Comparative Literature and Film and Media Studies

Comparative Literature and Film and Media Studies

Applicants to the combined program must indicate on their application that they are applying both to the program in Film and Media Studies and to Comparative Literature. All documentation within the application should include this information.

Program of Courses

16 term-courses will be the norm, taken over a two-year period. In some cases a candidate may be allowed to take one of these courses in the fifth term of study.

A. Requirements in Film and Media Studies (6 courses)

A. FILM 601 Film and Their Study (offered every other Fall term)
B. FILM 603 Film Historiography (offered in alternate Fall terms)
C. Four additional seminars in Film Studies

B. Requirements in Comparative Literature (6 courses)

A. Proseminar in Comparative Literature (taken first term offered)
B. One course in theoretical issues
C. Four courses in literary study, each originating in Comparative Literature or bearing a crosslist number.

a. A course involving poetry and one drama
b. One course in pre-1800 literature, one in pre-1900 literature

a. Any course can count for more than one designation.

C. Four other courses to be worked out with DGS of both units.

A. Students may gain up to two course credits for prior graduate work if approved by the DGSs and the Graduate School.


1. Excellent English and one other language at admission.
2. An additional research-related language, satisfied by the fifth term:

a. passing the “advanced reading-for-research” course or related exam in the pertinent language.
b. passing any Yale course in the language.

Foundational Texts in Film and Media Studies

By October 1 of the third year, all candidates must have met the requirement regarding foundational texts in the Film and Media Studies field. See the Film and Media Studies webpage detailing this requirement.

Oral Examinations:

1. By the end of the third semester, the candidate will meet with the DGS of both units to agree on the six topics (also called “questions”) to be prepared, paying attention to generic, geographic, and historical range and to methodological or theoretical approaches. Of the six questions taken up in the oral, half should emphasize literary studies, half Film and Media Studies, though primary texts in both fields may appear on the list drawn up for any question.

2. By the end of the fourth semester, the candidate will submit to both DGSs the list of readings, prepared for each question. Final versions of the lists are signed by each faculty member involved a week before the oral, which normally takes place by the end of the fifth semester, in six 15-minute sections.

3. Should the responses to a question be judged inadequate, the committee may call for its reexamination at a later date or may impose remedial work, such as a bibliographic paper.

The Dissertation Prospectus

The prospectus, prepared with one or two advisors (one from Comparative Literature), is presented to the Comparative Literature Standing Committee in the sixth term, and never later than the outset of the seventh term. At the end of the hour discussion, and with the advisor(s) and a DGS present, the faculty will decide either to pass the prospectus as it is, or ask the student to submit a further draft either to the advisor or the standing committee (generally without necessitating a further live meeting). In all cases the finished version of the prospectus will also be submitted to the DGS in Film and Media studies who distributes it to the faculty for ratification. Once final approval of the prospectus comes from both units, the student will be advanced to candidacy for the degree.

Defense of Method

Defense of Method occurs in the semester preceding submission of the dissertation. This 60–90 minute oral involves a presentation of 80% of the dissertation for discussion and questioning. At this meeting the DGS, advisor(s) and the three official readers of the dissertation will give advice and correct errors so that the work will be in its optimal form when submitted. The DGSs appoint the three readers to assess the dissertation, two of which are normally from Comparative Literature and one from Film and Media Studies. Note that the advisor(s) may not write the final assessments of the dissertation.