Comparative Humanities

The program in comparative humanities explores cultural traditions, history, literature, and art from an interdisciplinary perspective. By examining specific topics through several lenses, students learn to compare and analyze different cultures, historical periods, and modes of thought in a thorough and multidimensional way. The program’s small size and flexibility fosters close collaboration between students and faculty and creates opportunities for a highly individualized academic experience.

While grounded in the past, comparative humanities fosters skills distinctly suited to contemporary life. As students follow their intellectual path of choice, they learn to integrate, analyze, and explain ideas – highly transferable skills that are vital for success in the cultural, linguistic, and material diversity of the globalized world.  The program actively encourages study abroad and allows courses taken abroad to count toward the major.

Comparative humanities students can expect a level of academic engagement usually associated with graduate-level university programs. The major culminates in oral defense of a senior thesis. Alumni of the comparative studies program — one of only two majors at Bucknell to require a thesis — frequently cite this experience as one of the most valuable components of their undergraduate education.

Non-majors, too, can deepen perspective and understanding of their core studies and develop essential career skills through exposure to comparative thought. They are encouraged to take individual classes or consider a minor in comparative humanities to complement their main area of study. Comparative humanities faculty members are always available to answer questions about the curriculum and suggest course options for any student.