Courses

The page below contains both general information about graduate course options and a list of specific courses required of graduate students. But if you're interested in course listings for this academic year, then see the Courses tab on our site.

Departmental Courses

M.A. and M.Phil. requirements are expected to be fulfilled by courses offered within the Department of English and Comparative Literature. Departmental courses include lectures and several types of seminars. Course numbers for classes designed for graduate students only are normally preceded by the letters "GR." Courses designed for both graduate and undergraduate students are normally preceded by the letter "GU." Course designators: The department offers courses designated by several rubrics, predominantly ENGL (English), CLEN (Comparative Literature-English), ENTA (English-Theater Arts).

Lectures at the 4000 level are designed for graduate and advanced undergraduate students; requirements for graduate students in these courses are often different from those for undergraduates. 4000-level lecture courses are useful introductions to particular fields or subjects and can serve as preparation for the oral exam. Many students choose to audit-or take for "R" credit-lectures beyond those they take as graded credited courses. (Note: lecture courses and seminars at the 3000-level are for undergraduates only and may not be used toward a graduate degree).

Master's Seminars (5000 level) introduce students to contemporary graduate study in literature and to resources necessary for professional work. The Fall Master's Seminars are open only to M.A. students and are accompanied by the Colloquium on Theory and Method (ENGL GR5005x), a series of roundtables by different faculty members. The Colloquium is open to entering M.Phil. students.

Graduate Seminars (6000 level) include both M.A. and M.Phil. students and offer rigorous discussion of selected works, emphasizing oral and written presentation of ideas. Some seminars require an application; instructions are posted at the department website (at www.columbia.edu/cu/english/courses_gradreginst.htm) shortly before the first week of classes. M.A. students are not always given priority for 6000-level courses, and should have in mind a second choice. Sequential students must take at least three 6000-level courses in the first year. It is recommended that they take one in Fall term and two in Spring, to achieve a balanced workload; students are not advised to take more than two per term.

Other Lecture/Seminar Options
If a student cannot get into enough seminars, or simply wishes to do added work in a 4000-level course, a 4000-level course can count for seminar credit, with the instructor's permission. The student and instructor should agree on the writing of a seminar-style research paper (or its equivalent). The instructor should e-mail the Graduate Coordinator to signal agreement to this plan.

Conversely, if a student wants to take more seminars than the minimum needed but not write more research papers, with the instructor's permission the student can take a 6000-level seminar for lecture-course credit, doing the reading, participating in discussion, and doing whatever written work the instructor considers appropriate. The instructor should e-mail the Graduate Coordinator to signal agreement to this plan.

Required Courses for the M.Phil.
See the description of the M.Phil. degree program for information about the following required courses: ENGL GR6913y-GR6914x Teaching Writing; ENGL GR6910 Teaching Tutorial.

Dissertation Seminars (8000 level) are open only to doctoral candidates. Details.

Courses in Other Departments
Students may take relevant courses in other departments, but these courses must be approved by the DGS if they are to count toward the degree. Students must submit a brief rationale, the course name, instructor, course description, and syllabus (when it is available). If the course is in addition to those required by the department, no special permission is needed.

4000-level Comparative Literature courses offered by other departments are usually taught in English and often deal with topics of interest to students in the English Department. These courses are listed as hybrids: for example, Comparative Literature-German (CLGR), Art History-Comparative Literature (AHCL). Again, students should confirm with the DGS that such courses may be used toward the English degree.

Additional 3000-level reading courses in foreign language courses and "R" credit courses may be taken; however, they do not count toward the degree.

Summer Courses at No Charge
Students may take relevant courses (including foreign language classes) in the summer at no charge, with the following conditions: (A) Student is on fellowship; (B) Fall registration will be for 1 RU; (C) Courses are graded and receive a grade of B or better; (D) Courses must be necessary for the degree. Applications are available in April, and must be approved by Pamela Rodman in 602 Philosophy.

Inter-University Doctoral Consortium Courses
Columbia students can cross-register for graduate courses at NYU, CUNY, Fordham, Rutgers, Princeton, and SUNY-Stony Brook through the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium (IUDC). More information can be found at the the IUDC page on the GSAS website (under Office of Student Services).