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Students majoring in Comparative Literature are equipped to follow many different career paths. The broad, interdisciplinary nature of our undergraduate program helps prepare students for opportunities in fields as diverse as journalism, publishing, international relations, cultural studies, medicine, philosophy, education, public policy, film, and entertainment, as well as positions in the IT sector. In addition, many students continue their education in graduate or professional programs. 

Our program encourages students to think in new and imaginative ways and to evaluate ideas and problems from a broad critical perspective. Students in Comparative Literature develop skills in analysis (synthesizing themes from diverse sources, comparing/contrasting ideas, using theoretical approaches, understanding complex problems, offering diverse perspectives), communication (writing clearly, reading complex texts, editing/proofreading material, advocating/defending a position, presenting information logically), language (evaluating translations and original texts, perceiving word patterns and structures, comparing different languages, using and recognizing precise language, mastering more than one language), and cross-cultural understanding (understanding and interpreting other cultures, appreciating similarities and differences among cultures, developing a variety of perspectives). The person who is able to develop those talents will find uses for them in a wide range of occupational settings. 

A selected list of occupations pursued by students majoring in Comparative Literature offers a glimpse of the wide-ranging career paths available. This list was compiled from the experiences of Michigan students, as well as from national data: 

  • Communication: filmmaker, public opinion analyst, reporter/columnist, editor, public relations representative, free-lance writer, literary/technical translator 

  • Government and public service: Homeless advocate, VISTA volunteer coordinator, foreign service officer, labor mediator, United Nations interpreter, paralegal, urban planner, legislative aide. 

  • Business: market research analyst, advertising copywriter, international lawyer, employee relations specialist, manager, sales representative, cross-cultural relations specialist, web designer.

  • Education and research: professor, teacher (K-12), librarian, archivist, reading specialist, literacy tutor, language instructor, ESL tutor, student development professional, preservation specialist, grant writer.

University of Michigan Career Resources

  • The LSA Opportunity Hub offers coaching, interactive classes, alum-hosted internships, internship scholarships, and opportunities to build important relationships with alums and employers.

  •  The University Career Center provides information about graduate schools, careers, how to write resumes, how to prepare for interviews, and much more. 

  • The Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships website is intended to provide a single, comprehensive source of information for students seeking nationally- and internationally competitive scholarships and fellowships. 

  • Also, remember that faculty in our department can advise on career options and graduate schools. Seniors can apply for scholarships like Fulbright, Marshall, Rhodes, and Power.