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MA in Translation Studies

The MA in Translation Studies


Program of Study

The balance among the main constituent elements of a candidate's course of study will vary with individual circumstances. The following kinds of competence, however, are taken to characterize the holder of an M.A. in Translation Studies framed within the Comparative Literature Program of the University of Massachusetts Amherst: a grounding in translation, literary, and cultural theory; practical expertise in either translation or interpreting and a grounding in the other; proficiency in two languages (one English) with knowledge of the literary, cultural, and translation traditions of those languages; familiarity with a third language; expertise in critical reading and textual analysis of complex written and spoken language; grounding in translation technologies; and training in research methods.


Requirements include 33 graduate credits (for distribution see below), six of which must be at the 600-800 level (excluding thesis credits); demonstration of foreign language facility; demonstration of bibliographic skills in Translation and Interpreting Studies, Comparative Literature, and appropriate related disciplines; and the satisfactory completion of a thesis or translation project.


Course Requirements

A minimum of 33 credit hours is required in all cases, distributed as follows for the M.A. in Translation Studies. In addition, teaching assistants must take the one-credit Teaching Workshop.



M.A. with Thesis

Comparative Literature/Translation Studies


First Concentration


Second Concentration







Please note the following requirements:

  1. Comp Lit 751 Theory and Practice of Translation
  2. Comp Lit 681 Introduction to Translation and Interpreting Studies I
  3. Topic-based seminars in Translation and Interpreting Studies
  4. One graduate Comparative Literature course that combines theoretical perspective with practical criticism.
  5. Literature in translation courses may not be counted towards the literature components of the Distribution Requirements unless special arrangements are made to complete required readings in the original language.
  6. With the approval of the Graduate Program Director and the student's adviser, a student may substitute a course in Comparative Literature for a course in the first or second concentration.

The MA Committee

By the beginning of the third semester, the student selects, in consultation with the Graduate Program Director, the chair of the MA committee, who then becomes the student's primary adviser. The committee chair and the candidate then select the rest of the committee, which consists of at least three members of the graduate faculty: at least two from the Program of Comparative Literature (one of whom must be a specialist in Translation Studies) and at least one from another department. The committee must include a member who is expert in the language and literature of the student's primary concentration.


MA with Thesis

The thesis for the M.A. in Translation Studies is between 20,000 and 25,000 words if the student chooses to do a descriptive, historical, or theoretical topic. If a student elects to do a translation as the thesis, the translation is 10,000-15,000 words (or other appropriate size to be determined by the committee, depending on form and content), plus a translator's introduction of approximately 10,000-12,000 words. Theses must include bibliographies of all works read in conjunction with the research undertaken for the thesis. After the thesis has been completed and submitted to all committee members, there is a thesis defense of two hours. The thesis defense is public and announced at least two weeks in advance to all members of the Comparative Literature faculty and graduate program. Questions at the thesis defense may also address the scope of the student's entire course of study for the MA. Immediately after the defense, the MA committee decides whether the student has submitted an acceptable thesis and defended it adequately, thus fulfilling the final requirements for the MA in Translation Studies. The decision is based on both the written thesis and the oral defense. The examiners choose from two possible outcomes: pass or fail. The recommendation of all but one member of the MA committee is required for the student to be eligible for receiving the MA. The decision of the committee is made known immediately after the committee has conferred. In the event of a negative decision by the committee, the MA committee consults with the Graduate Program Director during the week following the thesis defense. The Graduate Program Director thereupon informs the student either that permission to resubmit the thesis and to have a second and final defense has been granted or that termination of graduate studies will be recommended.


For more information, contact Professor Moira Inghilleri, Director of Translation and Interpreting Studies.