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3. Coursework

Most students complete their required coursework by the end of their third year, giving them flexibility to study abroad and to focus on their research and teaching.  More advanced students who have completed their course requirements have the option to register for additional courses, or they may benefit from auditing relevant seminars while they are pursuing dissertation research.  Having achieved advanced proficiency in two languages (in addition to English), some students also pursue additional language work relevant to their research.  Students can satisfy the Department’s advanced language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways: 1) by completing at least one graduate or advanced undergraduate course offered by the department that teaches the language at UM, provided that a substantial portion of the reading and discussion is conducted in that language; 2) by teaching the language as a GSI; 3) by passing a translator’s exam administered by the ATA or comparable organization; or, if none of the above options are available, and at the discretion of the graduate chair and the student’s principal advisor, 4) by taking an advanced language exam (comprised of reading, writing, speaking, and listening components) administered by a faculty member at UM who has native or near-native command of the language in question. The student is exempt from this requirement if she/he is a fully proficient native speaker of the language.

3.1 Registration via Wolverine Access

Wolverine Access is the vehicle through which you will do many things: update your personal information (you need to update this with the Comparative Literature Office as well), register for classes, print out or view your class schedule, check on your grades, print out or view your unofficial transcript, view your financial information, and search for courses (also on the Online LSA Course Guide). If you want detailed instructions for completing these tasks, please consult the Registrar’s website .                                         

The Registrar’s Office will send you an email notification about class registration.  You will need to log on to Wolverine Access to see your appointment date and time, so it is extremely important that you establish a University email account and check it regularly. Go to Wolverine Access, click on Student Business, and then enter your uniqname and password to view your enrollment time. You may register for courses any time after the date and time issued to you (until the final add/drop deadline), and you can use Wolverine Access to add a class, drop a class, modify a class, or swap a class. Late fees will be assessed beginning the first day of class for students who are not registered.

You may drop a course without penalty only within the first three weeks of the semester; if you wish to drop a course after the first three weeks you need permission from the faculty member to do so, and this will result in a “W” on your transcript.  A “W” indicates that the student withdrew from a course.  There are no academic consequences to this, but you may petition Rackham to have a “W” removed by completing a Rackham Petition for Modification or Policies form, which is available on the Rackham Records and Dissertations website.  This petition will not, however, drop the course.  You must still fill out the late drop form in order to do this.  

3.2 Selecting Courses

Students in the first and second year of the graduate program should meet with the DGS at the start of each semester to confer about their selection of courses.  It is possible to search the LSA Online Course Guide for descriptions of courses offered each semester across many departments, and the DGS will make additional course information available as needed.  Courses offered at the University of Michigan are labeled with numbers indicating level and format. 

300-level or below:  Undergraduate courses. In general, courses at the 300 level or below are not acceptable for graduate credit.  Graduate students in Comparative Literature may register to take courses at this level in other departments for intensive language work (not for credit), but these courses do not count toward PhD requirements in Comparative Literature.

400-level: Advanced undergraduate courses.  In some departments, 400-level courses may count for graduate as well as undergraduate credit.  If a 400-level course is listed in the graduate course guide, it may be taken for graduate credit.  However, please note that no 400-level Comparative Literature courses may be taken for credit by graduate students in Comparative Literature.  

500-level: Graduate lecture courses, reading courses, or workshops.  In most departments 500-level courses, which may enroll as many as 18 students, are designed to cover a wide range of periods and topics, without assuming prior experience with the materials they cover.

600-level: Introductory seminars. Generally capped at 15 students, 600-level courses introduce graduate students to a seminar format for exploration of slightly more advanced topics.  COMPLIT 600 is a general introduction to topics in theory, presented by different faculty members in Comparative Literature.  COMPLIT 601 is limited to second-year graduate students in Comparative Literature who are preparing for the Preliminary Examination in Comparative Literature.  COMPLIT 698 is the number assigned to Directed Readings in Comparative Literature; students who wish to pursue a Directed Reading must seek approval from the faculty member and the DGS, and then contact the SSvC to set up the registration.  Directed Reading proposals must include a reading list and a schedule for regular meetings with the faculty advisor, ensuring that the workload is similar to that of a graduate seminar.

700/800 level: Advanced graduate seminars. Generally capped at 12 students, these seminars allow specialized work within a flexible syllabus and usually require a longer final seminar paper.  

990/995: Individual Dissertation Research.  Non-candidates enroll for COMPLIT 990 with their faculty advisor, and candidates enroll for COMPLIT 995 with their faculty advisor.  The SSvC and DGS must be notified of any changes to faculty advisors to ensure that 990/995 sections are set up properly.   

3.3 Required Comparative Literature Seminars

In addition to taking COMPLIT 600 in the first year and COMPLIT 601 in the second year, students are expected to complete the requirement of four Comparative Literature Seminars during their second or third year.  A Comparative Literature Seminar is defined by these factors: 1) It is listed as a 700-level Comp Lit course, which is our advanced PhD seminar number, or 2) It is an advanced-level graduate course taught in another department or program by a faculty member with a current appointment in Comparative Literature.  Please note that Directed Readings and 400-level courses in Comparative Literature do not count as Comparative Literature Seminars, however, the 500-level translation workshops (CL580 and CL581) do count toward the requirement.

Each semester the department will offer a number of seminars taught by Comparative Literature faculty members and drawn from a list of general rubrics. More specific titles and course descriptions are available online in the LSA Course Guide, and they are also posted on the bulletin board in the Comp Lit Corridor each semester.  Students are welcome to submit their ideas for Comparative Literature Seminar topics to the SSvC, who will keep them on file; these suggestions will be taken into consideration by the Chair as part of annual planning for the graduate curriculum.

3.4 Overview of Eligible Graduate Courses in Comparative Literature

COMPLIT 580. Translation Workshop
(3). May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits.

COMPLIT 600. Topics in Theory
Graduate standing and permission of instructor. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

COMPLIT 601. Contemporary Theory
Graduate standing and permission of instructor. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

COMPLIT 698. Directed Reading in Comparative Literature
Consent of instructor required. Graduate standing and permission of instructor. (1 - 4). May be repeated for credit.

COMPLIT 721. Seminar in Translation
Graduate standing. (3; 2 in the half-term). May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credits. May be elected more than once in the same term.

COMPLIT 730. Seminar in Literary Movements and Periods
Graduate standing. (3; 2 in the half-term). May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credits. May be elected more than once in the same term.

COMPLIT 740. Seminar in Major Authors
Graduate standing. (3; 2 in the half-term). May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credits. May be elected more than once in the same term.

COMPLIT 750. Seminar: Topics in Comparative Literature
Graduate standing. (3; 2 in the half-term). May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credits. May be elected more than once in the same term.

COMPLIT 760. Seminar in Literature and the Other Arts
Graduate standing. (3; 2 in the half-term). May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credits. May be elected more than once in the same term.

COMPLIT 770. Seminar: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Literature
Graduate standing. (3; 2 in the half-term). May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credits. May be elected more than once in the same term.

COMPLIT 780. Seminar: Studies in Form and Genre
Graduate standing. (3; 2 in the half-term). May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credits. May be elected more than once in the same term.

COMPLIT 790. Seminar in Literary Theory
Graduate standing. (3; 2 in the half-term). May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credits. May be elected more than once in the same term.

COMPLIT 990. Dissertation/Precandidate
Election for dissertation work by doctoral student not yet admitted as a Candidate. Graduate standing. (1 - 8; 1 - 4 in the half-term). May be repeated for credit. This course has a grading basis of "S" or "U".

COMPLIT 995. Dissertation/Candidate
Graduate School authorization for admission as a doctoral Candidate. (Prerequisites enforced at registration.) (8; 4 in the half-term). May be repeated for credit. This course has a grading basis of "S" or "U".

3.5 Directed Readings

A 3-credit Directed Reading can count as equivalent to an elective graduate course, provided it does not overlap with current or upcoming courses already offered.  The student confers with the faculty member who will supervise the Directed Reading and then must submit, no later than the last day of classes prior to the start of the term of your directed reading, a proposal form signed by the faculty member that lists reading and writing assignments and expectations for regular meetings.  The proposal is then submitted to the DGS for approval and placed in the student’s file.  To register for a Directed Reading, the student must contact the SSvC who will set up a section number for the faculty member who is supervising the student. Students should avoid Directed Readings during the first semester of their first year, and they are discouraged from doing more than one per semester or on a continuing basis over several terms unless approved by the DGS.

3.6 Attendance and grades

Regular attendance and active class participation are standard expectation for all graduate courses.  Since most seminars meet only once a week, it is very important not to miss classes.  If you absolutely need to miss a class, it is important to notify the faculty member in advance.  Students who fail to meet a minimum grade point average of B (3.0) are no longer making satisfactory academic progress, will no longer be eligible for Department-administered fellowships, and may be asked to leave the program.  

3.7 Incompletes

Incompletes (“I”) remain on students’ transcripts even after a final grade has been given for a course, and students are strongly advised to avoid them.  The presence of Incompletes on a transcript can significantly harm students’ prospects when applying to fellowships and academic positions alike. Failure to complete required coursework within the duration of the course may be considered a sign of unsatisfactory performance (see 5.1 Guidelines for Satisfactory Progress).  Incompletes also handicap students in fellowship competitions.  If you anticipate having to take an Incomplete, it is important to speak with the faculty member teaching the course well in advance to consider possible alternatives: do not wait to request an Incomplete until the day a final paper is due!  Before requesting an Incomplete, students must consult with the DGS, and when a request for an Incomplete has been approved by a faculty member the student must notify the DGS by email. The DGS will then contact the faculty member to confirm the timeline for completion of the course. A "Y" is used for a course that has been approved to extend past one term and is not a recognized grade basis in the department.  You must inform the DGS if you expect a “Y” grade.                                        

Failure to clear Incompletes according to the DGS-approved timetable constitutes unsatisfactory academic progress and will disqualify students for Department-administered fellowships. Students may not take the Preliminary Exam or pass additional degree milestones unless all Incompletes flagged by the DGS have been cleared.

3.8 Transferring Credit

Rackham Graduate School allows PhD students to transfer a maximum of six credit hours of graduate credit for courses taken at outside institutions.  Credits for courses taken at outside institutions may not have been used as credit toward another degree, and Rackham makes the final decision on all transfer of credits.  A “Transfer of Credit” form (in the Forms section on the Rackham website) must be completed and submitted to the SSvC for approval by the DGS.  Students should attach a transcript and brief description of the course to be transferred. Please note, however, that newly admitted students are not allowed to transfer graduate credits from other institutions, and transferring credits to Rackham only adds credit hours to your program; transferred credits will not count toward required coursework for the PhD in Comparative Literature.

3.9 Auditing Courses

Graduate students may register as auditors for undergraduate or graduate courses at the University of Michigan. Auditing a course means that it will appear on your transcript, but you will not receive graduate credit for the course, and it will not count toward course requirements for the doctoral program in Comparative Literature. Auditing a course requires permission from the primary instructor. Before registering to audit, confirm that doing so is permissible under the terms of your specific fellowship or GSI contract.

3.10 Graduate Certificate in Critical Translation Studies

Admission to the Certificate program is granted on a rolling basis, meaning students are encouraged to apply at any time. However, students who plan to pursue the certificate are encouraged to apply as early in their programs as possible. (One term of U-M graduate study must be completed prior to the applicant’s designated term of admission.) They must be in good standing with their program and have the written approval from their graduate advisor as well as from the Director of Graduate Studies in Comparative Literature.

Designed for students already enrolled in a terminal degree program at the University of Michigan, the Certificate in Critical Translation Studies consists of graduate course work totaling 12 credit hours, a portion of which may be double-counted with coursework undertaken in the student’s primary field of study, in accordance with Rackham guidelines.

Click HERE for more Information.