Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture

Graduate Degrees

Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture Doctoral Program

Application deadline: December 1

Through the comparative studies in literature and culture doctoral program (CSLC), students pursue master’s and doctoral degrees in one of three tracks: comparative media and culture; comparative literature; national literatures and cultures (French and Francophone Studies, Slavic Languages and Literatures, or Spanish and Latin American Studies). The three tracks share a required core curriculum.

General Admission and Application Requirements

Applications are made to CSLC for the Ph.D. in one of the three tracks.

Successful applicants will have: a B.A. in a relevant discipline; satisfactory scores in both the verbal and quantitative general test of the Graduate Record Examinations; satisfactory grades on undergraduate or previous M.A. course work and, if appropriate, a satisfactory score on the TOEFL or IELTS examination; and advanced competence in relevant languages. Applications must also include a written statement indicating the applicant’s interests in the field and proposed areas of study; a sample of scholarly or critical writing on a relevant subject; and three letters of recommendation.

Although candidates are not admitted who wish to pursue solely the M.A., the degree may be awarded ­either as a terminal degree or as a transitional degree in the course of Ph.D. study.

General Degree Requirements

These degrees are under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School. Refer to the Requirements for Graduation section and the Graduate School section of this catalogue for general regulations. To be applied toward the degrees, courses must be ­accepted by the Graduate School.

Students may transfer up to 4 units toward the M.A. and 30 units toward the Ph.D.

For specific degree requirements in each track, see below.

Track I: Comparative Media and Culture

The primary goal of the track in comparative media and culture is to prepare students to engage in original research and teaching after acquiring: a broadly based knowledge of the formal specificity and possibilities of different print, visual, sound and digital media; an understanding of the development of different media within their specific cultural and linguistic contexts; and a knowledge of the principles of criticism and theory ­essential to the analysis, interpretation and evaluation of individual works.

Master of Arts, Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (Comparative Media and Culture)

Course Requirements

Completion of at least eight courses (29–32 units) distributed as follows: CSLC 501, CSLC 502 and CSLC 503; one course in a non-Anglophone literary or cultural tradition (CLAS, EALC, FREN, SLL or SPAN); four additional courses in fields relating to the ­student’s program, of which at least two are in CSLC. No more than one of these eight courses may be in directed research (CSLC 590).

First-Year Review

The program conducts a thorough review of all first-year students at the end of the second semester. To be permitted to continue doctoral work, students must receive a satisfactory evaluation in this review.

Track I Field Examination

A written exam based on a reading list must be successfully passed by all students in the track. It is normally taken at the end of the semester in which M.A. course work is completed.

Doctor of Philosophy, Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (Comparative Media and Culture)

Course Requirements

In addition to the M.A. course requirements listed above, six additional 4-unit courses are required, distributed as follows: one of the following: COLT 602, CSLC 601 or CSLC 603; two courses in non-Anglophone literary or cultural traditions; three additional courses in CSLC or in fields related to the study of media and culture. Students will also complete the professional development sequence, CSLC 600 and CSLC 700, which are 2-unit courses and offered only as credit/no credit. No more than two of the total required courses may be in directed research (590 or 790).

Foreign Language Requirements

Students must successfully complete at least three advanced courses (400-level or higher) in the original language of a tradition other than Anglophone.

Track I Field Examination

See the requirement in the M.A. section.

Qualifying Examination

To be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D., students must pass this examination after all course work has been completed.

Dissertation Defense

An oral defense of the dissertation must be satisfactorily completed before the dissertation can be filed with the Graduate School.

Awarding of Degree

The degree of Ph.D. in Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (Comparative Media and Culture) is conferred when all of the degree requirements have been completed satisfactorily.

Track II: Comparative Literature

The primary goal of graduate study in the comparative literature track is to prepare students to engage in original research and teaching after acquiring: a broadly based knowledge of literature’s formal or generic development extending across linguistic boundaries; an understanding of literature’s historical development within a number of specific cultural or ideological contexts; and a knowledge of the principles of literary criticism and theory essential to the analysis, interpretation and evaluation of individual works. The core of the discipline of comparative literature is advanced competence in several languages allowing research in their literary traditions.

Master of Arts, Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (Comparative Literature)

Course Requirements

Completion of at least eight courses (29–32 units) distributed as follows: CSLC 501, CSLC 502 and CSLC 503; three courses in a first literary tradition; two courses in a second literary tradition. No more than one of these eight courses may be in directed research (590).

First-year Review

The program conducts a thorough review of all first-year students at the end of the second semester. To be permitted to continue doctoral work, students must receive a satisfactory evaluation in this review.

Track II Field Examination

A written exam based on a reading list must be successfully passed by all students in the track. It is normally taken at the end of the semester in which M.A. course work is completed.

Doctor of Philosophy, Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (Comparative Literature)

Course Requirements

In addition to the M.A. course requirements listed above, six additional 4-unit courses are required, distributed as follows: COLT 602 and two other courses in CSLC, COLT or comparative fields relating to the student’s program; two additional courses in the first literary tradition; one course in a third literary tradition. Students will also complete the professional development sequence, CSLC 600 and CSLC 700, which are 2-unit courses and offered only as credit/no credit. No more than two of the total required courses may be in directed research (590 or 790).

Track II Field Examination

See the requirement in the M.A. section.

Foreign Language Requirements

Students must successfully complete at least three advanced courses (400-level or higher) in the original languages of two literary traditions other than Anglophone (two courses in one language and one in the other). Students will also complete a literary analysis exercise in their strongest non-native language outside their major literary tradition. This exercise is normally done in conjunction with the field examination.

Comparative Field Exercise

A 30–40 page paper with bibliography in a comparative field related but not central to the major literary tradition in which the student plans to write his or her dissertation is required.

Qualifying Examination

To be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D., students must pass this examination after all course work has been completed.

Dissertation Defense

An oral defense of the dissertation must be satisfactorily completed before the dissertation can be filed with the Graduate School.

Awarding of Degree

The degree of Ph.D. in Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (Comparative Literature) is conferred when all of the degree requirements have been completed satisfactorily.

Track III: National Literatures and Cultures

French and Francophone Studies

The majority of students pursue the doctorate in comparative studies in literature and culture (French and Francophone Studies) in preparation for a career of teaching and research at the college or university level in the field of French and Francophone literature and cultural studies. Students preparing for these careers must obtain a broad knowledge of major French and Francophone literary texts and traditions from the Middle Ages to the present, which is achieved through a combination of course work and exams. They should also develop the intellectual depth that allows them to produce an original dissertation in a timely manner.

Master of Arts, Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (French and Francophone Studies)

Course Requirements

Completion of at least 8 courses (29–32 units) distributed as follows: (1) CSLC 501, CSLC 502 and CSLC 503; two core courses, FREN 501 and 503; (3) three additional courses in French or, with permission, in a related field. No more than two of the eight courses may be at the 400 level and no more than one course may be in directed research (590).

First-year Review

The program conducts a thorough review of all first-year students at the end of the second semester. To be permitted to continue doctoral work, students must receive a satisfactory evaluation in this review.

Track III (French) Comparative Field Exercise

The exam consists of the oral defense of a paper developed in consultation with a faculty adviser. It is normally taken at the end of the semester in which M.A. course work is completed.

Doctor of Philosophy, Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (French and Francophone Studies)

Course Requirements

In addition to the M.A. course requirements listed above, at least six additional 4-unit courses are required distributed as follows: (1) CSLC 603, and one additional course from the CSLC advanced seminar sequence (CSLC 601 or COLT 602); (2) four additional courses in French or, with permission, in a related field. Students will also complete the professional development sequence, CSLC 600 and 700, which are 2-unit courses and offered only as credit/no credit. No more than two of the total required courses may be in directed research (590 or 790).

Language Requirement

The language requirement may be fulfilled either by successfully completing a course at the 400-level or above taught in a language other than French or English or by passing a reading examination in the relevant language. Students confer with the graduate adviser to decide which option is most appropriate. This requirement must be fulfilled at least 60 days before the qualifying examination.

Track III (French) Field Examination

An oral exam based on a reading list must be successfully passed by all students in the track.

Qualifying Examination

To be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D., students must pass this examination after all course work has been completed.

Dissertation Defense

An oral defense of the dissertation must be satisfactorily completed before the dissertation can be filed with the Graduate School.

Awarding of Degree

The degree of Ph.D. in Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (French and Francophone Studies) is conferred when all of the degree requirements have been completed satisfactorily.

Slavic Languages and Literatures

The doctorate in Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (Slavic Languages and Literatures) is designed to prepare students for a career of teaching and scholarship at the university level. It provides a thorough grounding in Russian literary and cultural history as well as with the theoretical perspectives current in the field. The linguistic component of the curriculum together with the experience as a teaching assistant in Russian language courses that many students gain also serves as preparation for positions involving language teaching. Depending on departmental offerings, further study in a second Slavic language and culture may also be possible.

Master of Arts, Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (Slavic Languages and Literatures)

Course requirements

Completion of at least eight courses (27–29 units) distributed as follows: CSLC 501, CSLC 502 and CSLC 503; at least five courses in SLL including, for non-native speakers of Russian, 8 units of SLL 500, and for all students SLL 501, SLL 516 and either SLL 530 or SLL 532. No more than one of the eight courses may be in directed research (590).

First-year review

The program conducts a thorough review of all first-year students at the end of the second semester. To be permitted to continue doctoral work, students must receive a satisfactory evaluation in this review.

Language requirements

Non-native speakers of Russian must successfully complete 8 units (4 semesters) of SLL 500 Topics in Advanced Russian and pass a proficiency exam in the language.

Track III Field Examination (Slavic)

A written exam based on a reading list must be successfully passed by all students in the track. It is normally taken at the end of the semester in which M.A. course work is completed.

Doctor of Philosophy, Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (Slavic Languages and Literatures)

Course Requirements

In addition to the M.A. course requirements listed above, at least eight courses (26–29 units) are required distributed as follows: COLT 602, CSLC 601, or CSLC 603; SLL 510 or SLL 512, SLL 545, SLL 546 and SLL 555; two courses selected from SLL 650, SLL 660 and SLL 665; one additional courses in SLL, CSLC or another relevant field. Students will also complete the professional development sequence, CSLC 600 and CSLC 700, which are 2-unit courses and offered only as credit/no credit. No more than two of the total required courses may be in directed research (590 or 790).

Qualifying Examination

To be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D., students must pass this examination after all course work has been completed.

Dissertation Defense

An oral defense of the dissertation must be satisfactorily completed before the dissertation can be filed with the Graduate School.

Awarding of Degree

The degree of Ph.D. in Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (Slavic Languages and Literatures) is conferred when all of the degree requirements have been completed satisfactorily.

Spanish and Latin American Studies

The Spanish and Latin American Studies track in comparative studies in literature and culture provides an optimal academic environment for students interested in advanced studies and research in Spanish and Latin American literature and culture studies. Students pursue a course of study designed to develop a broad knowledge of the subject matter within the framework of comparative studies as well as current developments in the field and are encouraged to devise individualized programs of specialization in keeping with the highest standards of scholarship.

Master of Arts, Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (Spanish and Latin American Studies)

Course Requirements

Students are required to complete at least eight courses (32 units), distributed as follows: CSLC 501, CSLC 502 and CSLC 503; SPAN 501; four additional Spanish courses or, with permission, courses in a related field. Students specializing in the medieval and early modern periods are encouraged to take a course in the history of the Spanish language. No more than one of the eight courses may be in directed research (590).

First-year Review

The program conducts a thorough review of all first-year students at the end of the second semester. Students must receive a satisfactory evaluation to be permitted to continue to doctoral work.

Language Requirement

Reading knowledge of a language other than Spanish and English must be demonstrated either by successfully completing a course at the 400-level or above taught in that language or by passing a reading examination in the language. Students confer with the graduate adviser to decide which option is most appropriate.

Track III Field Examination (Spanish)

A written exam based on a reading list must be successfully passed by all students in the track. It is normally taken at the end of the semester in which M.A. course work is completed.

Doctor of Philosophy, Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (Spanish and Latin American Studies)

Course Requirements

In addition to the M.A. course requirements listed above, six additional 4-unit courses are required distributed as follows: one of the following: COLT 602, CSLC 601 or CSLC 603; five additional courses in Spanish or, with permission, courses in a related field. Students will also complete the professional development sequence, CSLC 600 and CSLC 700, which are 2-unit courses and offered only as credit/no credit. No more than two of the total required courses may be in directed research (590 or 790).

Language Requirement

Reading knowledge of two languages in addition to Spanish and English must be demonstrated either by successfully completing a course at the 400-level or above taught in the languages or by passing a reading examination in the languages. Students confer with the graduate adviser to decide which option is most appropriate. This requirement must be fulfilled at least 60 days before the qualifying examination.

Qualifying Examination

To be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D., students must pass this examination after all course work has been completed.

Dissertation Defense

An oral defense of the dissertation must be satisfactorily completed before the dissertation can be filed with the Graduate School.

Awarding of Degree

The degree of Ph.D. in Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (Spanish and Latin American Studies) is conferred when all of the degree requirements have been completed satisfactorily.

Certificate in Foreign Language Teaching

This credential provides certification in the theory and practice of second or foreign language teaching for student language teachers concurrently enrolled in graduate degree programs in foreign languages or related graduate programs at USC; for graduates of such programs who are teaching languages; for external candidates concurrently enrolled in similar programs at accredited colleges or universities; or for graduates of such programs who are teaching languages. The certificate is meant to supplement graduate study in the literature or linguistics of foreign languages. It is also meant to supplement classroom teaching. Refer to the Department of Spanish and Portuguese for course work requirements.