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Translation and Interpreting Studies Track (M.A.)

About the Program

The Master of Arts in Comparative Literature includes a specific track in Translation and Interpreting Studies. 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 must demonstrate advanced proficiency in their second language, and complete at least one semester of coursework at UMass or one of the Five Colleges in a third langauge. Students in the program will acquire expertise in practical techniques and strategies of translation or interpreting as well as a rigorous understanding of the theoretical and cultural stakes of the field.


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
  • Proficiency in a second language other than English.
  • A working knowledge of a third language.
  • Sample of translation with an introduction and commentary, or a critical essay (both 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 website.

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

Moira Inghilleri (
Professor, Comparative Literature; Director, Translation and Interpreting Studies Program

c/o Administrator's Office, 430 Herter Hall
161 Presidents Drive
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003-9312
Tel: 413-545-5808

General Requirements

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

The MA Thesis/Final Project

The student may (1) write on an aspect of translation and/or interpreting 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 or interpreting project must 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


Graduate Credits

Comparative Literature


First Concentration


Second Concentration






Total graduate credits:


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

For the MA in Translation Studies, all Comparative Literature courses counting toward the degree should have a translation studies component. CompLit 751 (Theory and Practice of Translation) and CompLit 681 (Introduction to Interpreting and Translation Research and Practice I) 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 or 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.