Curriculum & Requirements

historical tomes

The Master of Arts Program in Comparative Humanities (MACH) offers two tracks: the MA, which is open to all students, and the BA/MA, which is specifically designed for Brandeis students in their senior year. The MA can be completed in a single year, although students have the option to continue their studies beyond the first year. The BA/MA allows current Brandeis undergraduates to begin the program and join the MACH community in their senior year. In conjunction with a primary advisor and the director of graduate studies (DGS), each student within MACH builds a coherent curriculum that bridges cultures and disciplines

Students enrolled in the MACH program must successfully complete the requirements outlined below, which include eight semester-long courses. (Note that Brandeis undergraduates enrolled in the BA/MA track of the Comparative Humanities program may petition to apply up to two 100-level humanities courses from their undergraduate degree to their MACH program of study, thus reducing their fifth-year course load from eight courses to six.)

Master of Arts in Comparative Humanities Proseminar 

This fall-term seminar (COMH 201a) meets weekly to explore innovative approaches to, and theoretical frameworks for, cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural study in the humanities, preparing students to undertake the capstone project.

MACH Graduate Seminar

Focusing on a subject of broad interdisciplinary interest within the humanities, this graduate seminar (COMH 201b) is offered each spring to provide students with a model of focused exploration. The seminar topic is chosen by the instructor with cognizance of the interests of the incoming class. The course models the methods of cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural study and provides students with an opportunity to bring their diverse interests to bear on a common topic of inquiry. Space permitting, this course is open to Brandeis graduate students from other disciplines. Under special circumstances, students may substitute for this course another graduate seminar chosen in conjunction with their primary advisor and the DGS.

Five Additional Courses*

Students must complete five additional courses within a coherent interdisciplinary and/or intercultural sphere of concentration. Together, these courses must represent at least two disciplines and/or cultures. Students will choose their curricula in collaboration with their primary advisor and the DGS based on student interest and appropriate available courses.

Generally, students select courses numbered 100 and above from related departments. Please consult the links in the sidebar of this page for courses in related departments.

*Brandeis undergraduates in the BA/MA track of the Comparative Humanities program who successfully petition to apply two courses from their undergraduate degree to their MACH program of study would be required to complete a total of three additional courses, rather than five.

Master's Capstone Project

Each student must complete a project of professional quality that produces original work within her or his field of concentration and that meets with the approval of a faculty advisor and a second reader. While the project may take the form of a traditional research paper, students may also explore the possibility of creating (for example) a web-based resource, a curricular plan, or a multimedia presentation. Work toward this capstone project will be undertaken with the advisor, with whom the student will register for COMH 301b as the eighth course (sixth for BA/MA students).

Year-End Symposium

Students will present their capstone projects to their peers, the program faculty, and the university community in a festive year-end symposium.

Language Competence

All students are expected to demonstrate reading comprehension of a language other than English either by passing a written examination or by taking a 100-level course taught in another language.