The Program

Professor Jing Tsu holds a seminar in the department library

The Department of Comparative Literature at Yale is proud of a long tradition of excellence. For fifty years, it has been a leading graduate program for the study of literature beyond linguistic or national boundaries, for the theory, interpretation and criticism of literature, and for their interactions with adjacent fields including history, philosophy, film, the visual arts, psychology, and law.  The department encourages students to develop their skill at textual analysis while challenging them to reflect theoretically on the acts of writing and reading, as on the connections between literature and other realms of human experience. We pride ourselves on the historical, linguistic and methodological breadth of our faculty and students. Our Phd guidelines help develop that breadth, but they also allow students great flexibility in shaping their course of study and pursuing their individual intellectual interests.

Comparative Literature houses three formal Combined Doctoral programs with other departments and programs at Yale: with Classics, Renaissance Studies, and Film and Media Studies. In addition, our students work closely with professors in Yale’s other literature departments (English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, Germanic languages and literature, Italian, Slavic languages and literatures, East Asian languages and literatures, Near Eastern languages and civilizations, and African-American studies).

The Department of Comparative Literature and Yale as a larger whole provide a welcoming environment and social community for graduate study. Graduate students in the department organize the annual Baldwin-Dahl lecture which brings noted critics and thinkers to campus as well as an annual graduate student conference with a long and distinguished history of its own. Students and faculty share their work-in-progress in the ongoing Open Forum series and expand the intellectual reach of the departmental community by collaborating with a variety of centers, working groups and colloquia across campus.

Our graduates have enjoyed excellent success in securing academic positions in Comparative Literature, Arabic, Classics, East Asian, English, French, Italian, German, Romance Languages, Russian, Spanish, Film Studies, Humanities, and other fields. Since 2005, our students have found tenure-track positions at universities including Johns Hopkins, University of Chicago, NYU, Northwestern University, Washington University (St. Louis), Notre Dame, University of Rochester, University of Arizona, University of California (Berkeley), University of California (Santa Cruz), University of Massachusetts (Amherst), University of Minnesota, University of Oregon, Penn State, Purchase College (SUNY), Appalachian State University, Texas A&M, Sam Huston College, University of Mary Washington,  Amherst College, Claremont College, Dartmouth College, Davidson College, Scripps College, Vassar College, McGill University, and equivalent positions at University College (University of London), University of Paris VIII, Massaryk University (Brno), NYU Abu Dhabi, Bar-Ilan University (Israel), University of Koc (Istambul). Since 2010, our graduates have also held post-doctoral fellowships at Cambridge, Cornell, University of Chicago, Harvard, Stanford, and Yale.