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Graduate Degree Requirements

Please see the Comparative Literature Graduate Manual for additional information.

Master of Arts Guidelines

Applicants to the Master of Arts program are expected to have completed the equivalent of a bachelor's degree in either English or another language, or else to have a strong minor in one or more of these areas as part of a liberal arts background. Undergraduate courses in two of the following - world literature, literary criticism, classical literature, medieval, Renaissance, or Eighteenth-, Nineteenth-, Twentieth-, and Twenty-first-century literatures - are additional prerequisites. Applicants lacking some of the foundations but otherwise well qualified may be admitted on the condition that they take certain prerequisite courses without credit.

The Master of Arts program in Comparative Literature includes a core course (ENGL 660/FLL 630) in methods and objectives of comparative study, required of all students in the program. In addition, variable title seminars in Comparative Literature (ENGL 665/FLL 639), as well as seminars of an interdisciplinary nature in the various fields represented by each department, are available to students each semester.

Thesis Option

This option consists of the core course, plus five courses of literary study in the area of primary interest and three allied courses of study in a second area. The thesis always will involve at least two areas and will be directed by faculty representing these areas.

Non-Thesis (Examination) Option

This option consists of the core course, plus five courses of literary study in the area of primary interest and three allied courses of study in a second area. In addition, the non-thesis option includes three hours of study in a third area.

Reading List
Click here for the approved Master's Reading List. Knowledge of a bibliography of basic books in Comparative Literature will be required of all students. They will be informed of this bibliography during the first semester of study.  Students may take an M.A. exam based on this reading list.  Or they may in consultation with their advisor and the Director of the Program compose a reading list based on the M.A. exam list for English and a list of works in their primary language.

A written examination, based upon the reading list, will be given by the committee at the completion of the coursework. The examination questions will be written and graded by the members of the Comparative Literature Steering Committee. Students should list the names of three members of the committee on their M.A. plan of study.

Doctor of Philosophy Guidelines

Applicants to the Ph.D. program are expected to have completed a master's program or equivalent in which the student has completed 30 hours of graduate work with a grade of B or better in each course.

A student completing the M.A. at Purdue may apply for admission to the Purdue Ph.D. program by sending a letter to the attention of the Graduate Secretary. Such applicants will be judged for performance and promise, as will applicants from other universities.

Graduate study toward the Ph.D. includes:

  1. Plan of Study
  2. The core course (ENGL 660/FLL 630) if this has not already been taken;
  3. Three or more courses in the major area (9 hours);
  4. Three or more courses in the second area (9 hours);
  5. One or more courses in a third area (3 hours);
  6. One course devoted to the consideration of the nature of language (3 hours);
  7. A minimum of two seminars in Comparative Literature beyond the M.A. degree (6 hours).

A program of background reading based on a doctoral-level reading list, designed by the candidate and his or her examining committee, which will serve as the basis for the doctoral written examinations.

A dissertation, comparative in nature, that satisfactorily demonstrates the candidate's ability to produce original scholarship.