English and Comparative Literature Major, B.A.

Department of English and Comparative Literature

Visit Program Website

Greenlaw Hall, CB# 3520

(919) 962-5481

Mary Floyd-Wilson, Chair

Hilary Lithgow, ECL Undergraduate Advisor

lithgow@email.unc.edu

Martin L. Johnson, Director of Undergraduate Studies

mlj@email.unc.edu

English and Comparative Literature majors study literature, film, writing, and media of broad geographic and cultural provenance, so students have opportunities to practice comparative thinking. Moreover, majors write and research about texts, film, and media inflected with markedly different generic and linguistic features, and this variety hones students' research and writing skills. English and Comparative Literature majors can follow a general course of study or choose to concentrate in one of seven different areas:

  • British and American Literature
  • Comparative and World Literatures
  • Creative Writing
  • Film Studies
  • Science, Medicine and Literature
  • Social Justice and Literature
  • Writing, Editing, and Digital Publishing

See the Requirements page for details on the major concentrations.

Department Programs

Majors

Minors

Graduate Programs

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the English and Comparative Literature program, students should be able to:

  • Produce clear and persuasive analytical and/or creative writing (that demonstrates the qualities of literature)
  • Research productively and effectively
  • Read critically
  • Compare and analyze texts and contexts
  • Explain the significance and value of historical contexts 

Particularly at this moment in American culture and history, we believe these skills are essential, both in the workplace and in the public sphere more broadly. The major's core curriculum ensures that students gain historical breadth in their discipline (in the form of surveys) as well as depth (in courses that focus on a single genre, topic, or author and thus allow for a sustained emphasis on close analysis). Individual concentrations also provide learning outcomes specific to their area of study.

Requirements

In addition to the program requirements, students must

  • earn a minimum final cumulative GPA of 2.000
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major core requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000 in the major core requirements. Some programs may require higher standards for major or specific courses.

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Core Curriculum

Core Requirements 1
Survey I (select one):3
British Literature, Medieval to 18th Century H
History of Writing: From Pen to Pixel
Great Books I: Epic and Lyric Traditions
Great Books I: Romancing the World H
Great Books I: Visual Arts and Literature from Antiquity to 1750 H
Great Books I: Politics and Literature from Antiquity to 1750
Great Books I: Science and Literature from Antiquity to 1750
Survey II (select one):3
Nineteenth-Century American Literature
Twentieth-Century American Literature
Arguing on the Internet: Rhetoric in the Age of Social Media
British Literature, 19th and Early 20th Century H
Introduction to American Literature H
Contemporary Literature
Literature and Cultural Diversity H
Great Books II H
Great Books II: Savage, Native, Stranger, Other
Great Books II: Performance and Cultural Identity in the African Diaspora
Great Books II: Imaging the Americas from the Late 18th Century to the Present
Great Books II: Travel and Identity H
Visual Culture II
Depth Course (select one):3
Chaucer (British) H
Shakespeare (British) H
Milton (British) H
Studies in Jane Austen (British)
Studies in Virginia Woolf (British)
Faulkner (American)
Studies in African American Authors (American)
Global Authors: Jane Austen (British) H
Global Authors: Cervantes
Global Authors: The Worlds of Shakespeare (British)
Concentration (seven courses), see requirements below 221
Additional Requirements
At least six (6) courses (out of 10) must be at or above the 200 level. 3
Of these six (6), at least two (2) courses (out of 10) must be at the 300-level (Writing Intensive) in ENGL or CMPL. 3
Of these six (6), at least one (1) course (out of 10) must be at the 400-level (Research Intensive) in ENGL or CMPL. 3
Total Hours30
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Concentration in British and American Literature

In addition to the core curriculum (three courses) and additional requirements described above, students must complete the following requirements.

Pre-1800 course (select one)3
History of the English Language
Chaucer H
Survey of Medieval English Literature, excluding Chaucer H
Shakespeare H
Renaissance Drama H
Literature of the Earlier Renaissance H
Literature of the Later Renaissance H
Milton H
Contemporary Approaches to 18th-Century Literature and Culture H
Studies in Jane Austen
18th-Century Fiction H
18th-Century Drama H
Shakespeare and His Contemporaries H
Renaissance Literature and Its Intellectual Contexts
Perspectives on the Renaissance
18th-Century Literature H
Renaissance Literature--Contemporary Issues
Survey of Old and Middle English Literature
Introduction to Old English Language and Literature
Arthurian Romance
Shakespeare and His Contemporaries
War in Shakespeare's Plays
Pre-1900 American literature course (select one)3
Nineteenth-Century American Literature
American Literature, Before 1900 H
African American Literature to 1930 H
American Literature before 1860--Contemporary Issues H
American Literature, 1860-1900--Contemporary Issues H
Multi-Ethnic and Diversity course (select one) 3
Popular Culture in Modern Southeast Asia
Horror and the Global Gothic: Film, Literature, Theory
Literature and Cultural Diversity H
First-Year Honors: Women's Lives
Digital Literature
Introduction to Gay and Lesbian Culture and Literature
The Visual and Graphic Narrative
Introduction to Latina/o Studies H
Caribbean Literature
Intersectionality: Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Social Justice
Literature and Gender H
Healing in Ethnography and Literature
Literature and Race, Literature and Ethnicity H
Growing Up Latina/o
Introduction to Disability Studies
Studies in Asian American Literature
Mixed-Race America: Race in Contemporary American Literature and Culture
Studies in African American Authors
Jewish American Literature and Culture of the 20th Century
Latina Feminisms
Contemporary Asian American Literature and Theory
Asian American Women's Writing
Feminist Literary Theory H
African American Literature to 1930 H
African American Literature, 1930-1970 H
African American Literature, 1970 to the Present H
Race, Health, and Narrative H
The Place of Asian Americans in Southern Literature H
Introduction to the Celtic Cultures
Literature and Media H
Literature and Law
Gender, Sexuality, and the South Asian Diaspora
Canadian Literature
Educating Latinas/os: Preparing SLI Mentors
African American Literature--Contemporary Issues H
Southern Literature--Contemporary Issues
Queer Latina/o Literature, Performance, and Visual Art
Queer Latina/o Photography and Literature
Being and Race in African American Literature
Literature of the Americas
Select four (4) additional courses from ENGL and/or CMPL 112
Total Hours21
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Concentration in Science, Medicine, and Literature

In addition to the core curriculum (three courses) and additional requirements described above, students must complete the following requirements.

Select four (4) electives from the lists below: 112
Courses in the department:
Literature and Medicine H
Healing in Ethnography and Literature
Science and Literature H
Medicine, Literature, and Culture H
Introduction to Disability Studies
Professional Writing and Editing
Race, Health, and Narrative H
Practicum in Health Humanities
Narrative, Literature, and Medicine: Advanced Interdisciplinary Seminar
Courses outside the department (no more than two): 1
Cultures of Health and Healing in Africa
Comparative Healing Systems
Living Medicine
Global Health
Health and Gender after Socialism
Cultures and Politics of Reproduction
Medicine, Politics, and Justice
Medicine and Anthropology
Anthropology of the Body and the Subject
The Anthropology of Disability
Health and Medical Geography
An Introduction to the History of Medicine H
Topics in Medicine and the Humanities (must be taken for 3 credits)
Environmental and Science Journalism H
Health Policy in the United States
Global Health Policy
Health and Human Rights
Body and Suffering in Christian Mysticism
Sociology of Mental Health and Illness
Aging
Select three (3) additional courses from ENGL and/or CMPL 29
Total Hours21
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Concentration in Social Justice and Literature

In addition to the core curriculum (three courses) and additional requirements described above, students must complete the following requirements.

Select four (4) courses from the lists below: 112
Courses in the department:
Race and Ethnicity in Hollywood Productions and Beyond
Iranian Prison Literature
India through Western Eyes
Film and Politics
German Culture and the Jewish Question
Literary Diasporas of the Middle East
Postcolonial Literature of the Middle East
Literature and Cultural Diversity H
Introduction to Gay and Lesbian Culture and Literature
Postcolonial Literature H
Introduction to Latina/o Studies H
Caribbean Literature
Intersectionality: Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Social Justice
Literature and Gender H
Literature and Race, Literature and Ethnicity H
Growing Up Latina/o
Introduction to Disability Studies
Studies in Asian American Literature
Mixed-Race America: Race in Contemporary American Literature and Culture
Studies in African American Authors
Jewish American Literature and Culture of the 20th Century
Latina Feminisms
Contemporary Asian American Literature and Theory
Asian American Women's Writing
Feminist Literary Theory H
African American Literature to 1930 H
African American Literature, 1930-1970 H
African American Literature, 1970 to the Present H
Race, Health, and Narrative H
The Place of Asian Americans in Southern Literature H
Literature and Law
Gender, Sexuality, and the South Asian Diaspora
Rhetoric and Social Justice H
African American Literature--Contemporary Issues H
Critical Security Studies
War in 20th-Century Literature H
Queer Latina/o Literature, Performance, and Visual Art
Queer Latina/o Photography and Literature
Literature of the Americas
Being and Race in African American Literature
Courses outside the department (no more than two): 1
The Lived Experience of Inequality and Public Policy
Select three (3) additional courses in ENGL and/or CMPL 29
Total Hours21
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Concentration in Writing, Editing, and Digital Publishing

In addition to the core curriculum (three courses) and additional requirements described above, students must complete the following requirements.

Select one (1) course from the following list: 13
Professional Writing and Editing
Professional Writing in Health and Medicine (Interdisciplinary)
Professional Writing in the Arts
Professional Communication for Social Movements
Scientific and Technical Communication
Advanced Business Communication
Advanced Legal Communication
Multimedia Composition H
Select four (4) courses from the following lists: 212
Courses in the department (as many as four):
Approaches to Comparative Literature H
Introduction to Literary Theory
History of the English Language
Arguing on the Internet: Rhetoric in the Age of Social Media
Picture This: Principles of Visual Rhetoric
Writing about Literature
Introduction to Fiction Writing
Introduction to Poetry Writing
First-Year Honors: Introduction to Fiction Writing
First-Year Honors: Introduction to Poetry Writing
The Publishing Industry: Editing, Design, and Production
Digital Literature
Introduction to Creative Nonfiction
Digital Composition
Introductory Seminar in Literary Studies
Intermediate Fiction Writing
Intermediate Poetry Writing
Reading and Writing Creative Nonfiction
Grammar of Current English
English in the U.S.A. H
Life Writing H
Professional Writing and Editing
Professional Writing in Health and Medicine (Interdisciplinary)
Professional Writing in the Arts
Professional Communication for Social Movements
Scientific and Technical Communication
Advanced Business Communication
Advanced Legal Communication
Playwriting
Studies in Fiction and Poetry: Stylistics
Gram-O-Rama: Grammar in Performance
Theatrical Writing for the Puppet Stage
Writing and Social Networks
Multimedia Composition H
Creating the Video Essay
Podcasting
Professional Writing Portfolio Development and Publication
Advanced Composition for Teachers
Investigations in Academic Writing and Writing Centers
Rhetoric and Social Justice H
Advanced Fiction Writing
Advanced Poetry Writing
Collaboration: Composers and Lyricists
Lyrics and Lyricists: A Collaborative Exploration of the Processes of Popular-Song Lyric Writing
Digital Humanities History and Methods
Metadata, Mark-up, and Mapping: Understanding the Rhetoric of Digital Humanities
Everyday Stories: Personal Narrative and Legend
Digital Literature
Teaching Online
Digital Editing and Curation
Courses outside the department (no more than two):
Documenting Communities H
Management and Corporate Communication
Public Speaking
Practices of Cultural Studies
Visual Culture
Writing for the Screen and Stage
Environmental Advocacy
Introduction to Gender and Communication H
Playwriting I
Introduction to Oral History
Writing and Reporting
Senior Seminar: Principles of Feminist Inquiry H
Select two (2) additional courses in ENGL and/or CMPL 36
Total Hours21
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Concentration in Creative Writing

In addition to the core curriculum (three courses) described above, students must complete the following requirements. No concentration courses may be taken online.

Select five (5) courses from one of the following options:15
Combination of Genres 1
Any course from any track below and/or from the following list of courses:
Studies in Fiction and Poetry: Stylistics
From Manuscript to Press: Writer as Publisher
Creative Writing: Special Topics
Introduction to Writing for Film and Television
Intermediate Screenwriting
Feature Writing
Fiction Track
Introduction to Fiction Writing
First-Year Honors: Introduction to Fiction Writing
Studies in Fiction and Poetry: Stylistics (with approval based on topic)
Intermediate Fiction Writing
Advanced Fiction Writing
Creative Writing Senior Honors Thesis, Part I
and Creative Writing Senior Honors Thesis, Part II
Poetry Track
Introduction to Poetry Writing
First-Year Honors: Introduction to Poetry Writing
Studies in Fiction and Poetry: Stylistics (with approval based on topic)
Intermediate Poetry Writing
Advanced Poetry Writing
Creative Writing Senior Honors Thesis, Part I
and Creative Writing Senior Honors Thesis, Part II
Musical/Musical Theater Writing Track 1
Playwriting
Gram-O-Rama: Grammar in Performance
Theatrical Writing for the Puppet Stage
Collaboration: Composers and Lyricists
Lyrics and Lyricists: A Collaborative Exploration of the Processes of Popular-Song Lyric Writing
Creative Writing: Special Topics (with approval based on topic)
Introduction to Composition
Inside the Song: Analysis of Songcraft
Playwriting I
Corner of the Sky": The American Musical
Creative Nonfiction Writing Track
Introduction to Creative Nonfiction
Reading and Writing Creative Nonfiction
Life Writing
Advanced Creative Nonfiction
Creative Writing Senior Honors Thesis, Part I
Creative Writing Senior Honors Thesis, Part II
Select two (2) additional courses in ENGL and/or CMPL 26
Total Hours21

Concentration in Comparative and World Literatures

In addition to the core curriculum (three courses) and additional requirements described above, students must complete the following requirements.

It is recommended to choose a CMPL course from the Survey I list in the core curriculum.
CMPL 250Approaches to Comparative Literature H3
or CMPL 251 Introduction to Literary Theory
CMPL 495Advanced Seminar3
Select one (1) to three (3) international literature courses taught in any foreign language department (200-level or higher) 1,23-9
Select two (2) to four (4) CMPL or ENGL courses numbered 120 and above. No more than two (2) from ENGL.6-12
Total Hours21
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Concentration in Film Studies

The film studies concentration focuses on the history, theory, analysis, and politics of cinema in a global context. Students become conversant with the evolution of film genres, styles, and traditions, while exploring relationships between film and other artistic forms, including literature, painting, photography, television, and digital video. This concentration enables students to gain skills of audiovisual literacy that are necessary for navigating the many screens of our modern world.

Students pursuing the film studies concentration do not follow the core requirements described above. Instead, students must complete the following requirements (10 courses):

Core Requirements
Survey I course (select one):3
History of Global Cinema
Survey II course (select one):3
Visual Culture II
Critical Theory: Fear, Love, Laughter, and Loss - Film Genres and Spectatorship
Global Authors: The Middle Ages in World Cinema
The Feast in Film, Fiction, and Philosophy H
Contemporary German and Austrian Cinema
Queer Cinema
National and Transnational Cinemas
Introduction to Media Studies
American Cinema of the 1970s: New Hollywood and Beyond
Film Criticism
Topics In Film History H
Literature and Cinema
Topics in Contemporary Film and Media H
Depth course (select one):3
The Cinematic City
Global Authors: The Worlds of Shakespeare
Horror and the Global Gothic: Film, Literature, Theory
Film and Politics
Women in German Cinema
Film Genres
Cowboys, Samurai, and Rebels in Film and Fiction H
Film, Photography, and the Digital Image
Cinema and Surrealism
The Essay Film: Adventures in Modern Cinema since 1945
Film Performance and Stardom
Major Film Directors
Documentary Film H
Research Methods in Film Studies
Topics in Contemporary Film and Media H
Methods/Critical Approach course (select one): 3
Introduction to Film Theory
Film Theory
Foundational course (select one):3
Film Analysis H
Select two (2) additional ENGL and/or CMPL courses 16
Film elective courses (select three):9
The African American in Motion Pictures: 1900 to the Present
American Cinema and American Culture
Native Americans in Film
Women and Detective Fiction: From Miss Violet Strange to Veronica Mars
LGTBQ Film and Fiction from 1950 to the Present
Seeing the USA: The Film Director as Public Intellectual
Film, Nation, and Identity in the Arab World
Iranian Post-1979 Cinema
Bollywood Cinema
Israeli Cinema: Gender, Nation, and Ethnicity H
Nation, Film, and Novel in Modern India
Beyond Hostilities: Israeli-Palestinian Exchanges and Partnerships in Film, Literature, and Music
The Cinemas of the Middle East and North Africa
Cowboys, Samurai, and Rebels in Film and Fiction H
Introduction to Modern Chinese Culture through Cinema
History as Fiction or Fiction as History? Early Chinese History in Film and Literature
The City in Modern Chinese Literature and Film
Engaging Film and Media
Race and Ethnicity in Hollywood Productions and Beyond
The Cinematic City
Global Authors: Jane Austen H
Global Authors: Cervantes
Global Authors: The Worlds of Shakespeare
Global Authors: The Middle Ages in World Cinema
Horror and the Global Gothic: Film, Literature, Theory
The Feast in Film, Fiction, and Philosophy H
Film and Politics
Weimar Cinema
Contemporary German and Austrian Cinema
Women in German Cinema
Film Genres
Holocaust Cinema in Eastern Europe
Russian Literature in World Cinema
New Wave Cinema: Its Sources and Its Legacies
Film and Nature
Film, Photography, and the Digital Image
The Middle Ages
Cinema and Surrealism
The Essay Film: Adventures in Modern Cinema since 1945
The Middle Ages
Introduction to Media Production
Writing for the Screen and Stage
Audio/Video/Film Production and Writing
Introduction to Writing for Film and Television
Writing the Short Film
Film Story Analysis
Visual Storytelling for Screenwriters
Gender and Film
Critical Theory
History of American Screenwriting
Advanced Audio Production
Aesthetic and Technical Considerations in Making Short Videos
Documentary Production
Experimental Video
Motion Graphics, Special Effects, and Compositing
Contemporary Film Theory
History of the Moving Image: Pasts, Presents, Futures
Moving-Image Avant-Gardes and Experimentalism
Film Performance and Stardom
National and Transnational Cinemas
Crafting the Dramatic Film: Theory Meets Practice
Video Games and Narrative Cinema
American Cinema of the 1970s: New Hollywood and Beyond
Creating the Video Essay
Film Criticism
Topics In Film History H
Literature and Media H
Cinema and the Museum
Documentary Film H
Research Methods in Film Studies
Topics in Contemporary Film and Media H
French New Wave Cinema
History of French Cinema I: 1895-1950
History of French Cinema II: 1950 to the Present
African Francophone Cinema
Hitler in Hollywood: Cinematic Representations of Nazi Germany
Auteur Cinema
Women in German Cinema
History of German Cinema
The German Idea of War: Philosophical Dialogues with the Literary and Visual Arts in WWI
Representations of Violence and Terrorism in Contemporary German Literature and Film
Hungarian Cinema since World War II
What is a Medium? German Media Theory from Aesthetics to Cultural Techniques
United States History through Film
Movies Make History: Films as Primary Sources in Europe and America H
Cinema, Culture, and Society
Italian Film and Culture
Themes in Italian Film
Italian America
Topics in Japanese Language and Literature
Portuguese, Brazilian, and African Identity in Film
Hispanic Film
Gender and Film
Additional Requirements
At least six (6) courses (out of 10) must be at or above the 200 level.
At least two (2) courses (out of 10) must be at the 300-level (Writing Intensive).
At least one (1) course (out of 10) must be at the 400-level (Research Intensive).
Total Hours30
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Special Opportunities in English and Comparative Literature

Honors in English and Comparative Literature

The department offers at least two honors seminars each semester. In addition, students seeking a degree with honors in English and Comparative Literature (a 3.3 cumulative grade point average and a 3.6 grade point average in major courses required) undertake a year-long independent project during their senior year (ENGL 691H  and ENGL 692H or CMPL 691H  and CMPL 692H) and usually produce a 40- to 70-page thesis under the direction of a faculty member. Students pursuing a degree with honors normally meet every week with the professors supervising their projects. This opportunity for individually directed research and writing often proves to be a high point of the student’s academic career. 

Honors in Creative Writing

See “Creative Writing Minor."

Study Abroad

Some of the best programs offered at the University for study overseas are especially appropriate and useful to majors in the Department of English and Comparative Literature. These include semester or year-long programs at Bristol, Manchester, Sussex, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and certain Australian universities. Students who have a minimum grade point average of 3.3 at the end of their sophomore year can participate in the King’s College Exchange Program at King’s College, London (representing either English or comparative literature). Special opportunities are also available at Oxford University and through the Joint Degree Program with the National University of Singapore. Comparative literature students most frequently travel to non-English-speaking destinations. For information on all overseas programs, see the Study Abroad Office.

Internship Program

Internships are a great way to explore career options before graduation. A major in English and comparative literature, with its focus on writing, oral communication, and research, opens the door to a wide variety of career paths. The Department of English and Comparative Literature provides the opportunity for students to receive credit for an internship that relates to the major.