Comparative Literature

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).

An M.A. candidate is expected to take:

CLT 501:  Theories of Compartive 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.

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

Master’s 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. The student’s advisor normally chairs the committee, and the other two members are chosen by the director of graduate studies in consultation with the student and his/her advisor.

Reading List for the Master’s 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 list, signed by the student and all members of the examination committee, must be submitted to the director of graduate studies for approval by the graduate studies committee at least four weeks prior to the examination date. 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. The student’s committee and project proposal must be approved by the graduate studies committee prior to embarking on the thesis.


 "For general information on Stony Brook University's graduate programs, go to the Graduate Bulletin" Graduate Bulletin


Cover sheet for MA reading list


For detailed information click here
CAT Colloquium Series
Graduate Colloquia will take place on September 24th and November 5th in the Humanities Institute - 1:00 - 2:20 p.m. Details to follow

Fall 2014 CAT Graduate Conference

Topic: Endings
Date: Friday, November 21, 2014 Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: Stony Brook Manhattan

Co-Sponsored Events

September 18 - 20, 2014 -"Global Women’s Cinema Conference"   

September 23, 2014 - Poet, essayist and critic Vijay Seshadri, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

October 22, 2014 -Provost’s Lecture Series -Ruth Bottigheimer "Fairy Tales and City Life: Literature and Society,Generic Shifts and Worldview Changes"           


For detailed information click here


New MA/PhD in Women's and Gender Studies

The Department is pleased to announce that the new MA/PhD program in Women's and Gender Studies has received official certification.  "Click here for more information"


Raiford Guins "Punk archaeologists" explain that they went looking for more than just video-game cartridges in a New Mexico landfill.  

Nancy Hiemstra has been selected to receive the 2014 Graduate and Faculty Research Program in the Arts, Humanities and Lettered Social Sciences.

Robert Harvey has been appointed to the rank of Distinguished Professor.

Izabela Kalinowska-Blackwood is curating a film series at the IWM in Vienna.


Beth Tsai has been selected to receive the 2014 Graduate and Faculty Research Program in the Arts, Humanities and Lettered Social Sciences.

Kudos Newsletter 

July 2014

The Humanities Institute

Cultural Analysis and Theory • Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5355 • Phone: 631.632.7460 • Fax: 631.632.5707
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