Requirements for the M.A. in Comparative Literature

Nine courses and an examination are required to complete the M.A. degree. The normal academic load for both M.A. and Ph.D. candidates is three courses a quarter; teaching assistants take two courses in addition to earning credit for University teaching. Only in exceptional circumstances will students be permitted to undertake programs of less than six full courses during the academic year.

The M.A. exam is normally taken by the fifth quarter. For the examination, the candidate submits an M.A. paper and a statement of purpose outlining past and future coursework and preliminary plans for the Ph.D. qualifying examination. The M.A. exam consists of a discussion of the paper and the statement of purpose. In practice, it resembles an extended advising session, with particularly close attention to the paper.

Requirements for the Ph.D. in Comparative Literature

Normally, students who have not done graduate work at another university must complete at least 18 courses. Upon completion of course work, the student takes an examination on four areas: (1) Primary field (2) Secondary field (3) Special topic (4) Theory. Students formulate reading lists for each field in consultation with their faculty committees. The topics should combine historical breadth and some generic variety with specialization leading toward the dissertation. The examination is part written and part oral, and as a whole should reflect ability to work in at least two languages.

After passing the qualifying examination, the student forms a dissertation committee, articulates a dissertation topic in consultation with them, and submits a prospectus for the dissertation before embarking on the dissertation itself. The structure of the program enables students to complete the Ph.D. in six years.