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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

Liberal Arts

ARCHIVED FILE
Begin Date: Spring Semester 1994
End Date: Spring Semester 2010

Comparative Literature - ARCHIVE

University Park, College of the Liberal Arts (CMLIT)

PROFESSOR CAROLINE D. ECKHARDT, Head

Approaching literature with a global perspective, the major in Comparative Literature crosses the boundaries of geography, time, nationalities, languages, and cultures. The world of literature taught draws upon readings from the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The range includes recognized great books along with less-known works, texts that have received attention since ancient times and new texts by living writers, women's literature, myths and folktales, literary humor, African drama, Jewish fiction and poetry, Japanese and Chinese writing, works by Native Americans, and hero-tales such as the Arthurian legend. Students are challenged to appreciate different literatures, to learn about genres, themes, periods, and further concepts used in the critical analysis of literature, to situate literature within its cultural context, and to relate literature to other areas of creative experience, such as film. A senior seminar clarifies the mysteries of literary theory and provides opportunities for individual projects.

Students majoring in Comparative Literature take courses in the Department of Comparative Literature and in other literature departments. They also develop competence in a foreign language. Study abroad is encouraged: Students may count up to 18 Education Abroad credits toward the major.

Graduates of the Department of Comparative Literature have undertaken careers in teaching, completed advanced degrees in literature, librarianship, law, and similar fields, entered the Peace Corps or other types of government service, and pursued careers in writing and communications.

The department offers several minors (listed here) as well as the major in Comparative Literature.

For the B.A. degree in Comparative Literature, a minimum of 123 credits is required.

Scheduling Recommendation by Semester Standing given like (Sem: 1-2)

GENERAL EDUCATION: 45 credits
(6 of these 45 credits are included in the REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)
(See description of General Education in this bulletin.)

FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR:
(Included in ELECTIVES or GENERAL EDUCATION course selection)

UNITED STATES CULTURES AND INTERNATIONAL CULTURES:
(Included in ELECTIVES, GENERAL EDUCATION course selection, or REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)

WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM:
(Included in REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)

ELECTIVES: 24 credits

BACHELOR OF ARTS DEGREE REQUIREMENTS: 24 credits
(3 of these 24 credits are included in the REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR, GENERAL EDUCATION, or ELECTIVES and 0-12 credits are included in ELECTIVES if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.)
(See description of Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements in this bulletin.)

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR: 36 credits[1]
(This includes 6 credits of GH General Education courses.)

PRESCRIBED COURSES (6 credits)
CMLIT 100 GH;IL(3) (Sem: 1-4)
CMLIT 400Y IL(3) (Sem: 5-8)

ADDITIONAL COURSES (6 credits)
Select 6 credits in literary traditions from CMLIT 001 GH(3), CMLIT 002 GH;IL(3), CMLIT 003 GH;IL(3), CMLIT 004 GH;IL(3), CMLIT 005 GH;US;IL(3) (Sem: 5-8)

SUPPORTING COURSES AND RELATED AREAS (24 credits)
(Must include at least 12 credits at the 400 level)
a. Select 6 credits in genre, period, theme courses from department list (Sem: 1-8)
b. Select 12 credits in literature from department list (6 credits in each of two departments) and/or in literature language, or culture courses offered through an Education Abroad Program with departmental approval (Sem: 1-8)
c. Select 6 credits in foreign language beyond the 12th-credit level (Sem: 1-8)

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 coursework 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 will help the student more clearly define his/her 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 will be 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).
  3. Must be accepted without reservation into the M.A. program in Comparative Literature.
  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.
  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:

Year One: 3 credits: CMLIT 100
  6 credits: Literary Traditions (CMLIT 001, CMLIT 002, CMLIT 003, CMLIT 004, CMLIT 005)
     
Year Two: 6 credits: Foreign Language (beyond the 12-credit level)
  6 credits: Courses in Period, Theme or Genre
     
Year Three: 6 credits: 400-level courses in two Literatures (in different languages)
  (variable credits) Additional work in a second 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
  6 credits: Comparative Literature courses
  6 credits: 500-level courses in two Literatures
     
Year Five: 12 credits: 500-level courses in two Literatures
  6 credits: 500-level Comparative Literature Courses M.A. paper

[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: Spring Semester 1994 (CMLIT); Summer Session 2001 (Integrated B.A./M.A.)

Blue Sheet Item #: 21-04-014 (CMLIT); 28-08-020 (Integrated B.A./M.A.)

Review Date: 4/8/03

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