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Comparative Literature

Program | Faculty | Master's | Doctoral | Courses

The Graduate Program in Comparative Literature offers opportunities for graduate study leading to the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy. Areas of curricular emphasis include theories of literature and interpretation, theory and practice of translation, narrative and discourse theory, theories of literary history, canon and world literature, psychoanalytic theory, film analysis, gender studies, and a range of cross-cultural studies, from Orientalism/Occidentalism to multi-culturalism in the Americas.

Students may pursue the study, and translation, of texts in Hebrew, Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Classical Chinese, Old Irish, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic, Russian, Hungarian, Arabic, Japanese, and Chinese, as well as texts in English.

Courses or seminars are regularly offered in literary theory and criticism, cross-cultural literary relations, children’s literature, psychoanalysis and literature, science fiction, gender studies, and film and literature. Graduate courses in Comparative Literature are open to all qualified graduate students and may, with prior approval of the other department or program concerned, be taken to meet a foreign language requirement.

Prerequisites for Admission to the M.A. or Ph.D. Program

(Beyond the usual requirements of the Graduate School.)

Undergraduate Degree
Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree or a recognized foreign equivalent, either with a major in a language-literature field or with substantial literary studies.

All applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English and in one language other than English, and a working knowledge of a third language. Ph.D. applicants should have completed at least three years’ study of their first foreign language, and two of their second. M.A. applicants should have completed at least three years of their first foreign language and one year of their second. Knowledge of classical languages is encouraged.

An entering M.A. or Ph.D. student who does not show language competence by previous study may demonstrate competence in the first and second languages by coursework, as specified in the program’s “Statement of Procedure.”

Grade Point Average
The applicant should have a grade point average equivalent to at least 3.000 out of possible 4.000.

Applicants are required to have taken the Graduate Record Examination before applying, or to take it at the earliest opportunity thereafter. Non-native speakers of English who are not U.S. citizens are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Written Work
Applicants are required to submit directly to the department a sample of their written work with their application. This should demonstrate critical handling of literary material, preferably including non-English texts. The paper need not be written in English. Essays written in a language other than English should be accompanied by an English translation done by the candidate.