The Field of Comparative Literature at Cornell offers a Ph.D. degree in all major areas of literary study and on literary and cultural theory. Because the field is small (about twenty students), it is possible to plan diverse and interdisciplinary programs of study.
Entering students design a program in consultation with the Field Committee, which is chaired by the Director of Graduate Studies. Areas of concentration and principal advisors (the Special Committee) should be selected by the end of the first year of residence. Because course work is completed within three years, the student should have proficiency in two foreign languages. Those intending to specialize in a foreign literature are strongly encouraged to acquire fluency in the relevant language. Students normally take fourteen courses. All candidates are required to do at least one year of classroom teaching as part of the doctoral program.
The Second-Year Review takes place in the third term. Its aim is to enable students to begin focusing on the topics and the fields of research that will form the basis of their A exams. The Admission to Candidacy (A) examination is usually taken in the third year of study and is both written and oral.
The department does not offer a terminal M.A. program (and consequently does not admit students seeking only that degree), but an M.A. degree is granted after satisfactory completion of the A examination. The student then begins work on a dissertation, which upon completion is defended at the oral final (B) examination, administered by the Special Committee.
Subject and Degrees
- Comparative Literature (Ph.D.) (Ithaca)
Concentrations by Subject
- comparative literature