1. Course Requirements
2. Foreign Language Requirement
4. Master’s Thesis
6. Progress to Degree
7. Continuing to Doctoral Study
36 credits are required for the completion of the MA in Comparative Literature. 30 credits are completed through coursework in Comparative Literature, a primary literature and a secondary literature, and 6 credits through the Masters’ thesis. In addition, students must complete the MA language requirement (see below). Students are also responsible for knowing the Graduate School rules, which contain information about full-time status, time limits for completion, and other important matters.
MA Coursework Planning Worksheet (a visual representation of course requirements)
COML 5000: Proseminar in Comparative Literature 3 credit hours
COML 5610: Introduction to Literary Theory 3 credit hours
3 other Comparative Literature Courses 9 credit hours
3 courses 9 credit hours
2 courses 6 credit hours
Total 30 credit hours
- For the primary literature, no more than 1 course (3 credits) may be taken at the 4000-level. All other courses must be at the graduate level (5000 and above).
- All secondary literature courses must be at the 4000-level or above.
- The number of 4000 level courses that may be taken to fulfill primary and secondary literature requirements is subject to the Graduate School rule restricting students to a maximum of six credit hours of 4000 level courses at the MA level. All other courses must be at the graduate level (5000 and above).
- Courses jointly offered by Comparative Literature and another department may be counted toward any of the three course area requirements (though never toward more than one).
- By the end of the first semester of study students should, after consultation with the Program Director, decide upon their primary and secondary literatures. A student who wishes to change his or her literatures after the initial declaration may do so only with the written permission of the Program Director.
- MA students who wish to study an adjunct field will be allowed to petition to extend their studies with up to two semesters of extra coursework. Students are reminded that funding may not be provided beyond the second year of the MA.
- The Coursework Planning Worksheet, approved by the advisor, must be turned in to the Graduate Program Assistant each semester by the last day of class. The Coursework Planning Worksheet submitted should reflect all courses taken, as well as the courses that are planned for the upcoming semester.
Students may not normally use independent study courses to satisfy requirements for the MA. Only under exceptional circumstances may a student petition to take one course of independent study in his or her primary literature (maximum 3 credit hours). In such cases, the Independent Study Agreement should be completed and the supervising faculty signature obtained before submitting a written request for approval from the Program Director.
Students whose cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0 at any time during their graduate career may be placed on academic probation or dismissed from the Program. In addition, any course in which a grade less than B is received will not count toward the number of courses required for the degree and must be replaced by another course.
On occasion, students will find it necessary to request an incomplete. Incompletes are intended to allow graduate students who have teaching appointments to balance their responsibilities to their students with their own academic coursework. Generally, incomplete coursework for graduate seminars should be finished by the end of the break between semesters. Students should recognize that incompletes, when not taken care of, can quickly have a harmful effect on their progress by causing them to fall further behind in subsequent semesters. When incompletes are the result of academic difficulties or other extenuating circumstances affecting academic performance, students should meet as soon as possible with the Program Director so that constructive solutions to these difficulties can be worked out.
To maintain satisfactory progress, all students must meet the following requirements concerning incompletes:
- Students may have no more than one incomplete at any time
- Incompletes must be completed no later than the end of the semester following the semester in which the incomplete was taken
Failure to meet these conditions will automatically render a student ineligible for a teaching appointment or fellowship support. Students should be aware that support decisions are usually made in mid-February.
Students must have no incompletes on their record in order to graduate.
Candidates for the MA must demonstrate an advanced knowledge of two modern and/or classical foreign languages. Students must satisfy this requirement by the end of their course of studies. It is advisable for students to research the requirements of the language departments where they intend to take courses – some are very strict about allowing entry to their upper division courses.
Competence in the student’s primary foreign language (whether or not this is also the language of the student’s primary literature) must be demonstrated by receiving a grade of B or better in a 4000 level course in the literature of that language.
Competence in the student’s secondary foreign language may be demonstrated by one of three methods:
- By successfully completing a translation examination (with a dictionary) administered by a member of the Comparative Literature faculty. Students can contact the Graduate Program Assistant to schedule a translation test in Spanish, German or Russian. For languages other than these, it is the responsibility of the student to contact a Comparative Literature faculty member and arrange to be tested.
- By receiving a grade of B or better in a 4th-semester language course offered by the corresponding department.
- By receiving a grade of B or better in a course numbered 4000 or above offered by the corresponding department.
Students who plan to pursue the PhD are strongly advised to adopt the third of these three methods. Students should also note that classical languages (such as Latin, ancient Greek, classical Chinese, classical Japanese, Biblical Hebrew) count as foreign languages.
The Program Director will serve as advisor to students in their first semester in the Program. By the end of the first semester of study students should, after consultation with the Program Director, declare their primary and secondary literatures and their foreign languages.
In consultation with the Program Director, MA students are required to choose a faculty advisor from the Comparative Literature Graduate Program Faculty by the end of their first semester in the program. If a student wishes to work with a faculty member who is not a member or affiliate member of the Comparative Literature Graduate Program Faculty, that non-CLGP faculty member must request affiliate membership in writing (accompanied by a CV) from the Director and Executive Committee. Students should meet with their advisor a minimum of one time each semester. Initially the advisor should be someone who works in a field of interest, and who can guide the student in choosing his or her courses. As the student’s interests become specific it is natural that the faculty advisor may change. The initial advisor may or may not be the same person chosen as advisor for the thesis.
Courses for the upcoming semester are announced by October 1 and March 1 every year. Each student should meet with their advisor during the months of March and October to decide a class schedule for the next semester. The Coursework Planning Worksheet, signed by the advisor, must be turned in to the Graduate Program Assistant each semester by the last day of classes. The Coursework Planning Worksheet submitted should reflect all courses taken as well as the courses that are planned for the upcoming semester.
The Master’s thesis (6 credit hours) is normally submitted and defended in an oral examination during the candidate’s fourth semester. The thesis is expected to present original research and should be no less than 30 pages long excluding notes and bibliography. Students may either develop a special topic in conjunction with their advisor or, with their advisor’s consent, revise a research paper written for a Comparative Literature course.
The thesis is read by a committee of three professors, including the candidate’s advisor. A majority of the thesis committee must be members of the Comparative Literature Graduate Program Faculty. The Committee Declaration Form must be submitted to the Graduate Program Assistant for approval by the Program Director by the end of the second week of the semester in which the thesis will be completed.
An oral defense of the thesis will take place no later than one month after its submission to the thesis committee. A copy of the thesis should also be filed with the Graduate Program Assistant. Students must consult the Graduate School’s online Graduation Packet for the defense date deadline. The student is responsible for scheduling the defense, which is normally held in the Program’s conference room (see the Graduate Program Assistant to schedule this room). Graduate School Rules require that all members of the thesis committee participate in the defense.
While writing the thesis, students must register for six total thesis credit hours (COML 6950) under their thesis advisor.
During the final semester of the program there are many administrative steps to be followed in order to graduate. Students should consult the Graduate School’s online Graduation Packet for instructions. The timely completion of these steps is the responsibility of the student. The Graduate Program Assistant is available as a resource to guide students through the process and students are encouraged to meet with him or her.
Students must submit the Application for Diploma and the Candidacy Application, available from the Graduate Program Assistant, the semester they intend to graduate. These forms are due to the Graduate School. The due date is available on the Graduate School’s online Graduation Packet. The Graduate Program Assistant must receive copies of all graduation paperwork for the student’s file. Graduating students must notify the Graduate Program Assistant by the 4th week of the semester they intend to graduate, which coincides with the Application for Diploma and Candidacy Application due date.
The usual timeline followed by MA students is as follows:
1st semester: 3 courses (9 hours)
2nd semester: 3 courses (9 hours)
3rd semester: 3 courses (9 hours)
4th semester: 1 course plus 6 thesis hours (9 hours)
As long as students have registered for the number of credit hours required by the Graduate School during their course of studies and have received approval from the Program Director, they may complete their studies in less time than the model prescribes.
Satisfactory Progress toward the Degree
Satisfactory progress is defined as meeting the timeline and requirements described above, adhering to the incompletes policy, meeting the minimum GPA requirement, and maintaining continuous enrollment. Students who do not remain continuously enrolled from the time of their initial enrollment in the graduate program must reapply for admission unless their absence has been approved through the Time Off Program. Any departure from these requirements must be approved by written petition to the Program Director and the student’s faculty advisor. Students who do not follow this requirement will be asked to leave the Program.
The Graduate Program Assistant will perform a review during the winter and summer breaks and will notify the Program Director and appropriate faculty advisors of students who are not making satisfactory progress and have not filed the required petition. The Program Director will determine which students are ineligible to continue and will direct the Graduate Program Assistant to remove those students from their classes for the upcoming semester.
The goal of the Comparative Literature Graduate Program is to create professionals in the field of Comparative Literature. Students who are having difficulty maintaining satisfactory progress are encouraged to discuss their circumstances at the earliest opportunity with the Program Director and their faculty advisor. Options available include leave of absence or making use of the Time Off Program until they can return to their studies full-time. Students who fall more than one semester behind will become ineligible for teaching appointments and fellowship support unless their petition is approved by their faculty advisor and the Program Director.
All MA degree candidates who wish to continue to doctoral study in Comparative Literature at the University of Colorado must apply for admission to the doctoral program at the regular time. Information on application requirements may be found on the program website. Applicants should note that successful completion of the MA program does not guarantee admission to the PhD program.