M.A. in Comparative Literature

Please note the M.A. in Comparative Literature is NOT available as a stand-alone degree at this time, and is ONLY achievable as part of the Ph.D. program.

Overview (M.A.)

The M.A. in Comparative Literature requires 36 unit hours of coursework, language requirement, portfolio, and ITG.

The Student is responsible for punctually completing and providing all of the necessary materials(^) for submission to the OGS, and for formatting the dissertation in accordance with its guidelines. 

The Advisor is responsible for assisting The Student in assembling the three member Portfolio Committee, for assisting in arranging a portfolio defense date and location, as well as communitcating M.A. Student progress to the The Coordinator for submission to the OGS via Portal(*).


The M.A. in Comparative Literature requires 36 unit hours of coursework, including  L16 Comp Lit 502: Introduction to Comparative Literature (3 unit hours) and three additional courses in Comparative Literature on the 400 or 500 level (9 unit hours). The remaining 24 hours of course work on the 400 and 500 level are pursued in Comparative Literature or in affiliated departments or programs. These 36 unit hours count toward the Ph.D. requirement. 

Title, Scope and Procedure (TSP)

By the time of completion of the Comprehensive Exams, students should have formulated a dissertation topic and selected a Dissertation Director, as well as two additional readers. The dissertation will need to be comparative.  Ordinarily, the Student submits a Title, Scope and Procedure (TSP) form for approval; this form requires the signatures of the Dissertation Director and two additional readers (collectively known as the Research Advisory Committee), as well as the Program Director.  The TSP form outlines the preliminary dissertation title, a brief abstract, and methodology. The Academic and Administrative Coordinator must receive your completed and signed TSP form to submit to the Office of Graduate Studies on behalf of the student.  The TSP must be completed and submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies at least six months before the month in which the degree is expected to be conferred OR before beginning the fifth year of full-time enrollment in the Office of Graduate Studies, whichever is earlier. 

The Student should work with the Dissertation Director to establish an effective and efficient calendar for submission of work, allowing time for revisions. Once the Dissertation Director has approved a chapter, the student should submit it to the other two readers.  The Student is expected to respect the suggestions for revision from all three of their readers for each chapter as they go along. This process ensures that the dissertation is sound from their different perspectives before the Student submits the completed dissertation to the larger Dissertation Committee for the "defense."

Portfolio and Defense

Students present a portfolio of their work in second year and participate in an oral defense. 

Portfolio Defense

The submission of the portfolio in full will be followed by a one-hour conversation with the committee, at which time the student will receive feedback on the portfolio and advice about future steps. Once this defense and portfolio are approved by the Portfolio Committee, the Portfolio Advisor will email the DGS and The Coordinator for submission to the OGS.

Intent to Graduate

Completed by The Student

The Student must file an Intent to Graduate form for the semester in which they intend to graduate. Deadlines for filing the Intent to Graduate form for each semester are listed on the Graduate School’s online calendar. The Student can access this form by logging onto WebSTAC and clicking on “Intent to Graduate” from the menu. When completing the form, take note of the diploma pick-up and mailing dates that are included in the form as the diploma will be mailed to the address entered.

If the graduation semester changes, a new form must be filed and the Coordinator notified by the Student.

Commencement and Robing Ceremony

Completed by The Student

Once the portfolio and defense has been approved, The Student should contact The Portfolio Advisor for confirmation of the Robing Ceremony for Commencement. Traditionally, The Portfolio Advisor will be present to present The Student with the M.A. robe during the Commencement ceremony.

Reservation to Ceremony

Registration for the Commencement ceremony is required and is separate from the ITG and ordering of regalia. Please register by the deadline online via the Wash U Commencement site.

Reserve Regalia

Please note that the deadline and process for ordering regalia will be announced on the Wash U Commencement regalia site and is taken care of by the Wash U Bookstore and NOT the Comparative Literature program. 

Questions from students may be addressed to the current Comparative Literature Academic and Administrative Coordinator (aka Graduate Program Assistant, or GPA) or the Comparative Literature program at: complit@wustl.edu.