Department of Modern Languages & Comparative Literature

The Department of Modern Languages & Comparative Literature (MLCL) conducts research and teaching in Arabic, Chinese, German, Hebrew, Hindi-Urdu, Japanese, Korean, Persian (Farsi), Russian, Turkish, and in Comparative Literature. Majors combine their coursework with Study Abroad and international internships, and acquire insight into other cultures and into dimensions of literature that cut across national boundaries. The BA prepares students to enter an increasingly global workplace permeated by cultural and linguistic diversity.

Language Center

The Geddes Language Center, on the fifth floor of 685 Commonwealth Avenue, in the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) building, includes language laboratories, specially equipped classrooms, computers, audiovisual production facilities, screening rooms, and libraries of audiovisual materials. Use of these facilities is required for many courses and is assigned for supplementary work in other courses.

Foreign Language Specialty Residences

Chinese, German, and Japanese houses enable majors, minors, and students taking courses in one of these languages to use the language daily and to strengthen their knowledge of the language and culture of the countries. Chinese House is at 172 Bay State Road; German House is at 209 Bay State Road; Japanese House is at 206 Bay State Road. For more information, visit

Majors and Minors in Modern Languages & Comparative Literature

Students may choose a major or a minor in Comparative Literature, Chinese,  German, Japanese, or Russian. Minors are also available in Arabic, Hebrew, and Korean.

Language and literature majors frequently prepare themselves for careers or advanced study in international relations, government, education, journalism, and translating. Students in premedical or prelaw programs find the majors and minors in MLCL a satisfying way to broaden their programs of study and many graduates have entered professional programs in these fields.


The department encourages CAS students, whatever their major, to obtain the greatest benefit from their foreign language requirement by pursuing a minor in their chosen language. Advanced courses in a language or its literature increase proficiency in that language, present the great works and epochs of the literature, and acquaint students with the contemporary culture and that culture’s roots in the past. A grade of C or higher is required in all courses taken toward the minor. Students plan a minor program with their advisor, consisting ordinarily of six courses in their language or literature at the 240 level or above. Minors are available in Arabic, Chinese, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Comparative Literature. Internships taken during Boston University’s or other study abroad programs may not be credited toward minors offered by the department. Minors have specific course requirements; these are detailed for each minor under Programs.

College of Arts & Sciences Language Requirement

Detailed information is available under Foreign Language requirements for the Bachelor of Arts Program. Several options are available for students who must fulfill the college language requirement. Information concerning these options is listed for each language.

Courses in Other Departments

Students are encouraged to consult the offerings of the Departments of Romance Studies, Classical Studies, English, and the African Studies Center.

Boston University Study Abroad Programs in Dresden, Haifa, Istanbul, Kyoto, Rabat, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tokyo

These programs feature intensive language courses as well as literature, civilization, and linguistics courses. Detailed information is available from the Study Abroad Office or online.

Courses in Literature or Civilization in English Translation

The following courses are offered in 2014/2015 with lecture, discussion, and readings in English. Any of these courses may be taken for humanities divisional credit. Some may satisfy major and minor requirements within specific programs. Full course descriptions can be found in the Courses section of this bulletin.

  • CAS LC 250 Masterpieces of Classical Chinese Literature
  • CAS LC 251 Masterpieces of Modern Chinese Literature
  • CAS LC 260 Gateway to Asian Cultures
  • CAS LC 280 Chinese Classics in Today’s World
  • CAS LC 283 Chinese Civilization
  • CAS LC 286 Topics in Chinese Culture
  • CAS LC 470 Topics in Chinese Literature and Culture
  • CAS LG 387 Weimar Cinema
  • CAS LG 456 Twentieth-Century Culture: Since 1945
  • CAS LG 461 German Poetry
  • CAS LH 283 Israeli Culture through Film
  • CAS LH 284 The Culture and Civilization of Modern Israel
  • CAS LJ 250 Masterpieces of Japanese Literature
  • CAS LJ 251 Modern Japanese Literature
  • CAS LJ 260 Gateway to Asian Cultures
  • CAS LJ 283 Modern Japanese Culture in Cinema
  • CAS LJ 451 Topics in Japanese Literature
  • CAS LK 250 Introduction to Korean Literature
  • CAS LK 260 Gateway to Asian Cultures
  • CAS LK 383 Modern Korean Culture through Cinema
  • CAS LK 470 Topics in Korean Literature and Culture
  • CAS LN 225 Tradition and Modernity in Indian Film and Literature
  • CAS LN 260 Gateway to Asian Cultures
  • CAS LR 285 Tolstoy and Dostoevsky
  • CAS LR 350 Introduction to Analysis of Russian Prose Texts
  • CAS LR 355 Chekhov: The Stories and Plays
  • CAS LR 388 Russian and Soviet Film
  • CAS LR 456 Topics in Twentieth-Century Century Russian Literature
  • CAS LY 350 Introduction to Arabic Literature
  • CAS LY 470 Topics in Arabic Literature
  • CAS LZ 380 Persian (Farsi) Epic and Romance
  • CAS LZ 381 Rumi and Persian Sufi Poetry
  • CAS XL 100 Introduction to Literature
  • CAS XL 223 Introduction to Comparative Literature: Middle Eastern Literature
  • CAS XL 224 Introduction to Comparative Literature: East Asian Literature
  • CAS XL 225 Introduction to Comparative Literature: South Asian Literature
  • CAS XL 260 Gateway to Asian Cultures
  • CAS XL 382 Topics in Gender and Film
  • CAS XL 459 Primo Levi Within Holocaust Literature
  • CAS XL 470 Topics in Comparative Literature
  • CAS XL 540 Theory and Practice of Literary Translation
  • CAS XL 560 Topics in Religion and Literature