degree as well as the specific requirements for each degree.

Translation & Interpreting Studies

The Master of Arts in Translation and Interpreting Studies is a separate track of the M.A. in Comparative Literature. Students in the program will acquire expertise in practical techniques and strategies of translation as well as a rigorous understanding of the theoretical and cultural stakes of the field. See specific requirements here.