The Comparative Literary Studies Program offers a combined BA/MA degree program in Comparative Literature. Academically strong, motivated Northwestern undergraduate Comp Lit students have the opportunity to pursue this concurrent combined bachelor's/master's degree program.
Comp Lit students who decide to pursue the BA/MA must still enroll in the senior seminar and write the senior seminar paper. Students must write both the senior seminar paper and master's thesis - the senior seminar paper, nor the honors thesis can replace the master's thesis (although the master's thesis can be an expansion of the senior seminar paper or honors thesis).
Students receive two degrees as part of this combined course of study, one from their undergraduate school and one from The Graduate School (TGS). Students may pursue this course of study once they are within four courses of completing their undergraduate degree.
4 year track:
Students have the option to complete this combined degree program concurrently, that is, by completing the degree requirements for the bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the same time. A student who wishes to pursue the 4 year track, must enroll in the senior seminar in their junior year in order to free the senior year for writing the master's thesis and completing graduate course requirements. To be eligible for enrollment in the senior seminar in the junior year, students need to have completed all Comp Lit course requirements by the end of the sophomore year. Students should apply for the BA/MA by the end of spring quarter of sophomore year.
5 year track:
The other option is students may complete the undergraduate degree first and then complete the master’s degree after having graduated from their undergraduate college. Students in this program may not receive their master’s degree ahead of their bachelor’s degree. Students should apply for the BA/MA by end of winter quarter of junior year.
Comp Lit majors interested in pursuing the BA/MA are encouraged to discuss their interest with the Director of Undergraduate Studies before applying.
To be considered for admission into the BA/MA combined degree program, students must submit a completed combined degree application to Comp Lit: MA-CD. In addition to the information necessary on the application, other documents needed include:
- statement of purpose, explaining interest in the BA/MA
- Proposed course plan/course of study (discussed and approved by the Comp Lit DUS)
- two letters of recommendation from Northwestern faculty (preferably Comp Lit affiliated)
Application deadlines vary by individual needs, but in general:
- 4-year track: Apply by end of spring quarter of sophomore year.
- Five-year track: Apply by end of winter quarter of junior year
Please note, applicants must have at least one quarter of undergraduate study remaining at the time of their enrollment in the combined degree program.
Please be in touch with the Comp Lit Program Administrator (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or the Comp Lit DUS to discuss application deadlines and materials. The application is reviewed by the Comp Lit program and The Graduate School. Students will be notified of the decision via the application portal.
Requirements for the BA/MA program
- Nine quality letter-graded courses (ABC, not P/NP or S/U) authorized for graduate credit
- Courses may be taken in Comp Lit, student's first and/or second literature, and/or another discipline (such as Film Studies) according to the student's interests and in consultation with the DUS or DGS.
- One of the nine courses needs to be COMP_LIT 410 (typically offered in Fall quarter)
- Students can take one unit of 499 with the permission of the DGS.
- Master's Thesis
- The thesis can be a substantial development of the student's senior seminar essay or honors thesis.
- Minimum of 50 pages, but length should be determined in consultation with the advisor and DGS.
- The student's faculty advisor and the Comp Lit core faculty read and evaluate the thesis.
In addition to discussing the BA/MA degree options with the Comp Lit DUS and program administrator, please review the information provided by The Graduate School: