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Graduate Study in Comparative Literature

The Department of Comparative Literature at the University at Buffalo is a relatively small, yet independent program. It combines a tradition of scholarly rigor with openness to fresh currents in literary studies. While rooted in an intense ongoing inquiry into the nature of literature, its conceptual and philosophical underpinnings, and its critical methods, the department sustains a wide range of interdisciplinary approaches and projects. In the past, students have incorporated into their work concerns and methods deriving from philosophy, psychoanalysis, legal studies, political theory, and anthropology.

In adapting to changes in the current academic climate, the department has also been successfully fostering new interests in nationalism and colonialism, cultural studies, visual arts (film theory, art history and architecture), and gender studies. Members of the department, who draw on a wide variety of fields of interest, offer both historical and systematic exposure to ideas that are developing throughout the humanities. This is richly complemented by a full program of distinguished visiting lecturers.

Because of its small size, the department offers students a very close working relationship with faculty. There are approximately as many faculty members as degree-seeking students. In all cases, students take considerable personal initiative in shaping their program of study. As a general guideline, however, and in order to provide intellectual orientation to incoming students, the department offers two flexible options of study: Comparative Studies and Critical Theory.


Information on NEMLA: The Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) is a scholarly organization for professionals in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and other modern languages. Building on a rich tradition of excellence, the University at Buffalo supports the mission of NeMLA by serving as its institutional and administrative host.  NeMLA’s annual convention, always conveniently located in the northeastern United States or Canada, affords the opportunity for UB graduate students to share their research and meet with other scholars without having to travel far from Buffalo.  The Department of English at UB also operates the NeMLA Graduate Fellows Program, providing graduate students unique opportunities to get practical experience in the working of a large academic convention and non-profit organization, to establish professional connections with scholars across the Northeast, and to gain insight into one of the most important forms of knowledge production and dissemination in the humanities. Additional interdisciplinary mentorship opportunities are available through the Women’s and Gender Studies Mentorship Program, pairing senior faculty mentors with doctoral students.  The NeMLA Graduate Student Caucus provides resources to NeMLA graduate student members to help navigate graduate school towards successful completion of the degree and to prepare for future careers. At the annual convention, the Caucus organizes multiple sessions for social engagement and professional development, such as the Meet and Greet and the CV Clinic​. Graduate students are encouraged to run for open elected positions in the Caucus, including as Representative to the NeMLA Board, for additional mentorship and professionalization opportunities.

NeMLA also sponsors several membership awards and fellowships to promote new scholars in modern languages. The Graduate Student Caucus sponsors anEssay Award to recognize quality research presented at the annual convention by graduate students, as well as Travel Awards to decrease costs to attend the convention. The NeMLA Summer Fellowship Program supports the research of NeMLA members, especially graduate students, with up to $1,500 to defray the cost of research travel.

More information about NeMLA is available at