Comparative Literature


Students are required to complete 16 term courses, at least 7 of these in the Department of Comparative Literature (including the comparative literature proseminar). Students must take at least 10 courses in the field of Renaissance Studies (offered in several departments), including 2 terms of the Renaissance Studies Core Course and 3 courses in two disciplines other than literature (such as History, History of Art, or Religious Studies). At least 3 of a student’s overall list of courses must be in literary theory, criticism, or methodology; at least 2 must be completed with the grade of ‘honors’; at least one course each on poetry, narrative fiction and drama, and at least one course each in ancient or medieval literature and Enlightenment or Modern literature. In general students should take a wide range of courses with a focus on one or two national or language-based literatures.

Language Requirement:

Latin and Italian, as set by Renaissance Studies – one hour of Renaissance Latin prose; one hour of sixteenth-century Italian prose, one of modern Italian scholarship – and two additional languages, at least one of them European.

Oral Examination and related matters:

The joint oral exam will consist of seven 20 minute questions (2 topics in Renaissance literature from a comparative perspective, 3 on non-Renaissance literature, including at least one theoretical or critical question, and two questions on Renaissance topics in non-literary disciplines. Orals should be completed no later than the end of the sixth semester, and a dissertation prospectus completed in September of the fourth year.


Procedures regarding the dissertation will follow departmental practice, though the final readers will normally include at least one member of the Renaissance Studies Executive Committee.