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Graduate Program

Degree Requirements

The requirements listed below are special to this department and must be read in conjunction with the general requirements of the Graduate School. For inquiries into the Department and the Graduate degrees offered please contact 212-854-2308 or italian@columbia.edu.

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

 

For the Free-Standing M.A. Degree

Courses: A total of ten one-term courses (two Residence Units): (1) eight graduate literature/culture courses within the department taken for a letter grade, of which at least three must be in the period before 1600 and at least three in the period after 1600; substitutions of courses from other departments must be approved by the DGS; (2) one one-term course from another department for R credit, chosen in consultation with the DGS; (3) Italian W4000 (Stylistics). This course may be taken for R credit.

Languages: A reading knowledge of Latin or German or a Romance language other than Italian, satisfied by passing a written proficiency examination or by completing an approved course (Intermediate II level or higher) with a minimum grade of B-.

Part-Time Study

The M.A. degree may be earned through a program of part-time study. The course and language requirements are the same as for the full-time M.A. degree. All part-time students must complete the M.A. degree requirements within four years. Programs should be planned in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS).

For the M.A./M. Phil./Ph.D. Degrees

For the M.A. Degree:

Course requirements: A total of ten one-term courses (two Residence Units): (1) eight graduate literature/culture courses within the department taken for a letter grade, of which at least three must be in the period before 1600 and at least three in the period after 1600; substitutions of courses from other departments or from the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS); (2) one one-term course from another department for R credit, chosen in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS); (3)  Italian W4000 (Stylistics). This course may be taken for R credit.

Languages: A reading knowledge of Latin or German or a Romance language other than Italian, satisfied by passing a written proficiency examination or by completing an approved course (Intermediate II level or higher) with a minimum grade of B-.

The M.A./M.Phil./Ph.D. program is designed to allow a well-prepared student to earn the M.A. degree within one academic year of full-time study. A student who postpones completing the requirements for the M.A. degree while accumulating Residence Units toward the M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees does so at his or her own risk.

For the M.Phil. Degree

Required courses: Students who earned the M.A. degree elsewhere must fulfill the same requirements during their first year of residence as Columbia M.A. candidates. Students holding the M.A. degree in Italian from Columbia take eight one-term courses of which six must be taken within the department and taken for a letter grade. Substitutions of courses from other departments or from the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium must be approved by the DGS. PEDG G4000. International Language Pedagogy, the autumn seminar (taken Pass/Fail), is required for students who, in the second year of the program, are beginning the teaching fellowship in the Italian Language Program and are responsible for teaching Elementary Italian to undergraduates. The seminar does not fulfill any other M.Phil. course requirement.

Languages: A reading knowledge of Latin and either German or a Romance language other than Italian, satisfied by passing written examinations or by the completion of approved courses with a minimum grade of B-.

Teaching requirement: Participation in the instructional activities of the department for two years. As a rule, in the second, and third years of study, students gain exposure to teaching through participation in the language program. Students who are interested in broadening their teaching apprenticeships are eligible to teach in the Core Program once they have received the M.Phil. Students may only apply to be a preceptor if they have or expect to have the M.Phil. by the May prior to being appointed as a preceptor, and if they are not past their sixth year of registration during the first year of the preceptorship. Students may not hold instructional appointments after year seven.

Examinations: On completion of all course work and at least two Residence Units beyond the M.A. degree, and satisfaction of the language requirement, the candidate takes the pre-oral and oral qualifying examinations on Italian literature.


The M. Phil. Exam in the Italian Department is intended to help students make the transition from a general acquaintance with Italian literature and culture, as acquired through course work and independent reading, to the definition of some specific research interests, which may include the preliminary idea of what will ultimately become the dissertation.

The revised general Reading List of the Italian Department may serve students as an auxiliary and optional tool for the identification of the above-mentioned interests. Each student will prepare three individual reading lists pertaining to three different fields.One field will have a broadly conceptual and methodological dimension; the other two will be chronologically complementary, meaning that if two of the three fields fall before 1600 the third will fall after 1600 and vice versa. The M. Phil. Proposal, then, contains the titles of the three fields and a bibliography for each one.The bibliography is a specialized reading list of primary and secondary texts; the secondary texts reflect the critical methodologies that the candidate has found particularly important.  The bibliographies are intended to be the platform for a discussion of the ideas that have proved most significant in shaping the critical voice of the candidate.


Three faculty members chosen by the student will oversee the whole exam.For the pre-oral part, each professor will provide the student with two questions, of which the student will choose one. The student will then write three take-home papers, with a minimum length of five pages each, all three to be written over the course of ten days. The oral part of the exam, covering all three fields, will be taken at a date between two and six weeks from the successful completion of the pre-oral.

Upon passing the oral examination successfully and having completed six Residence Units in the Graduate School (including any advanced standing) the candidate is certified for the award of the M.Phil. degree.  In accordance with GSAS regulations all work for the M.Phil. degree must be completed within four years (unless the student received two Residence Units of advanced standing, in which case all degree requirements must be completed within three years).

For the Ph.D. Degree

Candidacy for the Ph.D. degree is contingent on the fulfillment of all M.Phil. requirements and approval of the proposed dissertation.

Required courses: Students, if they have not done so prior to completion of the M.Phil. degree, should register for one of the following courses: ITAL G9102. Research in Late Medieval and Renaissance Literature or ITAL G9103. Research in Modern and Contemporary Literature. Students register for this course, which may be taken for R credit, during the semester when they prepare the dissertation proposal (prospectus) under the supervision of a potential sponsor.

Dissertation: No later than three months after successful completion of the M.Phil. degree, the student submits the dissertation prospectus (no more than ten pages, plus annotated bibliography), to be approved at a colloquium by a committee of three faculty members including the sponsor and second reader from the department. The dissertation is to be prepared, defended, and deposited according to the regulations of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Financial Aid

A comprehensive program of financial aid, including fellowships and appointments in teaching, is available to Ph.D. students. After the first year, all Ph.D. students admitted to the program receive annually the prevailing stipend and appropriate tuition and health fees through the fifth year, provided that they remain in good academic standing. If students receive a year of advanced standing they are entitled to four years of fellowship funding. Students holding fellowships are expected to follow the Graduate School regulations on financial aid, to maintain a high standard of academic excellence in all courses and to complete all departmental requirements on schedule.

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