The CLE is an interdisciplinary centre for research and teaching which actively collaborates with other Swiss and international institutions. Closely integrating research and teaching, the curriculum offers courses at the bachelor (BA), master (MA) and master en spécialisation (MAsp) levels. It also offers intensive supervision of PhD theses in comparative literature.
Several Swiss universities propose comparative literature programmes as part of their curriculum, but the University of Lausanne is currently the only academic institution to have a chair in the discipline. The appointment of professor Ute Heidmann in 2001 made it possible to create and coordinate an interdisciplinary research programme and curriculum in Comparative European Languages and Literatures (LLEUC). Between 2002 and 2006, a DEA programme and degree (Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies) was offered as an integral part of the IRIS-4 interdisciplinary project funded by the University of Lausanne. This programme provided researchers and teachers with specific expertise in comparative literature and thus seeded the staff of the present CLE, established in 2007, and other research centres.
The specialization programme (MAsp) offered by the CLE consists of an interdisciplinary curriculum of 30 ECTS, designed to complement the 90 ECTS that are attached to a specific discipline. The competences students acquire in the interdisciplinary programme constitute an asset on the European labour market, making this specialization particularly recommended for international students and scholars. The CLE became an official research unit in June 2007.
The programme meets the priorities established by the CRUS and the UNIL Strategic Plan. It actively promotes and develops multilingualism, interdisciplinary approaches, mobility and European perspectives, innovative teaching methods, international collaborations and high research standards.