Degree Requirements

Master of Arts

To earn the Master of Arts degree with a major in comparative literature, the student must complete either thirty-one semester hours of coursework, including the six-hour thesis course, or thirty-four hours of coursework, including the three-hour report course. The student must also demonstrate a high degree of competence in one foreign language and sufficient competence in a second language. Additional information about these requirements is available from the graduate adviser.

Doctor of Philosophy

To be admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree, the student must have earned a master’s degree in comparative literature, in a single national language and literature, or in a related discipline such as art history, folklore, or philosophy. In addition, he or she must have passed the qualifying examination, which tests the student’s knowledge of literary theory and critical methodology and of the first foreign language and literature.

The student is expected to take at least thirty semester hours of coursework beyond the Master of Arts level, including six semester hours for the dissertation. Each student must also pass a comprehensive examination, which is normally taken upon completion of coursework, and a prospectus examination, which must be taken by the end of the long-session semester after the semester in which the student passes the comprehensive examination. The student must then write a dissertation, which may involve, for example, the comparison of works, traditions, themes, writers, or periods from two or more different literatures. The dissertation may involve the study of literature and some other discipline. It may be a substantial translation, equipped with a general introduction analyzing the work chosen and/or discussing the problems and theory of translation and provided with detailed, explanatory notes. It may be some other project that the student designs under the supervision of the dissertation committee and that satisfies the aims and interests of the program. Each student should develop a thorough command of two foreign languages, and proficiency in either a third foreign language or a relevant area of study. For the purposes of the comprehensive examination, a student may designate as the third area of study either the third foreign language or another discipline related to the program—for example, an interdisciplinary field, a set of courses linked by a critical or theoretical question, or a topic in cultural studies.

Complete information about the foreign language requirement, course requirements, and the qualifying and comprehensive examinations is available from the graduate adviser.