Comparative Literature Career Opportunities

The Comparative Literature major provides you with an excellent background for any career or post-graduate course of study requiring logical and persuasive argument; clear and articulate writing; thoughtful analysis of written, oral, and visual materials; and critical thinking skills. Students of comparative literature also gain experience in both the theoretical and practical issues of cross-cultural work, gaining a deeper understanding of intercultural and transnational relations that is increasingly vital to employers. Comparative Literature majors learn to approach materials from an interdisciplinary perspective, giving them a diverse range of critical tools and techniques with which to analyze and solve problems. Students who pursue the Option A major gain in addition strong language skills in at least one foreign language, developing the ability to read, write, and engage in critical analysis in a language other than English while delving into a deeper and more extended study of another culture and literature. These abilities are highly appealing to many employers as well as graduate and professional schools.

Comparative Literature majors find jobs in journalism, publishing, editing, translation, and other related fields that make use of their writing and analytical skills and their knowledge of literature and film. They teach at the primary and secondary levels, and they are well-prepared to offer the multicultural or world literature and interdisciplinary humanities courses that are increasingly offered at the secondary level, particularly if they have coupled their work in the major with education courses. The interpretive, expressive, and analytical skills of Comparative Literature majors prepare them for a wide range of positions in business, governmental agencies, or non-profit organizations; the comparative cultural perspectives of Comparative Literature students and the language skills of Option A majors make them well-suited for international business, foreign service, or work within the diplomatic corps.

The major in Comparative Literature also prepares students for further study in a broad range of fields, from library and information science to law school, as well as a number of fields within the humanities and social sciences. Of course, a Comparative Literature major prepares students to continue graduate study in literature, film, and culture. Comparative Literature majors have a strong background for graduate work in English and in film studies, and Option A majors are well-positioned to continue graduate study in Comparative Literature or in a national language or literature other than English.

Recent UWM graduates with Comparative Literature degrees have pursued careers as instructors and researchers at both the university and secondary school levels, librarians and information specialists, translators, press editors, film producers, graphic novelists, business consultants, public relations officers, attorneys, social workers, musicians, and even as a respiration therapist. As you can see, the Comparative Literature major not only allows you to read great works of literature and to study film, art, and culture from around the world, but it offers a solid preparation for a wide variety of professional and academic pursuits after graduation!