Modern Languages & Comparative Literature


Students and faculty in Boston University’s Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature pursue the study of eleven world languages, literatures and cultures; of Middle East and North African Studies; and of Comparative Literature, which is the study of literature across linguistic boundaries. (More than a dozen additional languages are taught elsewhere on campus: see “Other Languages” link, below.) MLCL boasts an internationally distinguished faculty who publish scholarly research on a wide array of topics. Our faculty have won many distinctions for scholarship, teaching, and advising, including the Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Peter Paul professorship for the “very best young faculty” university-wide, the National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Teaching Professorship, the US-Japan Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature (known as the Donald Keene Prize), and BU’s Templeton Prize for Excellence in Student Advising; they have won fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies (Burkhardt Fellowship), the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German National Research Society, the Fulbright Commission, and more; and have been awarded more than $3.5 million in grants from the Korea Foundation, Qatar Foundation International, the National Security Education Program for critical-language instruction, STARTalk, and others.

MLCL is unique in BU’s College of Arts and Sciences in that its teaching and advising are oriented entirely to undergraduates (although graduate students from other programs are always welcome in our classes). Our course enrollments exceed 3000 students per year, and we’re still growing. Students major in Chinese, Comparative Literature, German, Japanese, Middle Eastern and North African Studies (MENA), and Russian (many students pursue double majors); a joint major in Japanese and Linguistics is also available. Students minor in Arabic, Chinese, Comparative Literature, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, and Russian. We invite you to explore our website and become familiar with our rich offerings.