The BA/MA

The program in Comparative Literary Studies offers a combined BA/MA program in Comparative Literature for outstanding undergraduate majors. Exceptional undergraduates may be able to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in less than the usual period of time.

CLS majors interested in pursuing this option are encouraged to discuss it with the Director of Undergraduate Studies before applying. In order to apply, students submit a statement of purpose explaining their interest in this option and proposed course of study. Students are selected on the basis of the statement of purpose, overall performance in CLS courses, and the recommendation of two CLS faculty members. The selection by the program is a recommendation to the Graduate School for admission. Students are officially admitted to the Graduate School only after their credentials have been thoroughly reviewed and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.

‪CLS offers two paths to receive the MA. Either students may complete the degree requirements for the bachelor’s and master’s degree within four years, or they can complete the bachelor’s and master’s degrees in an extra fifth year. Students can receive their undergraduate degree before completing their master’s degree but cannot receive the master’s degree ahead of their bachelor’s degree.

Neither the Program in Comparative Literary Studies, Weinberg College, nor the Graduate School can guarantee funding for the fifth year. Students are encouraged to apply for outside funding.

Students who decide to pursue a concurrent BA/MA must enroll in the senior seminar in their  junior year in order to free the senior year for writing the MA thesis. Neither the senior seminar paper, nor the expanded Honors Thesis can replace the Masters Thesis. All students receiving a BA/MA in CLS must write both the senior seminar paper and a Masters thesis.  Those student who wish to pursue both degrees within four-years must write their senior seminar paper in the junior year and an MA thesis in the senior year.  To be eligible for enrollment in the senior seminar in the junior year, students need to have completed all other CLS undergraduate course requirements by the end of the sophomore year. Students who pursue the five-year option need to apply to the BA/MA program no later than winter quarter of the junior year.

BA/MA applications require four signatures:  Undergraduate Advisor, Graduate Admissions Officer, Assistant/Associate Dean of WCAS, and the Associate Dean of TGS.

Application deadlines vary based on individual needs.  Please contact the Program Assistant for specific details.

Requirements for the BA/MA program

Nine graduate courses, taken in CLS, the student’s first and/or second literature, and/or another discipline (such as Philosophy, Film Studies) according to the student’s interests, and in consultation with the DGS. One of the nine courses has to be CLS 410. Students can also take one unit of 499 with the permission of the DGS. In the last quarter of their studies towards the MA, students take one unit of 590 in order to write their MA thesis. The general guidelines for the Master Thesis are the same as for the Honors thesis except for length. The Master’s thesis can be a substantial development of the student’s Honor’s thesis (or senior essay, if the student did not do Honors in CLS).  We suggest a minimum of 50 pages, but length should be determined in consultation with the thesis director and the chair or DGS of CLS. The graduate committee of CLS reads and evaluates the thesis and grants the MA.