Language and Literature Track

This track of the ICLS Certificate in Comparative Literature and Society is open to PhD candidates in Classics, EALAC, English, French, German, Italian, LAIC, MESAAS, and Slavic Languages at Columbia University. During the first two years of coursework, the ICLS Certificate student should check in at least once a year with the DGS to be sure their coursework is on track. The student will document these meetings by updating the ICLS Certificate Requirements Worksheet.

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

  • 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 read the majority in the original language. This agreement must be documented with an email between the student, the course instructor, and the ICLS DGS. One of these seminars must be taken for a letter grade.
  • The graduate course CPLS GR6100: 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 designation), they must be approved by the DGS. One of these seminars must be taken for a letter grade.
  • One seminar (CPLS course designation) on literature and/or literary theory.

Language Requirements

Language requirements vary in each student’s departmental program, but an ICLS Certificate candidate in the Language and Literature track is expected to:

  • 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,
  • and to acquire the same ability in at least two more languages before taking the MPhil qualifying examination. As the alternative to the second additional required language, students may present a sequence of three courses emphasizing method and theory in another discipline.

Language proficiency examinations are arranged through the student’s home department; copies of test results should be sent to the ICLS office. It is assumed by ICLS that works in the student’s area of specialization are read in the original.

For successful completion of the Certificate, the student must also meet the MPhil Qualifying Examination requirements, pass the ICLS Dissertation Prospectus Review, and meet the ICLS Dissertation Defense requirement. Students are required to attend at least one ICLS Prospectus Workshop before submitting their prospectus for review at ICLS and, during their dissertation writing stage, they are required to attend and strongly encouraged to present at the ICLS Graduate Colloquium.



 The Heyman Center for the Humanities, Room B-101
74 Morningside Drive
New York, NY, 10027
  (212) 854-4541
  (212) 854-3099