Special Office Hours for Prospective Majors, Spring 2014:
Professor Ben Conisbee Baer, DUS
Monday, April 15: 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Wednesday, April 17: 1:00 to 4:30 p.m.
Monday, April 22: 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
If you are thinking about majoring in comparative literature, please know the following.
Foreign Language Prerequisites. To enter the department, students must be sufficiently knowledgeable in one language other than English to take an upper-level course in its literature in his or her junior year.
Plan to Learn to Read a Second Language by the Time You Graduate. Proficiency in only one non-English language is required for admission to the department. However, students who major in Comparative Literature are also expected to study at least one other non-English language and to be able to read in that second non-English language by the time they graduate. Such language study may take place before or during the years as departmental majors. Some students demonstrate their competency in that language by taking an upper-level course in that language. Other students gain this competency by taking three terms of language study at Princeton, or two terms and an intensive language course in the summer, or (especially if the language is no longer spoken or one you studied in high school but not college) an intensive language course in the summer. You can also demonstrate your competency by having passed in highschool the AP test in a language that is not your primary language for the major. Some take the foreign language test administered by the relevant department. Many majors (including early concentrators) apply for and receive funding from the department to study a language over the summer (either in the United States or abroad).
Introductory Courses. Students who wish to major in Comparative Literature are advised (though not required) to take Comparative Literature/ Humanistic Studies 205-206, COM 280 or Humanistic Studies 216-219 in their sophomore year or earlier.
Early Concentration: Qualified students may elect early concentration and enroll in the department at the beginning of the spring term of sophomore year. They may begin their departmental course of study as well as their independent work. Declaring early means that students can, but are not required, to write the first of their two JPs in the spring of their sophomore year, thus freeing up one of their junior semesters (of particular use if you plan to spend a junior term abroad). To declare an early concentration, make an appointment with the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Declaring an early concentration does not require any form, the information is relayed by email to the university by the Undergraduate Administrator.
Questions? Please contact the director of undergraduate studies. We welcome questions from high-school students interested in applying to Princeton and majoring in comp lit, from first year Princeton students, and from undeclared majors. If you would like to ask a current student about the major, please see our list of majors, especially those on our undergraduate committee.