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. Applicants may bring an established creative practice to the program: such applicants wishing to incorporate creative research methodologies into their dissertation should acquaint themselves with this option and indicate this interest at the time of application. The preferred path of entry to the PhD is with an M.A. in Comparative Literature or a related discipline. While there is the possibility of Direct Entry to the PhD from an undergraduate B.A. program, this option is not standard. If you would like to explore the possibility of Direct Entry, you will need to contact the Associate Director, Professor John Ricco, for more information and for permission to submit a Direct Entry application. If a student were to be admitted through Direct Entry, 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 MA in Comparative Literature or its equivalent must take at least 3.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs), of which a minimum of 2.0 FCEs must be COL courses. A student who has an MA in a humanities discipline involving literary studies, especially specific language and literature programs, may be required to take more courses. The actual number of courses required for the PhD will be established at the time of admission through consultation with the Director/Associate Director.

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. PhD students must demonstrate graduate language proficiency in three non-English languages. Please see information on language requirements.

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 advisory committees. The Centre will automatically schedule advisory committee meetings in March for new PhD candidates and for all students who have achieved candidacy and have not had an advisory committee meeting during the previous eleven months.

9. When the field examination 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. This dissertation may include a creative research component.

10. 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.

Statement on Indigenous Languages:

The Centre for Comparative Literature is committed to supporting work at the graduate level involving Indigenous languages from Turtle Island (North America). We welcome applications working with an Indigenous language or languages as part of the proposed plan of study. These may include Anishnaabemowin, Iroquoian languages, Inuktitut or other languages. The Centre will seek advice and support from Indigenous language experts and educators to help determine what constitutes work at the graduate level for the purposes of satisfying a language requirement. Applicants may be interested in our page on “Indigenous Futures at the Centre for Comparative Literature”

Updated: August 18, 2022