B.A./M.A. Program

The College of Arts and Science (CAS) and the Graduate School of Arts and Science (GSAS), offer students in participating departments the opportunity to earn both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in a shorter period of time and at less cost than is normally the case. Ideally, students in this Combined Program can complete both degrees in five years. The Department of Comparative Literature is a participant in this program.

A College of Arts and Science brochure outlining general curriculum, admissions, scholarship and financial aid, and advisement of this combined degree program can be obtained from the College Advising Center, Silver 905. This information can also be found on the CAS Accelerate Bachelor's/Master's Program website. As noted in the brochure, students may apply to the program “once they have completed a minimum of 48 credits toward the bachelor’s degree, but not more than 96 credits or six semesters, whichever comes first.”


Students who are interested in Comparative Literature’s Combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Program and fall within this credit/term range for application should  first carefully review the BA/MA CAS Advising Center brochure, the Comp Lit specific BA/MA program requirements noted below, and the Comp Lit M.A. Degree requirements section at the end of this page.  If you’re still interested and meet the requirements for eligibility as noted in the above sources, make an appointment to consult with Comp Lit’s Director of Graduate Studies; take a copy of your transcript from ALBERT to that meeting. If the DGS agrees that you have things well underway toward satisfying the requirements specific to the Comp Lit BA/MA (as noted below), the next step is to apply formally at the CAS Advising Center.  If your application is approved there, it will be sent to Comp Lit’s DGS for his/her final approval.

Comp Lit Specific BA/MA Program Requirements

To be eligible to apply for the program, applicants for the Comp Lit Combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Program must satisfy admissions criteria outlined in the College of Arts and Science brochure and fulfill the following requirements specific to Comp Lit: 

  • A minimum 3.5 GPA is necessary for admission to and continuation in the program.
  • Must have completed two graduate level courses that will apply toward the M.A. in Comparative Literature by the time of graduation from CAS. Importantly:  1) these courses must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and 2) these courses must be in addition to the courses counted toward the bachelor’s degree
  • Language proficiency in at least one non-English language must be demonstrated by the time of graduation from CAS.  Study in the second non-English language should be underway before graduation from CAS and fulfilled in the full year of Master’s coursework following CAS graduation. See attached “The M.A. Degree” for various ways of demonstrating non-English language proficiency.
  • A writing sample (maximum of 6,000-8,000 words) of a scholarly, academic work is required. The work may be a term paper, a conference essay, or a published article, and must be written in English.
  • Students earning the M.A. in the Combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Program must satisfy the same requirements as those earning the M.A. in the Combined Master’s/Ph.D Program. These rigorous requirements are outlined below.





  • 8 courses (32 points ) TOTAL, of which:
  • 5 courses (20 points) are in the department.
  • 3 courses (12 points) are outside the department (and relevant to the student’s teaching and research goals).

The student must include the three following requirements within the first 32 points:

  1. “Seminar in Literature: Research Methods and Techniques - Practice and Theory” to be taken FIRST MA term at NYU. 
  2. Literary Criticism/Theory before 1800* (NOTE FOR BA/MA STUDENTS: This course is normally offered every other year.  Students in the BA/MA Program should enroll in the “pre-1800” course in their senior undergraduate year or their MA year.)
  3. Contemporary (20th Century) Literary Criticism/theory

* Both theory courses may be satisfied in or out of the department; they need not be survey courses; advisor’s approval required.  If you take a course outside the department to satisfy one of the above requirements, you have the option of having it count for one of the three required “outside” courses, but it need not preclude your taking additional courses outside the department.  Consult your advisor.

The student may transfer up to 2 courses (8 points of credit for GRADUATE classes taken at another institution and not already credited towards a degree (including B.A.).  With an advisor’s approval, the student may count transferred courses towards part of the year-long criticism/theory requirement or as part of distribution requirements.


For the M.A. degree, the students must demonstrate proficiency in two non-English languages.  You may do this in one of the following ways:

  1. Foreign Language Proficiency Exams are administered (for a fee) each March, August, and November by the Office of Academic and Student Life.  Register online at:http://gsas.nyu.edu/page/grad.life.flpe.  Note that registration deadlines are usually a month in advance of the exam.
  2. Native proficiency demonstrated by a degree from a non-Anglophone foreign university. **
  3. A graduate level literature course, taught in the language, (grade of ‘B’ or better) in any of the language departments at NYU. **
  4. An upper level, undergraduate LITERATURE class, taught in the language, taken within two years of your fist registration at NYU for which you received a ‘B’ or better. **

**Note:  if you choose to satisfy your language requirements using any of the last three methods, you must apply for “language equivalency.”  This means that even if you take 3 courses, for example in the Spanish department, or you are from Austria, or you had an undergraduate major in French, and so forth, you will not have proven any proficiency until you have applied for such with the departmental Graduate Administrative Aide.  You are strongly encouraged to apply for language equivalency as soon as you are able -- in the cases of undergraduate equivalency and native speakers, for example, you should apply your first semester.  Similarly, after you have finished a graduate course in a national language, apply immediately.  Failure to do so may result in extremely tedious complications which can interfere with obtaining your degree in a timely manner.

C.  QUALIFYING PAPER (aka Master’s Thesis)

The qualifying paper must be written and approved by the end of your MA year.  The paper is meant to be one which you have already submitted for a seminar and to which you would like to return in order to polish the argument to a “publishable” standard.  In this instance, “publishable” means: that the paper should be grammatically and stylistically beyond reproach; that the issues and arguments of the essay are presented in a comprehensive and knowledgeable way; and that the essay makes a genuine contribution to scholarship and enters into current debates and issues in the field.  Ultimately, the paper should be one which could or will be presented at a conference or published in a journal.  This includes review essays, which often provide excellent opportunity for your first publication.

Guidelines for the Qualifying Paper:

  • It must be typed and legible. 
  • Length is variable, but often ranges from 20-35 pages. 

The final version must be preceded by a title sheet.

  • The Qualifying Paper is read and approved by TWO readers, each of whom MUST SIGN BOTH THE TITLE PAGE AND A “MASTER THESIS READER SHEET” (available from the Graduate Administrative Aide).
  • The readers are to be chosen by the student in consultation with the department.  The first reader is generally the faculty member for whom the paper was originally written.  Students should meet with The Chair or DGS to initiate this process.  At least one of the two readers must be a member of the Comparative Literature Faculty.

Qualifying papers should be submitted to both readers at least two weeks before graduation deadlines (in January, May, and September).  Consult the Graduate Administrative Aide each semester to find out about these deadlines.