Resources for Current Students | LSU Comparative Literature

Requirements for Current Students


Stage 1: Coursework

  • CPLT 7120 (x2)
  • CPLT 7130 (x2)
  • CPLT 7140 or CPLT 7150
  • CPLT 7010
  • CPLT 7020

Students who enter the program with a B.A. are required to take 48 credit hours of course work. Ph.D. students entering the program with an M.A. in an appropriate discipline from LSU are required to take all required Comparative Literature courses, at least 18 credit hours of relevant 7000-level course work. This ordinarily consists of two semesters of course work.

Stage 2: The General Exam

  1. A written prospectus of the student’s planned dissertation. The prospectus is usually ten thousand words in length; it explains the hypothesis to be demonstrated; includes a review of critical literature pertinent to the study; enumerates and describes the individual chapters; contains a detailed (preferably annotated) bibliography, an outline and a timeline of when the work will be completed.
  2. Written examination questions treating two of the three reading/study lists. 3)  An oral component, based on the evaluation of the prospectus, the two written exams, and the materials contained in all three reading lists.

Stage 3: Writing the Dissertation

Stage 4: Dissertation Defense

Students Handbook: 

2019 Handbook for Graduate Students


Program Requirements

Graduate School Requirements

Graduate students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the Graduate School regulations governing all graduate study at LSU. These regulations appear in the current General Catalog. Of particular importance is the information contained in the sections “Admission and General Information,” “General Graduate School Regulations,” and “Requirements for Advanced Degrees.” These sections deal with such matters as minimum admissions requirements, application procedures, types of admission, residency requirements, minimum and maximum course loads, time limits on degree programs, and course, examination, thesis and dissertation requirements for the Ph.D. What follows is a guide to additional regulations governing graduate study on the Program in Comparative Literature.

Program Requirements

Students in the Program in Comparative Literature are required to study literature and criticism in at least three languages. They are also responsible for determining, in consultation with their faculty advisory committee, three broadly defined “areas of concentration” that will guide them in designing a curriculum suited to their individual interests and inspirations.

Course Requirements

The Program is organized around a simple core curriculum.

All students are required to take both CPLT 7010 (History of Literary Theory and Criticism: From Antiquity to Romanticism) and CPLT 7020 (History of Literary Theory and Criticism: From the Late Nineteenth Century to the Present).

All Ph.D. students must take both CPLT 7120 (Topics in the Theory of Criticism) and CPLT 7130 (Topics in Comparative Literature) at least twice. Students are also required to take CPLT 7140 (Topics in Interdisciplinary Study) at least once. Since the specific topics of these three courses differ from semester to semester, each may be taken more than once, up to a maximum of 9 credit hours.

For all students, the distribution of the remaining courses required for the degree is designed by the student in consultation with his or her Major Professor and Advisory Committee. In all cases, a primary aim is to make sure that the Comparative Literature graduate has sufficient training in at least one national literary tradition (e.g., English, French, Spanish) to compete effectively in today’s academic job market.

Additional Requirements

All students must demonstrate advanced reading ability (proficiency) in three languages, of which English or the student’s native language may be one. Proficiency in the second language must be demonstrated in the first year, and in the third language before the end of the second year of residency, by passing a departmentally-administered examination or by performing satisfactory relevant graduate course work at LSU, as attested by a member of the LSU faculty.

All students must pass a general examination at or near the end of course work, assessing the student’s command of the three areas of his or her concentration. This exam is known as the “PhD General Examination.”Students entering with a B.A. who decide to pursue an M.A. in English, French, Hispanic Studies, or Philosophy and Religious Studies must complete the degree requirements for the M.A. in the discipline of their choice. All Ph.D. students must complete and defend a satisfactory dissertation on an approved topic.

Graduate Minor Requirements in Comparative Literature 

Why add a graduate minor in Comparative Literature? It offers PhD students in other fields a chance to broaden their expertise and to acquire a credential that matters. 

Our minors have hailed from English, French, Theatre, and more. The benefit intellectually, expand their understanding of literature and culture world-wide, and learn comparative methods of inquiry. They also become part of our diverse, international community of students and professors. This is a fantastic opportunity within the LSU graduate student experience. 

To receive a minor in Comparative Literature, students must complete 9 hours of Comparative Literature (CPLT) courses. 

They must also demonstrate language competency in at least three languages, including their native tongue. To fulfill this requirement, students must do one of the following: 

  • Successfully complete a 7000-level course in the national literature/language.
  • Submit results from a standardized language competency exam. 
  • Pass a translation exam administered by the Comparative Literature Program or the specific department  that teaches the language/literature in which they would like to demonstrate competency.

Finally, they must add a Minor Professor drawn from the Comparative Literature faculty to their General Exam and Dissertation Committees. Our faculty list is here:

If you would like more information on the Graduate Minor in Comparative Literature, contact the Director of Comparative Literature at

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