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2018-2019 Graduate Studies Bulletin 
  May 19, 2024
2018-2019 Graduate Studies Bulletin [Archived Catalog]

Comparative Literature, M.A.

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Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate basic mastery of the history of literary theory.
  • Students will demonstrate advanced linguistic competence in at least one foreign language.
  • Students will demonstrate basic mastery of two literatures.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of a broad literary culture.

Admission for M.A. (and concurrent M.A. and Ph.D.)

The following are guidelines, not minimums for acceptance. It is recognized that each student is unique, and applicants are considered on an individual basis. Applicants should have a minimum 3.00 GPA in their undergraduate major, evidence of work in literature, and a foreign language. They should have minimum GRE scores of 500/153 on the verbal section and 4 on the analytical section (or scores of 400/146 and 3.5, respectively, for non-native English speakers). An applicant whose native language is not English is required to submit a satisfactory score on the TOEFL or the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam. The minimum acceptable score on the TOEFL is 80 (iBT), or 570 (paper-based). The minimum acceptable overall band score on the IETLS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam is 6.5

Application procedure:

  • Students are invited to go to the Graduate School site and apply online. Paper applications are no longer available. All material should be sent to the graduate school in one packet. This material includes the following:
    • 3 letters of recommendation from instructors familiar with the student academic work, each sent in a sealed official envelope with the recommender’s signature across the seal
    • an undergraduate transcript
    • a 250 word statement of purpose: explain the connection between USC’s programs and your personal goals
    • a writing sample (in the relevant language; English for non-natives of the English language) of between 1000 and 2500 words. This could be a paper written for an undergraduate course or an essay prepared specifically for the application.
  • A five-minute sample of your spoken French, German, or Spanish is required of non-native speakers. Non-natives of English must also demonstrate proficiency in this language by a speech sample. The speech sample should be saved as an mp3 file on a CD.
  • Applicants who wish to be considered for an assistantship must apply by January 15.
  • Candidates WHO DO NOT WISH TO REQUEST FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE should complete the application process no later than June 1.
  • Applications submitted to the Department after June 1 will not be processed for the Fall semester but for the following Spring.

Degree Requirements (33-36 Hours)

Candidates for the M.A. degree must take graduate-level literature courses in one foreign language and study at least two national literatures. The written portion of the M.A. comprehensive is identical to the Ph.D. qualifying exam. There is also an oral exam. Students will write a thesis on a topic chosen by them in conjunction with their committee and the graduate director. Additional information is available on the Web

There is also an oral exam for students who do not continue on to the Ph.D.

2. First Literature: 12 hours

  • 4 graduate courses

3. Second Literature: 6 hours

  • 2 graduate courses

4. Thesis: 6 hours

5. Foreign Languages: 3 hours

Required of all graduate teaching assistants


Requests for further information should be addressed to Director, Comparative Literature Program, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208.

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