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World Literature Major

Bachelor of Arts

World Literature focuses on writing that has traveled - writing that has moved beyond its author's culture and has acquired a new life in other languages, nations and traditions. The study of world literature raises vital questions about how cultures understand - and sometimes misunderstand - one another.

The program examines literature in a comparative way, emphasizing periods of cross-cultural contact and exchange. English is the language of instruction but students also have the opportunity to study other world languages. World literature students are encouraged to participate in an international exchange and/or field schools to complement their degree.

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Program Requirements

The program consists of courses in world literature (WL courses). Students complete 120 units, as specified below.

Lower Division Requirements

Students complete a total of 21 units, including

WL 100 - What is World Literature? (3)

Explores how texts travel beyond their cultures of origin, influence other cultural contexts and ideas, and become works of world literature. Introduces the concepts of cross-cultural literary criticism and translation. Breadth-Humanities.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
D100 Mark Deggan
Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Fri, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.
D101 Mark Deggan
Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Fri, 12:30–1:20 p.m.
D102 Mark Deggan
Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Fri, 1:30–2:20 p.m.

one 100-level WL Writing course


WL 200 - How to Do Things with World Literature (3)

Introduces major theoretical approaches to literature and fundamental techniques of literary analysis. Develops students' critical skills for analytical writing about literature in comparative, cross-cultural contexts. Prerequisite: six units in World Literature, including one W course.

plus 12 additional lower division WL units, at least 6 of which must be taken at the 200 level

*Students may count one 2nd year language course (3 units) toward their lower division WL units.

Upper Division Requirements

Students complete a minimum total of 32 upper division WL units including both of

WL 300 - How Ideas Travel (4)

Explores the counterpoint of Western and non-Western approaches to world literature. May draw from disciplines including comparative literature, history, anthropology, and semiotics to focus on how concepts of world literature are imported and transformed in new cultural contexts. Builds on the skills and knowledge acquired in WL 200. Prerequisite: 45 units, including WL 200.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
D100 Mark Deggan
Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Wed, 2:30–5:20 p.m.
D101 Mark Deggan
Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Wed, 5:30–6:20 p.m.
WL 301W - Writing and Research (4)

Helps students develop more advanced critical thinking and writing skills through a selected topic in world literature. Explores specific literary research methods such as formulating a research question, engaging with secondary sources, and creating a strong authorial voice. Prerequisite: 45 units including nine units in World Literature. Writing.

plus 24 additional upper division WL units, of which at least eight must be taken at the 400-level

Grade Requirements

In addition to the normal university degree requirements, students must obtain a minimum 2.00 WL cumulative grade point average (CGPA) (calculated on all WL courses completed at SFU), and a minimum 2.00 WL CUDGPA (calculated on all upper division WL courses completed at SFU).

Relevant Topic Courses

With prior approval, students may complete a maximum of three lower and eight upper division units of relevant topic courses from outside the World Literature Program (courses offered at Simon Fraser University or our field schools and exchanges) by submitting the course description to the World Literature advisor. The following pre-approved courses are appropriate.

CA 341 - Music and Culture (3)

The relationship of music and culture, with emphasis on traditional and contemporary music in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Indigenous cultures of North America. Specific cultural areas may be selected for intensive study in any particular term. May be of particular interest to students in other departments. Prerequisite: 45 units.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
E100 Jean Brazeau
Sep 6 – Oct 6, 2023: Tue, 6:30–9:20 p.m.
Oct 11 – Dec 5, 2023: Tue, 6:30–9:20 p.m.
ENGL 439W - Seminar in World Literatures in English (4)

Advanced seminar in literary works in English, mainly from regions other than Canada, Britain and the United States. The course may focus on one or several literatures or individual authors, and will be organized according to specific critical methodologies. This course may be repeated for credit if a different topic is taught. Prerequisite: 45 units or two 300-division English courses. Writing.

FREN 342 - Francophone World Literature in Translation (3)

A study of representative and significant works (from one or more French speaking countries) from literature and cinema originally produced in French in their socio-cultural context. This course does not count towards the degree requirements for an extended minor, major or honours in French. With permission of the Department of English, may count towards the requirements of an English major or honours. Prerequisite: Knowledge of French is not required; two courses in literature.

HUM 309 - Literatures and the Arts Across Cultures (4)

An interdisciplinary study of literary texts in translation and/or art forms across cultures and periods. Students may repeat this course for further credit under a different topic. Prerequisite: 45 units. Students with credit for HS 309 or WL 309 under this topic, or HS 303 under the title "Reflection on the Greek Civil War" may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Humanities.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
D900 Alessandra Capperdoni
Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Fri, 12:30–4:20 p.m.

Study Abroad

Students are encouraged to study abroad, through field schools or exchanges. World literature major students may complete up to 15 upper division units at other universities or other universities' field schools and exchanges with prior approval. Submit the relevant course description to the world literature advisor well in advance of the course.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Degree Requirements

For all bachelor of arts (BA) programs, students complete 120 units, which includes

  • at least 60 units that must be completed at Simon Fraser University
  • at least 45 upper division units, of which at least 30 upper division units must be completed at Simon Fraser University
  • at least 60 units (including 21 upper division units) in Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences courses
  • satisfaction of the writing, quantitative, and breadth requirements
  • an overall cumulative grade point average (CGPA) and upper division overall CGPA of at least 2.0, and program CGPA and upper division program CGPA of at least 2.0 on the course work used to satisfy the minimum program requirements. FASS departments may define additional GPA requirements for their respective programs.

Writing, Quantitative, and Breadth Requirements

Students admitted to Simon Fraser University beginning in the fall 2006 term must meet writing, quantitative and breadth requirements as part of any degree program they may undertake. See Writing, Quantitative, and Breadth Requirements for university-wide information.

WQB Graduation Requirements

A grade of C- or better is required to earn W, Q or B credit



W - Writing


Must include at least one upper division course, taken at Simon Fraser University within the student’s major subject
Q - Quantitative


Q courses may be lower or upper division
B - Breadth


Designated Breadth Must be outside the student’s major subject, and may be lower or upper division
6 units Social Sciences: B-Soc
6 units Humanities: B-Hum
6 units Sciences: B-Sci


Additional Breadth 6 units outside the student’s major subject (may or may not be B-designated courses, and will likely help fulfil individual degree program requirements)

Students choosing to complete a joint major, joint honours, double major, two extended minors, an extended minor and a minor, or two minors may satisfy the breadth requirements (designated or not designated) with courses completed in either one or both program areas.


Residency Requirements and Transfer Credit

  • At least half of the program's total units must be earned through Simon Fraser University study.
  • At least two thirds of the program's total upper division units must be earned through Simon Fraser University study.

Elective Courses

In addition to the courses listed above, students should consult an academic advisor to plan the remaining required elective courses.