Each PhD student works with a committee of faculty members who help to design a coherent, individual program of study. During the first two years, the candidate works closely with each of his or her advisers. The course of study, seminars, and tutorials lead to three area examinations administered by the department and committee. During the second year, qualified students are invited to teach under faculty supervision, and occasionally students may offer undergraduate seminars of their own design.

PhD students choosing a focus in comparative literature should be competent in three national literatures and have a general familiarity with critical theory. Students are encouraged to spend at least one year studying abroad, usually working in Paris, Florence, Hamburg, Geneva, or Madrid in programs sponsored by the department or the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

Students can become supervised teaching assistants in the German Program in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, and they can earn a master’s degree in German upon completion of the field examinations, before their doctoral degree is completed. Similar arrangements can generally be made with the Department of Classics and the programs in the romance languages and literatures.

Complete requirements can be found in the Graduate Handbook.