M.A. Track in Comparative Literature
The minimum course requirement for the M.A. degree is 30 graduate credit hours (including no more then three credits of CLT 599 Independent Studies).
Full Information on Graduate admissions and M.A. and Ph.D. degree structure can be found in the Department Handbook (available as a PDF).
A. Course Requirements
The minimum course requirement for the M.A. degree is 30 graduate credit hours (including no more then three credits of CLT 599 Independent Studies). An M.A. candidate is expected to take:
- CLT 501: Theories of Comparative Literature
- CLT 509: History of Literary Criticism
- Three CLT/CST courses numbered 600 and higher
The remaining courses may be distributed among graduate offerings in comparative literature, English, foreign languages, philosophy, history, art criticism, theatre, music, and other appropriate fields. A student must achieve a 3.5 overall grade point average for all graduate courses taken at Stony Brook to receive a degree.
B. First-Year Evaluation
In the middle of the student’s second semester of graduate work, the director of graduate studies prepares a file for the student’s first-year evaluation. It consists of (1) the student’s grades and (2) letters from the professor in all of the student’s classes. Students may submit any other relevant material such as a seminar paper or original essay. The graduate studies committee will evaluate the dossier and decide whether the student should be encouraged to continue in the program.
C. Satisfactory Progress Toward the M.A.
Because so many factors depend on satisfactory progress toward the degree, it is important for students to be aware of and monitor their own progress. The following define the minimum limits for satisfactory progress for full-time students:
- Maintain a 3.5 average, with no course below B-, in each semester of graduate study, as well as complete all incomplete grades by the first deadline. Students who fail to fulfill these requirements in any semester will be automatically placed on probation during the following semester and will be subject to possible dismissal.
- Receive an acceptable first-year evaluation in the spring semester of the first year of study.
D. Foreign Language Requirements
Entering students are expected to have a good command of one and preferably two foreign languages. Students must ultimately be competent in one major and one minor language (non-native speakers of English may offer English as one of the two languages).
All students must have passed the language requirements before they are allowed to take the M.A. examination. To demonstrate competence in the major language, students must take for credit, and earn a grade of B or better in, at least one graduate or advanced undergraduate literature course conducted in the language (final papers may be written in English). Competence in the minor language can be demonstrated by (1) earning a grade of B or better in a graduate translation course or (2) passing a CLT examination to be taken with a dictionary
E. M.A. Examination
The student will take a two-hour oral examination in the second year of graduate study or submit a master’s thesis. The exam measures the student’s knowledge and mastery of literary theory and its history, familiarity with the major texts of world literature, and ability to compose a competent stylistic analysis of literary texts. The master’s examination committee consists of three members of the faculty, at least two of whom are members of the CAT graduate faculty.
Reading List for the Examination:
The student, in consultation with the examination committee, prepares a list of works in each of the following three areas: 1) history of literary theory from the Greeks to the present; 2) a literary genre; and 3) a literary period. The list for (1) is set. Each of the other reading lists will consist of 15 to 20 primary texts.
(The number of required titles for the genre will be increased if the student chooses short works; whatever the genre, the reading required should approximate that imposed by 15 to 20 novels.) The student’s examination committee will review and approve the exam lists before the student submits the signature sheet to the Director of Graduate Studies for final pre-examination review of requirements. At the two-hour oral exam at least two of the three members of the examination committee must be present.
Thesis Substitute for Master’s Examination
Instead of taking the M.A. examination, students may substitute a thesis for the exam. The thesis must be on a substantive topic in comparative literature requiring original research. The student will form a committee of three faculty, at least two of whom must be from the comparative literature graduate faculty, who will supervise the project and give final approval.
F. Advisor and Mentor
The Graduate School requires all students to have an advisor. The director of graduate studies serves as advisor to all entering students during their first year and helps them plan their programs. Before the end of the first academic year, full-time students should choose one, or preferably two, official graduate advisors from the comparative literature graduate faculty. Advisor and student meet regularly to discuss the student's progress and program. Advisors are normally chosen for one year, but students are, of course, free to change advisors and are encouraged to consult with all members of the faculty.
G. Residence Requirements
The University requires that students receiving a M.A. must take at least two consecutive semesters of full-time graduate study, this usually means 12 credits per semester"For general information on Stony Brook University's graduate programs, go to the Graduate Bulletin" Graduate Bulletin
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