Comparative Literature, LLC


The M.A. in Translation Studies

paper_edge_left paper_edge_right


About the Program

The Master of Arts in Translation Studies is a separate track of the M.A. in Comparative Literature. Thirty-three credits are required. The degree can be completed in one year, with two semesters of 4-5 courses each (27 credits) and a summer spent writing the thesis/final project (6 credits), but most students take two years, taking three courses each for the first three semesters and a final semester with the thesis/project. A minimum of two languages are required (one may be English). Students in the program will acquire expertise in practical techniques and strategies of translation as well as a rigorous understanding of the theoretical and cultural stakes of the field.

See: The M.A. Degree for degree requirements.

Requirements for Admission

  • Application form and fee
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00
  • A bachelor's degree or equivalent
  • One official transcript
  • Two or three letters of recommendation
  • Proficiency in English
  • Excellent knowledge of one foreign language
  • Sample of translation with a short introduction, or critical essay (10-15 pages)
  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test with a minimum verbal score of 550 (156 new scale)
  • International students need to have taken the TOEFL test with a score of 80 or higher, or its equivalent in IELTS of 6.5 or higher, or have attended a North American college or university on a full-time basis for one year.

Applications and Information

For application information, please see the Graduate School at the University of Massachusetts website at

You may apply online or download an application from the graduate school at

For information on tuition and fees, please see the graduate school website at

For more information regarding the program and application procedures, contact:

Edwin Gentzler (
Professor, Comparative Literature; Director, Translation Center
19 Herter Hall
161 Presidents Drive
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003-9312
Tel: 413-545-2203

General Requirements

  • Completion of thirty-three graduate credits.
  • Completion of twelve required credits in Translation Studies/Comparative Literature
  • Demonstration of bibliographic skills in Comparative Literature and Translation Studies
  • Fulfillment of course distribution requirements (see below)
  • Successful Defense of a Masters Thesis/Project (see below)

The M.A. Thesis/Final Project

The student may (1) write on an aspect of translation theory; (2) prepare a descriptive studies project (a comparison of several translations of one original text); (3) translate a collection of poems or short stories, a novel, a play; a filmscript; (4) translate a selection of scientific, legal, medical, technical, and/or business texts; or (5) create/translate a media or multi-media project, conduct a field study, or create a translation memory/database. The translation/project is to be accompanied by a substantial introduction (25-30 pages) explaining the decision-making process, and linguistic, cultural, and technical problems encountered.  The essay and/or translation must be of publishable quality; the thesis itself should be between 75-90 pages in length, inclusive of bibliography and notes.

Distribution Requirements

Distribution Graduate Credits
Comparative Literature 12
First Concentration 6
Second Concentration 6
Elective 3
Thesis/Project 6
Total graduate credits: 33

For the purposes of this program, “Concentration” refers to a coherent language/literary/cultural tradition, e.g., Catalan, Chinese, Irish.

For the MA in Translation Studies, all Comparative Literature courses counting toward the degree need to have a translation studies component. Comp. Lit 751 ("Theory and Practice of Translation"), Comp Lit 551 ("Translation and Technology") and Comp Lit 581 or Comp Lit 582 ("Introduction to Interpreting and Translation: Research and Practice I or II") are required. Literature in translation courses may not be counted towards the first and second concentration requirements unless special arrangements are made to complete the required readings in the original.

Up to three credits of graduate coursework in Comparative Literature may be counted towards the fulfillment of the requirement of a concentration, provided that the student demonstrates significant work in this concentration and has obtained formal written permission from the Graduate Program Director prior to the end of the add-drop period for the course in question.

Up to six credits of Special Problems/Independent Study courses may be counted toward the fulfillment of the requirements (with a maximum of three credits towards any one distribution requirement) provided that the student has obtained formal written permission from the Graduate Program Director prior to the end of the add-drop period for the course in questions.

In lieu of a thesis, a student may elect to complete a final project (such as a research project, a translation memory, and interactive website in multiple languages, a multi-media project, a field study, or similar translation/interpreting-related project). The final project must be approved by the faculty supervisor and Graduate Program Director. All candidates for the M.A. present a thesis/project defense of no more than two hours.

For new teaching assistants, a one-credit semester of Teaching Workshop or equivalent (one hour weekly) is required.

Note: Download the Comparative Literature Statement of Procedure for graduate programs (PDF file) at for a printer-friendly version of these pages in one document. University entrance requirements and other Graduate School regulations can be found online in the Graduate School Bulletin at


Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional Valid CSS!

UMass Home Department of Languages Literatures and Cultures Comparative Literature UMass Home
Top of Page