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University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Comparative Literature (CMLIT)

Program Home Page

ROBERT R. EDWARDS, Department Head
442 Burrowes Building
814-863-0589
cmlit@psu.edu

 

Degrees Conferred:

 

The Graduate Faculty

 

The Program

Graduate programs in Comparative Literature combine a core of comparative literature requirements with courses in selected literatures and further comparative courses, according to each student's interests. For example, programs of study can concentrate on such topics as genres, themes, periods, movements, folktale and oral literature, criticism, and the links between literature and related fields such as theatre or women's studies.

The M.A. is a general humanistic degree that helps prepare students for a variety of situations, including teaching in private high schools or community colleges, or further graduate work. The Ph.D. is a more specialized degree. The Ph.D. in Comparative Literature can be combined with a minor in a professional field such as teaching English as a second language. Other potential combinations include our dual-title Ph.D. programs in Comparative Literature and Asian Studies, Comparative Literature and African Studies, or Comparative Literature and Women's Studies.

Only the faculty members and courses officially associated with the Department of Comparative Literature are listed here. Faculty members and courses in other departments are also available to comparative literature students according to their preparation.

Admission Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to general Graduate School requirements stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin. Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission.

Students with appropriate course backgrounds and at least a 3.00 junior/senior average (on a 4.00 scale) will be considered for admission. The admission process is highly competitive and the best qualified students will be admitted subject to space availability. Students with a degree from a US institution must supply the GRE, all others must supply TOEFL. The language of instruction at Penn State is English. English proficiency test scores (TOEFL/IELTS) may be required for international applicants. Consult the English Proficiency section of the Graduate Bulletin Application and Admission Procedures page for more information. Those international students who provide TOEFL scores do not need to provide the GRE, but are encouraged to submit their scores, if feasible. Most students who do graduate work in comparative literature hold a B.A. or M.A. degree in comparative literature or in a particular language and literature. Students completing degrees in such fields are welcome to apply --as are students in other humanistic fields, such as philosophy or history, if they have studied literature.

For admission to the M.A. program, students should be prepared to study at least one foreign literature in its own language. For admission to the Ph.D. program, students should be prepared to study at least two foreign literatures in their own language. Doctorate-seeking students usually complete the M.A. before being formally admitted to the Ph.D. program, but exceptional students may be admitted from the B.A. level directly to the Ph.D. Students are encouraged to plan a unified M.A./Ph.D. program if they take both degrees here; however, Ph.D. applications are welcomed from students holding or completing an M.A. elsewhere.

Master's Degree Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements stated in the DEGREE REQUIREMENTS section of the Graduate Bulletin.

A minimum of 30 credits at the 400, 500, or 800 level is required, with at least 18 credits at the 500 level. There are 9 credits required in the following core courses: CMLIT 501 (3 cr.), CMLIT 502 (3 cr.), and CMLIT 503 (3 cr.). In addition, 18 credits in comparative literature courses and other literature courses are required, with at least 6 credits in non-Anglophone literature. The culminating experience for the degree is a satisfactory master’s paper completed while the student is enrolled in CMLIT 596 (3 cr.). Students must demonstrate advanced proficiency in at least two languages (one may be English).

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements stated in the DEGREE REQUIREMENTS section of the Graduate Bulletin.  Requirements for the Ph.D. in comparative literature include (1) 9 credits total in 3 required courses: CMLIT 501 (3 credits), CMLIT 502 (3 credits), and CMLIT 503 (3 credits)--with substitute courses if these have been used in the M.A. program; (2) at least an additional 24 credits in literature courses, including course work in the three languages that the student selects, with emphasis on the student's primary literature--students should organize their course work, as much as possible, around a unifying principle, such as genre, period, or theme; (3) passing a candidacy examination; (4) proficiency in two foreign languages; (5) passing a comprehensive examination; and (6) a written dissertation and  passing a final oral examination (the dissertation defense).  The dissertation must be accepted by the doctoral committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

On item (4), the foreign languages are to be prepared at a level that permits thorough literary analysis of texts and related material in those languages.

Other Relevant Information

Students pursuing a graduate degree in comparative literature have individualized programs of study within the requirements specified above. For example, one student may emphasize film and new media; another, the novel. One student may concentrate on earlier literatures; another, on international modernism. One student may be interested primarily in the European tradition; another, in literatures. In such a program, the relationship between student and adviser is important. Each graduate student works with faculty advisers familiar with comparative studies as a whole and with the student's particular area of interest.

Integrated B.A./M.A. Program in Comparative Literature (CMLIT)

The Department of Comparative Literature offers an integrated B.A./M.A. program that is designed to allow academically superior baccalaureate students to obtain both the B.A. and the M.A. degrees in Comparative Literature within five years of study. The first two years of undergraduate course work include the University General Education and Liberal Arts requirements in addition to language and literature study in the major. In the third year, students are expected to define areas of interest in two primary literatures in different languages. In addition, students in the B.A./M.A. program should begin to undertake work in a second foreign language. The fourth year includes graduate-level work in methodology and the student's selection of primary literatures, which replaces comparable 400-level senior year courses. The fifth and final year of the program typically consists of graduate work in Comparative Literature courses as well as the chosen literatures. The program culminates with an M.A. paper.

By encouraging greater depth and focus in the course of study beginning in the third undergraduate year, this program helps students more clearly define their area of interest and expertise in the otherwise vast field of international literatures. As a result, long-range academic planning for exceptional students pursuing doctoral degrees after leaving Penn State, or other professional goals, will be greatly enhanced. The student may also be more competitive in applying for admission to Ph.D. programs as well as for institutional and national grant monies and scholarships.

Admission Requirements

The number of openings in the integrated B.A./M.A. program is limited. Admission is selective based on specific criteria and the unqualified recommendation of faculty. Applicants to the integrated program:

  1. Must be enrolled in the Comparative Literature B.A. program[1].
  2. Must have completed 60 credits of the undergraduate degree program. (It is strongly suggested that students apply to the program prior to completing 100 credits.) Students shall be admitted to an IUG program no earlier than the beginning of the third semester of undergraduate study at Penn State (regardless of transfer or AP credits accumulated prior to enrollment) and no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree, as specified in the proposed IUG plan of study.
  3. Must be accepted without reservation into the M.A. program in Comparative Literature. Students must apply to the program via the Graduate School application for admission, and must meet all the admission requirements of the Graduate School and the Comparative Literature graduate program for the Master of Arts degree, listed above.
  4. Should have a recommended overall GPA of 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) in undergraduate coursework and a minimum GPA of 3.5 in all coursework completed for the major.
  5. Must present a departmentally approved plan of study in the application process. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser as the student advances through the program.
  6. Must be recommended by the chairs of the Department's undergraduate and graduate committees.

A typical sequence of coursework for the integrated program would appear as follows:

  • Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the B.A. in Comparative Literature are listed in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Degree requirements for the M.A. degree are listed in the Master's Degree Requirements section above. Up to 12 credits may be double-counted towards the degree requirements for both the graduate and undergraduate degrees; a minimum of 50% of the double-counted courses must be at the 500 or 800 level. Credits associated with the culminating experience for the graduate degree cannot be double-counted. Students must be admitted to the program prior to taking the first course they intend to count towards the graduate degree. If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.S. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied.
  • The courses that will double count for both degrees include: CMLIT 400Y, CMLIT 501, CMLIT 502, and CMLIT 503.
Year One: 6 credits:

CMLIT 10
CMLIT 100

     
Year Two: 6 credits: Foreign Language (beyond the 12-credit level)
  6 credits: Courses in Literature
Year Three: 9 credits: 400-level courses in Literature, including CMLIT 400Y
  (variable credits) Work in foreign language (credits do not count towards the major, but reading proficiency is required for the M.A. degree)
Year Four: 3 credits: CMLIT 501, 502, and/or 503
  6 credits: Comparative Literature courses
  6-9 credits: 500-level courses in Literatures (at least 3 credits in non-Anglophone literature)
Year Five: 3 credits: CMLIT 501 , 502, and/or 503
  9-12 credits: 500-level courses in Literatures (at least 3 credits in non-Anglophone literature)
  6 credits:

500-level Comparative Literature Courses M.A. paper

Dual-Title Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and African Studies

Comparative Literature doctoral students who have research and educational interests in African Studies may apply to the Dual-Title Doctoral Degree Program in African Studies. The goal of the program is to enable doctoral students from Comparative Literature to complement their knowledge and skills in their primary discipline with in-depth knowledge of prevailing theories on and problem-solving approaches to thematic, regional, or national issues pertaining to African development and change.

The Dual-Title Doctoral Degree Program will provide interested Comparative Literature doctoral students with a multidisciplinary approach that will enhance their analytical capabilities for addressing key issues in African Studies. It will, thereby, add value to their Comparative Literature degree and should increase their competitiveness in the job market. The well-rounded specialist who graduates from the program may be employed in an international setting and have enhanced opportunities for U.S. academic and non-academic positions as well.

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in Comparative Literature and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. Applicants interested in the dual-title degree program may make their interest in the program known clearly on their applications to Comparative Literature and include remarks in their statement of purpose that address the ways in which their research and professional goals in the primary department reflect an interest in African Studies-related research.

To be enrolled in the Dual Title Doctoral Degree Program in African Studies, a student must have the approval of the Comparative Literature department and then submit a letter of application and transcript, which will be reviewed by an African Studies Admissions Committee. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the African Studies Bulletin page. An applicant must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4 point scale) to be considered for enrollment in the dual-title degree program. Students must apply for enrollment into the dual-title degree program in African Studies prior to obtaining candidacy in Comparative Literature.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the requirements of the Comparative Literature doctoral program in which they are primarily enrolled. In addition, they must satisfy the requirements described below, as established by the African Studies Program. Within this framework, course selection is determined by the student with the approval of the Comparative Literature and African Studies academic advisers.

Upon acceptance by the African Studies admissions committee, the African Studies director will assign the student an African Studies academic adviser in consultation with the African Studies admissions committee.

As a student develops specific scholarly interests, s/he may request a different African Studies adviser from the one assigned by the African Studies admissions committee. The student and the Comparative Literature and African Studies academic advisers will establish a program of study that is appropriate for the student’s professional objectives and that is in accordance with the policies of the Graduate Council, the Comparative Literature graduate program, and the African Studies Program.

Requirements for the Comparative Literature and African Studies Ph.D.

The Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and African Studies is awarded to students who are admitted to the Comparative Literature doctoral program and admitted subsequently into the dual-title degree in African Studies. The minimum course requirements for the dual-title Ph.D. degree in Comparative Literature and African Studies are as follows:

  • A minimum of 60 postbaccalaureate credits. Course work accepted for the M.A. in Comparative Literature will count toward the 60-credit requirement. At least 45 credits, exclusive of dissertation research credits, must be in Comparative Literature.
  • AFR 501 (3)
  • 15 credits of African-related coursework at the 400 or 500-level; a minimum of 6 of these credits must be taken from a list of courses maintained by the African Studies program chair.
  • Up to 6 of the 15 credits may come from Comparative Literature, as approved by the student's Comparative Literature and African Studies Program academic advisors.
  • The remaining credits can be taken in AFR or in any department other than Comparative Literature.
  • Of the 15 credits, no more than 6 credits may be taken at the 400-level and no more than 3 combined credits may come from 596 and 599 listings.

The choice of courses in African Studies is to be proposed by the student subject to approval by the Comparative Literature and African Studies academic advisers. The suite of selected courses should have an integrated, intellectual thrust that probes thematic, national, or regional issues and that is complementary to the student’s specialty in Comparative Literature.

Language Requirement

Fulfillment of communication and foreign language requirements will be determined by the student with approval of the Comparative Literature and African Studies program advisers and will meet the existing Comparative Literature requirements. The Ph.D. in Comparative Literature requires proficiency in two foreign languages. The foreign languages are to be prepared at a level that permits thorough literary analysis of texts and related material in those languages.

Candidacy Exam

The dual-title degree will be guided by the Candidacy Exam procedure of the Comparative Literature graduate program. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the candidacy examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable. There will be a single candidacy examination, containing elements of both the major discipline and African Studies.

The candidacy examination committee for the dual-title degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from Comparative Literature and must include a graduate faculty member from the African Studies Program. The designated dual-title faculty member may be appointed from Comparative Literature if that person holds a formal affiliation with the African Studies program.

Doctoral Committee Composition

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for doctoral committees, the doctoral committee of a Comparative Literature and African Studies dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the African Studies Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the doctoral committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in African Studies, the member of the committee representing African Studies must be appointed as co-chair.

Comprehensive Exam

After completing most course work, doctoral candidates for the dual-title doctoral degree in Comparative Literature and African Studies must pass a comprehensive examination that includes written and oral components. Written components will be administered on a candidate’s examination fields according to the current Comparative Literature exam structure, and on African Studies. The African Studies representative on the student’s doctoral committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination. The African Studies component of the exam will be based on the student’s thematic, national or regional area(s) of interest and specialization in African Studies.

Dissertation and Dissertation Defense

Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. Students enrolled in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that reflects their original research and education in Comparative Literature and African Studies. The dissertation must be accepted by the doctoral committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Dual-Title Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Asian Studies

Graduate students with research and educational interests in international education may apply to the Comparative Literature/Asian Studies Degree Program. The goal of the dual-title degree Comparative Literature and Asian Studies is to enable graduate students from Comparative Literature to acquire the knowledge and skills of their major area of specialization in Comparative Literature while at the same time gaining the perspective of Asian Studies.

In order to prepare graduate students for the competitive job market, this program provides them with a solid disciplinary foundation that will allow them to compete for the best jobs in their field. For such students the dual-title Ph.D. in Asian Studies will add value to their degree and their status as candidates. It will produce excellent scholars of literature who are experts in Asian Studies as well. The dual-title degree Comparative Literature and Asian Studies will build curricular bridges beyond the student’s major field so as to provide a unique training regime for the global scholar.

Additional details of the dual degree program are available in separate documentation and from the Asian Studies Program (see http://asian.la.psu.edu/graduate.shtml) and the Department of Comparative Literature (http://complit.la.psu.edu/graduate.shtml).

Admission Requirements

For admission to the dual-title Ph.D. degree under this program, a student must first apply and be admitted to the Comparative Literature graduate program and the Graduate School. Once accepted into the Comparative Literature program, the student can apply to the Admissions Committee of the Asian Studies. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the Asian Studies Bulletin page. The Asian Studies admissions committee reviews applications forwarded by Comparative Literature, and recommends students for admission to the Asian Studies program to the Graduate School. Students already in their first and second years of the Comparative Literature graduate program may also apply to the dual-title program if their applications are forwarded by Comparative Literature. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Asian Studies prior to obtaining candidacy in their primary graduate program.

Students with appropriate course backgrounds and a 3.00 junior/senior average (on a 4.00 scale) will be considered for admission. The admission process is highly competitive and the best qualified students will be admitted subject to space availability. Scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are required for admission.

There are no specific requirements for admissions into the dual-title program beyond the requirements of the Graduate School and Comparative Literature, though applicants interested in the program should also make their interest in the dual-title program known clearly on their application for admission to the Comparative Literature program and include remarks in their essays that explain their training, interests, and career goals in an area of Asian Studies.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for an Asian Studies degree, students must satisfy the requirements of the Comparative Literature program in which they are primarily enrolled. In addition, they must satisfy the requirements described below, as established by the Asian Studies Program. Within this framework, final course selection is determined by the students, their Asian Studies adviser, and their Comparative Literature program adviser.

Upon a student’s acceptance by the Asian Studies admissions committee, the student will be assigned an Asian Studies academic adviser in consultation with the Asian Studies chair. As students develop specific scholarly interests, they may request that a different Asian Studies faculty member serve as their adviser. The student and adviser will discuss a program of study that is appropriate for the student’s professional objectives and that is in accord with the policies of The Graduate School, the Comparative Literature department and the Asian Studies program.

Requirements for the Comparative Literature and Asian Studies Ph.D.

The doctoral degree in Comparative Literature and Asian Studies is awarded only to students who are admitted to the Comparative Literature doctoral program and admitted to the dual-title degree in Asian Studies. The minimum course requirements for the dual-title Ph.D. degree in Comparative Literature and Asian Studies are as follows:

• Comparative Literature 501, 502, and 503
• 15 credits of Asia-related coursework at the 400 or 500 level. At least 6 of these 15 credits will be from ASIA 501 and 502. As many as 6 may come from Comparative Literature, as approved by the student’s doctoral adviser and the ASP director of graduate studies. The remaining credits can be taken in ASIA or in any department other than Comparative Literature.
• An additional 21 credits in literature or theory-related courses, including graduate course work in the three languages that the student selects, with emphasis on the student's primary literature

Particular courses may satisfy both the Comparative Literature requirements and those of the Asian Studies program. Within this framework, final course selection is determined by the students, their Asian Studies adviser, and their Comparative Literature program adviser.

The candidacy examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from Comparative Literature and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Asian Studies program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single candidacy examination, containing elements of both Comparative Literature and Asian Studies. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the candidacy examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for doctoral committees, the doctoral committee of a Comparative Literature and Asian Studies dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the Asian Studies Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the doctoral committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Asian Studies, the member of the committee representing Asian Studies must be appointed as co-chair. The Asian Studies representative on the student’s doctoral committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their doctoral committee and reflects their original research and education in Comparative Literature and Asian Studies. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the doctoral committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Dual-Title Degree Program in Comparative Literature and Women’s Studies

Comparative Literature graduate students who have research and educational interests in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies may apply to the Dual-Title Doctoral Program in Women’s Studies. The program creates a formal structure for training graduate students to describe, analyze, and evaluate the practices, phenomena, and policies that both issue from and structure the experiences and possibilities of women, as well as training for students to analyze how gender and sexuality intersect with literary production in multiple societies. This training cultivates breadth by pushing students to think across disciplines, geographic regions, geopolitical boundaries, domains of practice, aesthetic fields, literary genres, and historical eras. It also balances this breadth with rigor: it combines systematic training in comparative literary research, including working with primary sources in languages other than English, with a thorough grounding in the techniques and intellectual resources of state of the art scholarship on women, gender, and sexuality.

The Dual-Title Doctoral Degree Program in Comparative Literature and Women’s Studies has three broad learning objectives at its core (in addition to the objectives that animate the regular doctoral program in Comparative Literature). Students will leave the program with expert awareness of responsibly produced knowledge and ethical research techniques for producing new knowledge, about (a) the forces that constitute, shape, distinguish, and link the lives of women in a variety of historical and geographic locations; (b) ways to understand the history of women, of gender, and of sexuality in global perspectives and specific local and linguistic contexts, with emphases on the relation of these fields to the history of the aesthetic, as well as to a variety of other economic, social, or philosophical structures that help determine the natures of gender and the lives of women; and (c) the history, content, conceptual options, and ethical stakes of the theoretical debates about the best ways to engage in the field of Women’s Studies.

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in Comparative Literature and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the Women’s Studies dual-title program. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the Women's Studies Bulletin page. Students must have the approval of the Comparative Literature graduate director to apply for the dual-title.  The application must include a statement of purpose that addresses how the student’s research and professional goals intersect with the objectives of the dual-title graduate degree program in Comparative Literature and Women’s Studies. The Women’s Studies Admissions Committee reviews applications and recommends students for admission to the dual-title PhD program.  Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Women’s Studies prior to obtaining candidacy in their primary graduate program.

Students may apply to the dual-title program when they request admission to the Comparative Literature Department, or at any time prior to taking the candidacy exam in Comparative Literature, provided that they a) secure the approval of the graduate director in Comparative Literature, and b) have sufficient funding and time to complete the dual-title requirements. Practically speaking, this will likely mean applying to the dual-title program before completing the second year of study in Comparative Literature.

Degree Requirements

The doctoral degree in Comparative Literature and Women’s Studies is awarded only to students who are admitted to the Comparative Literature doctoral program and admitted to the dual-title degree in Women’s Studies. To qualify for a degree in Comparative Literature and Women’s Studies, students must satisfy the requirements of the Comparative Literature program, in which they are primarily enrolled, and of the Women’s Studies dual-title program.  Except where noted otherwise, students must complete the requirements listed below in addition to completing the general requirements for doctoral study in the Department of Comparative Literature.

 Coursework

The minimum course requirements for this dual-title Ph.D. degree are 18 credits of coursework related to Women’s Studies. Of these 18 credits, 9 consist of the required core course sequence in Women’s Studies:

  • WMNST 501: Feminist Perspectives on Research and Teaching Across the Disciplines (3 credits);
  • WMNST 507: Feminist Theory (3 credits);
  • WMNST 502: Global Perspectives on Feminism (3 credits).

Students also must complete 9 additional credits of Women’s Studies course work chosen in consultation with the Graduate Director in Women’s Studies. Most of these courses (at least 5 credits) should be at the 500 level, but a student may count some 400-level credits, with the approval of the Graduate Director in Women’s Studies. Particular courses may simultaneously satisfy degree requirements in Comparative Literature and in the Women’s Studies dual-title. Students who already hold a master's degree or other graduate credits from another institution may petition the Graduate Director in Women’s Studies to have equivalent course credits accepted.

Language Requirements

There are no additional language requirements for the dual-title degree (the usual doctoral requirements of the Department of Comparative Literature are to be followed).

Candidacy

The dual-title field must be fully integrated into the candidacy exam for the doctoral program. In addition, candidates for the dual-title Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Women’s Studies will be required to present to their committee a portfolio of work in Women’s Studies which includes a statement of the student’s interdisciplinary research interests, a program plan, and samples of writing that indicate the student’s interest in questions taken up by scholars of Women’s Studies.  The candidacy examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from Comparative Literature and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Women’s Studies program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the candidacy examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

Doctoral Committee Composition

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for doctoral committees, the doctoral committee of a Comparative Literature and Women’s Studies dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least two member of the Comparative Literature Graduate Faculty and two members of the Women’s Studies Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the doctoral committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Women’s Studies, the member of the committee representing Women’s Studies must be appointed as co-chair.

Comprehensive Exams

The faculty member representing Women’s Studies on the student’s committee will participate in developing, administering, and evaluating the student’s comprehensive exams. The exam will incorporate written and oral components based on the student’s thematic or regional areas of interest and specialization and may include questions on queer theory, feminist methodology, global women’s studies and sexuality studies in Comparative Literature.

Dissertation and Final Oral Examination (Dissertation Defense)

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their doctoral committee and reflects their original research and education in Comparative Literature and Women’s Studies. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the doctoral committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Student Aid

Teaching assistantships in the Department of Comparative Literature, as well as in related language and literature departments, typically have been available to students taking comparative literature degrees. In recent years, Comparative Literature students have held assistantships in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, and Women's Studies, as well as in Comparative Literature courses. There also is a graduate assistantship position for an editorial assistant to the journal Comparative Literature Studies, which is edited in the department. Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Student Aid section of the Graduate Bulletin. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set forth in the Graduate Bulletin. In addition, the following awards typically have been available to graduate students in this program.


SAMUEL P. BAYARD AWARD
Available annually to a graduate student in comparative literature, selected by the graduate committee of the Department of Comparative Literature. Amount varies.
EDWIN ERLE SPARKS FELLOWSHIPS IN THE HUMANITIES (8)
Available to beginning and continuing graduate students in the following graduate programs: Comparative Literature, English, French, German, History, Philosophy, Spanish, and Communication Arts and Sciences.
FOLGER INSTITUTE FELLOWSHIPS
Penn State is a member of the Folger Institute of Renaissance and Eighteenth-Century Studies. Graduate students in Comparative Literature are eligible for Folger Institute Fellowships to study in seminars and workshops at the Folger Library, Washington, D.C.
TITLE VI CENTER FOR GLOBAL STUDIES ASSISTANTSHIP
Available to beginning and continuing graduate students in Comparative Literature and other programs.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE (CMLIT) course list

[1] A student enrolled in this major must receive a grade of C or better, as specified in Senate Policy 82-44.

 

Last Revised by the Department: Fall Semester 2017

Blue Sheet Item #: 46-01-000

Review Date: 8/22/2017

Faculty linked: 6/5/14; changed to dept head: 4/13/16

 

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