The M.A. in History and Literature is a one-year program, with courses from September to early July, and an M.A. essay completed during the summer following coursework.

A total of 30 credits are required to earn the degree:

  • 24 credits for coursework- 8 seminars / 3 credits each
  • 6 credits for the M.A. essay.

Tracking sheet for 2017-2018

The minimum requirement for good academic standing is to maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.

Courses taken P/F or for R credit do not count toward the degree.


HILI GR 5000 Introduction to History and Literature  in the Fall. A historical and conceptual introduction to the relationship between history and literature.

HILI GR 5400 Research Seminar in the Spring. Initiation to archival, bibliographical, and philological work, with hands-on sessions in libraries and archives, and designing of a research project.

The seminars at Reid Hall are taught by Columbia Faculty  or invited instructors. Each is worth 3 credits. 
Here is a list of courses taught in the past:

Fall 2011: The Realistic Novel in Context, Prof. Elisabeth Ladenson
Fall 2012: Narratives of World War II, Prof. Carol Gluck
Fall 2013: The Archival Imagination, Prof. Brent Edwards
Fall 2014: The Voice of the Witness, Prof. Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer
Fall 2015: Narratives of World War II, Prof. Carol Gluck
Fall 2016: Writing from France: Black Expatriates in Paris, Prof. Marcellous Blount and Jean-Philippe Dedieu

Spring 2012: Rousseau’s Confessions, Prof. Robert Morrissey
Spring 2013: Le Point de vue de l'indigène (1930-1970), Prof. Vincent Debaene
Spring 2014: Legacies of the First World War: history, memory and literature, Prof. Sylvie Aprile
Spring 2015: La France des Intellectuels, Prof. Philippe Roger
Spring 2016: Plagiarism and Postcolonialism, Prof. Joseph Slaughter
Spring 2017: From Enlightenment to Romanticism in French Thought, Prof. Michael Stanislawski

May-July 2012: History and Literature of Slavery, Prof. Eric Foner
May-July 2013: Defoe’s London, Prof. Carl Wennerlind.
May-July 2014: The Nation-Between History and Literature, Prof. Emmanuelle Saada
May-July 2015: History and Literature of Slavery, Prof. Eric Foner
May-July 2016: Africa & France, Prof. Gregory Mann
May-July 2017: Aesthetics and the Philosophy of History, Prof. Dorothea von Mücke

Students select courses at the ENS or at the EHESS, often in relation with the topics of their MA Essay. Each seminar is 3 credits. 

Here is a short list of EHESS courses taken by HILI students in the past:

Les usages sociaux de la littérature XIXe-XXe siècles; Prof. Judith Lyon-Caen 
Historiographie des Lumières ; Prof. Antoine Lilti  
L’homme du vertige, de Kafka à Michaud ; Prof. Marielle Macé
République, morale et socialisme; Prof. Vincent Duclert 
Supports et circulations des arts et des savoirs en Afrique et au-delà ; Prof. Jean-Paul Colleyn 
Musique et Politique ; Prof. Estaban Buch
Histoire du corps ; Prof. Georges Vigarello

Here is a short list of ENS courses taken by HILI students in the past:

Théories post-coloniales ; Prof. Dominique Combe
Trauma and Literature ; Prof. Susannah Mary Ellis
Writing and the Female Experience; Prof. Victoria Weavil
Literature and Economy; Prof. Agnès Derail
Histoire trans-impériale; Prof. Rahul Markovitz
Penser la Méditerranée moderne et contemporaine; Wolfgang Kaiser
Transferts culturels; Michel Espagne
Filmer la fin de l’Histoire ; Prof . Antoine De Baecque
Esthétique du film: "Working Class Heroes"; Prof. Françoise Zamour
Art et civilisation du pétrole; Prof. Béatrice Joyeux Prunel

The Master’s essay, written in English, consists of a minimum of 50 pages, a bibliography and notes. It will be written under the direction of a French expert in the relevant area of research. Oral presentations of the "work-in-progress" essays take place Mid June.

See /content/ma-essay for details on M.A. Essay Requirements

The course, taught in the Fall, focuses on oral and written skills. The objective is to prepare students to adapt to their seminars at the ENS and the EHESS. This course does not count towards the MA.


Kathy Eden discusses Curriculum