Course Requirements

Courses are selected with the guidance of the ICLS Director of Graduate Studies with a view toward the fields the student proposes to present at the M.Phil. qualifying examination as appropriate for the home Ph.D. program.

Points of Credit

20-24 points (minimum six courses), of which 12 points must be taken for a letter grade (not R credit).  Courses must include:

  • The graduate course CPLS GR6100 (prior to 2016, G4900): Introduction to Comparative Literature and Society for a letter grade. Due to the unique curriculum at the Institute, exemptions from this course will not be granted.
  • Two courses chosen in consultation with the ICLS Director of Graduate Studies to emphasize comparative topics. If these courses are not ICLS seminars (with the CPLS course designator), they must be approved by the DGS. One of these seminars must be taken for a letter grade.
  • Two courses focusing on work in a language that is not the primary subject of the dissertation research, reading texts in their original language (even in courses where class discussion is held in English). If the course readings are in English translation, ICLS students must make arrangements with the instructor to read the majority in the original language. A copy of the instructor’s agreement to this arrangement should be sent by email to the ICLS Program Coordinator and DGS to be on file. As an alternative, students may take 2 courses in another discipline, preferably on topics relevant to their research. One of these seminars must be taken for a letter grade.
  • One seminar (CPLS course designator, CLxx can be substituted with DGS approval) on literature and/or literary theory.

Language Requirements

Language requirements vary in each student’s program, but in general the requirement is advanced proficiency in a language other than English, which must be fulfilled before a candidate enters the program (i.e., read at least one language other than his or her native tongue to the standard of an undergraduate major before the candidate is admitted to the program). However, acquisition of knowledge in a second language other than English is strongly recommended.

Language proficiency examinations are arranged through the student’s home department; copies of test results should be sent to the ICLS office at