Admission Requirements

Candidates for this degree are accepted under the general regulations of the School of Graduate Studies provided that they also satisfy the Centre for Comparative Literature’s requirements stated below. In all cases, their programs must be approved by the Centre.

Admission to the PhD program requires a Master’s degree with an average grade of at least A-. Normally, the master’s degree will be in Comparative Literature; however, students with a master’s degree in a humanities discipline involving literary studies, especially specific language and literature programs, will also be considered. Applicants must already demonstrate an ability to work at the graduate level in one language other than English and to have reading knowledge of yet another language. Occasionally a student will be admitted directly into the PhD program after a Bachelor’s degree.  In such cases, the student must still do the coursework for the MA as part of the work for the PhD.

Program Requirements

Ideally, the PhD program in Comparative Literature should be completed in four to five years. Candidates are required to take four and a half full-course equivalents.

1. A student with an M.A. in Comparative Literature, or its equivalent, will be required to take four and a half full-course equivalents (nine half-courses), two of which must be COL courses.

2. Time-line: PhD students, in close consultation with the Graduate Coordinator and faculty members, are responsible for defining the scope and approach of their plan of study. During the first two years of the program, students complete course work, language requirements, and prepare for the field examination. Course work must be completed within the first two years of the PhD program. Students constitute a field examination/supervisory committee and submit a field proposal no later than May 31 of the second year of PhD study. The field paper is submitted in the early fall of the third year.

3. Language and Literature Requirements: PhD students must demonstrate an ability to work at the graduate level in two languages other than English. An adequate reading knowledge of a third language other than English must be demonstrated before taking the field examination. It is possible to substitute for this last requirement qualification in a non-literary discipline, such as History, Anthropology, Political Science, Philosophy, Religion, Women’s Studies, Cinema Studies, etc. What constitutes qualification in any particular discipline is determined by the graduate coordinator and is normally a sequence of two graduate courses emphasizing method and theory. The assumption is that the exposure to another discipline will be of value for the thesis.

4. Students may pursue independent research for credit equivalent to one half-course at the PhD level, under the direction of an advisor approved by the Centre.

5.  All PhD students are required to enroll in COL 4000Y, a credit/non-credit course, in addition to the agreed upon number of full-course equivalents in their individual program. Normally students enroll in COL 4000Y in the Spring term of the second year of the Doctoral program (PhD 2). The course has no specific content, but it recognizes the work done in preparation for the field examination.

6. When the field examination (an oral exam on the Field Paper) has been completed successfully, the candidate will prepare and defend a dissertation which must be an original and significant contribution to the existing body of knowledge. The Centre for Comparative Literature is not obligated to provide supervision in areas which fall outside the competency, interests or availability of its graduate faculty.

7. The student must be geographically available, visit the campus regularly, and must register as a full-time student. In addition, a full-time student is not permitted to be absent from the University for an extended period or to participate in a program offered by another university without the explicit written permission of the Centre for Comparative Literature.

8. Students’ progress will be assessed at least once a year by the Centre’s Graduate Academic Committee and/or their respective supervisory committees.

9. Failure to satisfy and complete the above requirements in a manner consistent with the Centre’s timeline for completion of the PhD degree will result in loss of good academic standing and guaranteed funding.


Updated: May 5, 2015