The College of Letters (COL) is a three-year interdisciplinary major for the study of European literature, history, and philosophy, from antiquity to the present, in which students read and discuss works together (in English) and learn to think critically about texts both in relation to their contexts and influences and in relation to the disciplines that shape and are shaped by those texts.

COL majors debate ideas in colloquia, bond over books in the COL library, and listen to guest speakers in a collaborative workspace encircled by professors' offices.

What You'll Study

  • Students wishing to major in the College of Letters must submit an application in the spring semester of their first year. Applicants must show proficiency in a foreign language. 
  • As a COL major you'll be required to take a series of colloquia focusing on works of predominantly European literature, history, and philosophy in the ancient world through the 20th century, as well as in history, philosophy, literature/representation, and in your target foreign language literature. A comprehensive exam in spring of junior year and a senior thesis or essay are also required.
  • COL majors become proficient in a foreign language and must spend a semester abroad in the spring of sophomore year to deepen their knowledge of another culture.

  • Because the goal of COL is to cultivate the educated imagination, letter grades are not given in courses taken for COL major credit, and COL seminars do not generally have final examinations. Instead, tutors write detailed evaluations of their students' work at the end of each semester.