Undergraduate Program

Although literary study has been part of Columbia'sĀ curriculum since its founding as King's College in 1754, the recognition of English as a distinct academic discipline at Columbia began with the appointment of Thomas Randolph Price as Professor of the English Language and Literature in 1882. In 1899 Columbia President Seth Low formed two separate departments: the Department of English Language and Literature, devoted to rhetoric, philology, and composition, and the Department of Comparative Literature, intended to represent newly emergent historical, cultural, and psychological approaches to literary expression. In 1910 these departments were merged as the Department of English and Comparative Literature. The intellectual breadth enshrined by this merger has marked the study of literature at Columbia to the present day.