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Graduate Handbook

 

Graduate Degree Programs

 

The Comparative Literature Department (CMLT) of the University of Georgia offers a Master of Arts (MA) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).  In both programs, students have the primary responsibility, in consultation with their major professor and other faculty members, to plan the course work and otherwise to fulfill the requirements for the degree.  In doing so students will take courses in the Comp. Lit. department and in other departments, will read beyond the course requirements to obtain adequate background for their studies, and will conduct independent research in the writing of the thesis or dissertation. 

                This handbook has been prepared by the faculty of the department to aid graduate students working toward the MA and PhD degrees.  Every effort has been made to clarify departmental requirements for each degree.  In addition, the handbook describes the most important requirements of the Graduate School.  It is the responsibility of the student to become familiar with all the regulations of the Graduate School by carefully reading the online Graduate School Bulletin and by consulting, if necessary, with representatives of the Graduate School.  The department stands ready, through the graduate coordinator, the head, and the individual faculty members, to aid and advise students at each step of the program.  In particular, students are invited to consult with faculty members about course plans and course content. 

                The department will consider requests from students for the waiver of any specific requirement in the handbook.  Any such request should be submitted in writing to the graduate coordinator and should include a clear and detailed explanation of the circumstances justifying the waiver.  If possible, the request should be accompanied by a letter of support from the student’s major professor.  Approval of such requests require a 2/3 vote of the graduate faculty. 

                Students are responsible for obtaining and filling out a number of forms as they progress through their graduate program.  Most forms can be downloaded from the Graduate School website.  The following steps will guide you through the current process of accessing, filling out, and filing electronic forms:

 

1.             Go to the Graduate School website: http://grad.uga.edu/

2.             Click on “Find Forms”

3.             Choose the form you need and type in all the information requested in the spaces provided

4.             Print out the form and check the information you have entered

5.             Obtain the appropriate signatures and turn in the form for submission to the Graduate School. 

 

Application

 

Application for admission into either the MA or Phd program for the following academic year, and for financial aid, should be received by January 1.  A complete application includes: A) the application form and fees, all transcripts, and GRE score reports, which are submitted to the Graduate School; B) a CV, a statement of purpose of 2-3 pages, and a writing sample of 12-15 pages; C) 3 letters of recommendation, which may either be uploaded through the Graduate School once the application is received, or sent directly to the attention of the graduate coordinator, Comp. Lit. Department.  The Graduate School also requires foreign applicants to submit TOEFL scores and a statement of financial certification.  Under exceptional circumstances applicants may be admitted at mid-year, but in such cases students are unlikely to receive any financial assistance. 

 

Financial Aid

 

Selected applicants are nominated by the department for the highly competitive Presidential Fellowships and Graduate School Assistantships.  Presidential Fellows receive up to five years of support if they are entering with a bachelor’s degree, and up to three years of support if they are entering with a master’s degree.  Holders of Graduate School Assistantships receive support for the first two years of study, including the first summer; they have no teaching obligations, but are expected to provide 16 hours of research assistance per week, to be determined by the department.  It is imperative that all application materials be received by January 1 in order to be considered for these awards. 

 

                The Graduate School awards a small number of Dissertation Completion Assistantships on a competitive basis for the final year of doctoral study. 

                In recent years the Graduate School has also made small award available, on a competitive basis, for research and travel to conferences. 

                The Comp. Lit. Department awards Teaching Assistantships.  Application for these assistantships should be made to the head of the department.  The deadline for application is March 1 for awards beginning fall semester of the following academic year.  Students holding assistantships of any kind must register for at least 12 hours per semester (9 hours during the summer).  The department will normally provide a maximum of two years of support for the MA and three years of support beyond the MA for the PhD.  Teaching Assistants are expected to make satisfactory progress toward the degree, and to obtain satisfactory reviews of their teaching performance in order to expect continued support.  Teaching Assistantships are awarded through open competition among all applicants.  Support in any one year is therefore not a guarantee of continued support in the future. 

                The Graduate School also offers a limited number of Regents' out-of-state tuition waivers for students not on assistantship. 

 

Master of Arts

 

 

The department considers applicants with a BA degree (or its equivalent) in Comparative Literature or one of the individual languages and literatures (usually English, Romance Languages, German, Russian, or Classics); applicants in related disciplines, such as art history, music, film studies, history, philosophy, political science, and linguistics, who demonstrate a strong interest and a strong undergraduate background in literature; and highly-motivated, highly-qualified candidates from other disciplines. 

 

MA Course Requirements

 

A minimum of 30 credit hours are required, distributed as follows:

 

I.             15 hours of graduate CMLT courses

II.            9 hours of graduate courses appropriate to the student's program of study in other literature and related departments (e.g., Anthropology, Art History, Drama, History, Philosophy, Women's Studies)

III.          3 hours of additional graduate credit

IV.          3 hours of CMLT 7300 (Thesis). 

 

Credit for CMLT 8980 (Independent Study) and CMLT 7300 (Thesis) may not be counted in category I.  All students must enroll for 3 hours of CMLT 7300 the semester in which they are to receive their degree. 

                 At least 3 hours of credit in category II must come from a course in which substantial use of a foreign language is required, as opposed to courses in English or those involving literature primarily in translation.  Students whose native language is not English may not satisfy this foreign language course requirement by courses in their native language, but may do so by courses in the English department or courses in other departments using English translations. 

                The additional course in category III may be in CMLT, another literature, or a related discipline (e.g. art history, music, film, history, philosophy, linguistics, psychology, sociology, anthropology). 

                For MA students, the Graduate School requires that 12 hours of credit be in courses open only to graduate students, exclusive of research (7000) and thesis writing (7300).  A maximum of 6 hours of 7000 may be applied toward the 30 hour requirement. 

                All incoming graduate students are required to take the departmental Proseminar (CMLT 7100), which does not count towards the minimum 30 hours, but can be used toward the Graduate School requirement of 12 hours in courses open only to graduate students.

                All new TA's are required to take the department's teaching practicum, GRSC 7770, which cannot be counted toward the required 30 credit hours.

                The Graduate School requires that students maintain at least a 3.0 average in all courses taken for the degree.  Credit will not be awarded for any grade lower than a “C”. 

                These are minimum course requirements for the degree.  Students are encouraged to take additional courses, including courses in related disciplines and extra independent study, but such additional course work will not count toward the minimum requirements.  Courses beyond the minimum MA requirements may eventually be counted toward the PhD degree, even if they are taken before the MA degree is awarded. 

 

Selection of Advisory Committee and Major Professor

 

During the second semester of residence students should select an advisory committee of three members, including a major professor who serves as advisor.  In accordance with Graduate School policy, the committee is appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School, upon the recommendation of the graduate coordinator.  Students should participate in the process of selecting faculty members with appropriate areas of interest.  It is the duty of the major professor to act as the student’s general academic advisor and to direct the thesis.  The major professor will normally be a full-time member of the Comp. Lit. Faculty at the rank of assistant professor or higher.  In exceptional circumstances a student may petition to have a major professor from another department, to be approved by the Comp. Lit. Graduate faculty.  In such cases the other two members of the committee must be from the Comp. Lit. Department.

 

Program of Study

 

By the start of the semester in which they expect to graduate students must submit a program of study listing the 30 hours of minimum course requirements, including 3 hours of 7300.  The program of study must be approved by the student’s major professor and the graduate coordinator. 

 

Residence and Time Limit

 

The minimum residence requirement is two semesters which do not have to be consecutive.  All requirements for the MA must be completed within six years beginning with the first registration for graduate courses on the program of study.  An extension may be granted only for conditions beyond the control of the individual. 

 

Language Requirements for the MA

 

Candidates for the MA are required to pass proficiency exams in two foreign languages, demonstrating reading fluency in a first language and reading competence in a second.  The exam on the first language requires an acceptable translation into idiomatic English of a passage of prose or verse in that language without use of a dictionary.  The exam on the second language requires an acceptable translation with the use of a dictionary.  Proficiency exams are administered by a departmental examining committee, which shall be sole judge of the acceptability of the translations.  Students are urged to take these language exams at the earliest possible date.  Proficiency in a foreign language may also be satisfied by a letter from the professor of a graduate course taken in that foreign literature. 

 

MA Exam

 

The MA exam is an hour-long oral exam based on a reading list to be drawn up by students in consultation with, and subject to the approval of, their MA advisory committee.  There are two options for the reading list: it may consist of either 1) Western literature; or 2) World literature as represented in a balanced combination of African, Asian, Western, and multicultural literature (see sample reading lists on file in the departmental office).  The exam should be taken in the second year of residency.  In the event of failure, the advisory committee may permit a student to retake the exam once, the following semester.  No more than one re‑examination shall be given. 

 

MA Thesis

 

Candidates for the MA are required to write a thesis on a comparative topic and pass a 30-minute oral final examination on their thesis. 

                The MA thesis should demonstrate the student’s ability to employ research methods and critical skills in the study of literary texts and problems in several traditions.  The major professor must agree to direct the thesis and approve the topic.  Unlike the PhD dissertation, the thesis is not necessarily expected to be an original contribution to the general body of knowledge in the discipline. 

                Before beginning the thesis, students must submit a prospectus describing briefly the nature, scope, organization, and purpose of the thesis.  The prospectus must be approved by the major professor and the other members of the advisory committee.  Students should consult with their major professor as well as the other members of the advisory committee in the process of writing the thesis.  After the major professor has approved the thesis, it is given to the other members of the advisory committee for final evaluation. 

                Instructions regarding the format and electronic submission of the thesis are available from the Graduate School.  It is the responsibility of candidates to make themselves aware of these instructions and to meet all deadlines set by the Graduate School for the receipt of the degree in a given semester. 

 

 

 

Final Examination/Defense of Thesis

 

The final oral exam, or defense, consists of thirty minutes of questioning on the thesis by the advisory committee.  The date of the exam will be arranged by the major professor only after the thesis has been read and approved by the other members of the advisory committee.  At least seven days must pass between the day on which the arrangements for this exam are first specified and the day on which it is actually held. 

 

Doctor of Philosophy

 

 

Under normal circumstances the department admits to the doctoral program only qualified students with an MA (or its equivalent) in Comparative Literature or in one of the individual languages and literatures. 

 

PhD Course Requirements

 

A minimum of 30 credit hours are required beyond those required for the MA, distributed as follows:

 

I.             18 hours of graduate CMLT courses

II.            9 hours of graduate courses appropriate to the student's program of study in other literature and related departments (e.g., Anthropology, Art History, Drama, History, Philosophy, Women's Studies)

III.          3 hours of CMLT 9300 (Dissertation). 

 

No more than 3 hours of CMLT 8980 (Independent Study) may be counted in category I.  All students must enroll for 3 hours of CMLT 9300 the semester in which they are to receive their degree. 

                At least 6 hours of credit in category II must come from courses in which substantial use of a foreign language is required, as opposed to courses in English or those involving literature primarily in translation.  Students whose native language is not English may not satisfy this foreign language course requirement by courses in their native language, but may do so by courses in the English department or courses in other departments using English translations. 

                For PhD students, the Graduate School requires that 16 or more hours be in 8000- and 9000-level courses in addition to research (9000) and dissertation writing (9300). 

                All new TA's are required to take the department's teaching practicum, GRSC 7770, which cannot be counted toward the required 30 credit hours.

                The Graduate School requires that students maintain at least a 3.0 average in all courses taken for the degree.  Credit will not be awarded for any grade lower than a “C”. 

 

Selection of Advisory Committee and Major Professor

 

Before the end of the first year of residence PhD students, in consultation with the graduate coordinator, must choose a major professor and an advisory committee consisting of a major professor and two other members.  The advisory committee may remain unchanged during a student’s entire doctoral program, though changes in the original committee will sometimes be necessary.  It is most important that those who serve on the advisory committee when the dissertation research is undertaken be faculty members knowledgeable in the areas of the student’s research.  The major professor must be a full member of the graduate faculty, and will normally be a member of the Comp. Lit. faculty.  In exceptional circumstances a student may petition to have a major professor from another department, to be approved by a majority of the Comp. Lit. Graduate Faculty.  A student may also choose to have co-chairs of the advisory committee who serve jointly as major professor, and who must then both be full graduate faculty members.  The other members of the advisory committee may be full or provisional members of the graduate faculty.  A total of two members of the advisory committee must be part of the Comp. Lit. faculty.  There may be one external member, not affiliated with the University, on the advisory committee.

 A dissertation must be accepted by two of the three committee members. 

                The advisory committee, in consultation with the student, is charged with planning the student’s program of study.  It is also charged with approving the program of study, arranging the comprehensive written and oral examinations, approving the prospectus for the dissertation, approving the completed dissertation, and approving the defense of the student’s research.  The committee should advise the student of required research skills and other requirements. 

               

Program of Study

 

A preliminary program of study must be submitted to the Graduate School during the student’s first year of residence.  This program of study is submitted to the Graduate School through the graduate coordinator, and requires the approval of the student’s advisory committee and the graduate coordinator. 

                A final program of study, likewise approved by the advisory committee and the graduate coordinator, must be submitted prior to notification of the comprehensive examinations.  It must show all graduate courses relevant to the doctoral program and not just courses satisfying the minimum course requirements. 

 

Residence and Time Limit

 

At least two consecutive semesters of full-time course work must be spent in resident study.  A maximum of six full academic years shall be permitted from the time of the student’s first semester in the PhD program up to admission to candidacy.  A maximum of five full academic years shall be permitted for the writing of the dissertation.  Progress toward the satisfaction of minimal PhD course requirements shall be at a rate of at least 3 hours per semester in residence until the requirements are satisfied. 

 

Language Requirements for the PhD

 

Candidates for the PhD are required to pass proficiency exams in three foreign languages, demonstrating reading fluency in two languages and reading competence in a third.  The exams on the first two languages require an acceptable translation into idiomatic English of a passage of prose or verse in those languages without use of a dictionary.  The exam on the third language requires an acceptable translation with the use of a dictionary.  A student who has passed a fluency exam in a language for the MA will be considered to have also passed it for the PhD.  However, a student who has passed only a competence exam in a second language will be required to pass a fluency exam in that language in order to meet the second language fluency requirement.  Proficiency exams are administered by a departmental examining committee, which shall be the sole judge of the acceptability of the translations.  Students are urged to take the language proficiency exams at the earliest possible date.  Proficiency in a foreign language may also be satisfied by a letter from the professor of a graduate course taken in that foreign literature.  In no case shall the PhD preliminary exams be arranged, or a student be admitted to candidacy, before all language requirements are satisfied. 

 

Entrance Examination for the PhD Program

 

Students who have not received an MA from this department are required to pass a one-hour oral exam comparable to the MA oral exam, to be taken before March 1 of the first year of residence.  The MA exam taken by students who did receive an MA in this department satisfies the requirement of an entrance exam, and such students are considered qualified for the doctoral program.  In case of failure, the entrance exam may be taken again by the end of spring semester of the same year.  A second failure will result in dismissal from the PhD program. 

 

PhD Comprehensive Examinations

 

The PhD exams call upon students to demonstrate the knowledge, both general and specific, within the boundaries of their chosen fields, which they have acquired through course work and independent study during their residency in the program.  The exams consist of both written and oral components to be taken altogether within a 3-week period, usually at the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth year of residency.  For the written exam a student shall have 2 weeks to write three typed papers of 10-20 pages (i.e., 2500-5000 words), one in each of the following three fields:

 

I.             History of literary criticism, literary theory, and methodology of comparative literature

II.            A major literature

III.          A period or genre, considered from the perspective of the literature in at least three different languages or geographical areas. 

 

The papers will discuss and illustrate topics, or a choice of topics, which are set at the beginning of the 3-week period by the student’s major professor and the other members of the advisory committee, on the basis of reading lists in each of the three fields.  Students are responsible for drawing up their reading lists in consultation with, and subject to the approval of, their major professor and committee, about one year before taking the exams (see sample reading lists on file in the departmental office).  In addition to having read the works on these lists, students will also be expected to be familiar with the historical and intellectual background relevant to their areas of concentration, and to have consulted histories of literature and the major interpretations of items on their lists. 

                Students must have passed the written component before taking the two hour-long oral exam, to be held one week after the three papers are turned in.  The oral will cover the same topics as the written exam.  Both the written and oral exams are graded by the advisory committee on a pass/fail basis.  Each of the three papers on the written exam, as well as the oral exam, must be passed by two of the committee members in order to pass the comprehensive examinations as a whole.  If any part of the written exam is failed, the advisory committee will decide whether a student should be required to retake the entire PhD exams, or only the part or parts which were failed.  At least one semester must elapse before taking the exams again; no more than one re-examination shall be given. 

 

Admission to Candidacy

 

Application for admission to candidacy must be filed with the Graduate School at least two semesters before the date of graduation.  Admission to candidacy occurs after all course work has been completed, the language requirements have been satisfied, and the comprehensive examinations have been passed. 

 

The Dissertation

 

The candidate is responsible for choosing a dissertation topic which is comparative in nature and should be connected with the student’s major field of study.  The candidate’s major professor serves as the dissertation director.  Although the dissertation normally will be a work of critical analysis and research, the department may on occasion accept as a dissertation a scholarly translation of a major work of literature, furnished with an adequate introduction and critical annotation. 

                Before beginning the dissertation, the student must submit a prospectus within three months of having passed the Comprehensive Examinations, describing briefly the nature, scope, organization, and purpose of the dissertation.  The prospectus must be approved by the major professor and the other members of the advisory committee in a meeting with the student. 

                When the dissertation has been approved by the major professor, it must be submitted to the reading committee (which consists of the other four members of the student’s advisory committee), one of whose members (who must be a member of the graduate faculty) will be designated chairman of the reading committee.  The major professor may not serve on this committee.  The reading committee will represent the graduate faculty in determining the acceptability of the dissertation and will report to the major professor if the dissertation is approved.  No more than one dissenting vote may be allowed for the approval of the dissertation.  If the reading committee declines to approve the dissertation, the major professor and the Graduate School must both be notified.  The candidate must submit the dissertation to the reading committee no later than the third week of the semester in which the degree is to be awarded. 

 

Final Examination/Defense of Dissertation

 

Once notified by the reading committee that the dissertation has been approved, the major professor will arrange the time and place of the final oral examination in consultation with the graduate coordinator.  This examination must be scheduled no later than three weeks before the end of the semester.  The examination is administered by the advisory committee, with the major professor as chairman.  The student will be examined on the subject matter of the dissertation and required to defend the dissertation.  The advisory committee must approve the defense with no more than one dissenting vote. 

                The Graduate School must receive the Final Defense Approval form and an electronic submission of the corrected dissertation no later than two weeks prior to graduation.  All requirements for the degree must be completed and reported to the Graduate School no later than one week prior to graduation. 

 

General Information for both MA and PhD Students

 

 

Annual Evaluation of Graduate Students

 

All graduate students are evaluated by April 15 of each academic year by the departmental faculty to determine whether they are making satisfactory progress toward their degree.  They will receive notification of this evaluation in writing. 

 

Change of Major Professor or Advisory Committee

 

It may become necessary because of retirement, resignation, or leave of absence of the major professor; or because of incompatibility with the student; or because of a change in the student’s academic interests, for a new major professor to be assigned.  If any of these instances occurs, the student should discuss the matter with the graduate coordinator, and if appropriate, a new major professor will be chosen.  The new major professor will take over all the duties of the former major professor, and in particular must approve the thesis or dissertation topic, even if it was already approved by the former major professor.  Similar changes may be necessary for the other members of the advisory committee. 

 

Application for Graduation

 

An application for graduation must be filed with the Graduate School no later than Friday of the second full week (the first full week for summer) of classes two semesters prior to the anticipated graduation date.  Application forms may be obtained from the Graduate School’s website. 

                Candidates for should periodically check with the Graduate School concerning dates for filing applications for graduation as these dates are subject to change.  Students must be registered the semester in which they complete all degree requirements.

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