Requirements for the Major

Female student seated at a desk in a classroom

It is highly advisable that students make a decision no later than the middle of their sophomore year in order to take full advantage of the ECS major.

The major consists of 10 semester courses (eleven, if the student elects to write a thesis):

  • ECS 100a or 100b (ECS Proseminar), to be completed, if possible, no later than the junior year.
  • Two comparative literature seminars, or HUM 10a (The Western Canon) and one comparative literature seminar. The student is particularly encouraged to select this second course from COML 102a through COML 106b. Any COML offering is acceptable, however, as long as its subject matter is European and it is otherwise relevant to the student's program.
  • Three courses in European literature. The six European literatures offered are English, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish. The foreign literature courses listed in the University Bulletin have been specifically designed for use in the ECS curriculum and are taught in translation. Courses in English literature may be used to fulfill this requirement. For courses in comparative literature consult the appropriate section of the Bulletin.
  • Three courses selected from the following seven related disciplines: fine arts, history and history of ideas, music, philosophy, politics, sociology, and theater arts. In consultation with the coordinator, students may be able to use courses from additional departments (for example, NEJS, anthropology) so long as such courses are appropriate to the student's program in ECS.
  • Students who elect to write a senior thesis will enroll in ECS 99d. Before enrolling, students should consult with the coordinator. An appropriate GPA is required to undertake the writing of a thesis. Honors are awarded on the basis of cumulative GPA in the major and the grade on the honors thesis.
  • All seniors not enrolling in ECS 99d (that is, not electing to write a senior thesis) have a choice of electing one additional course in any of the three segments of the major: either an additional course in comparative literature or an additional course in any of the six European literatures or an additional course in any of the seven related areas.
  • No course with a final grade below C+ can count toward fulfilling the major requirements in European Cultural Studies.
  • No course taken pass/fail may count toward the major requirements.

Normally, students will choose to focus on either the early period (from the Middle Ages to the mid–1700s) or the modern period (from the mid–1700s to the present day). Variations within the scheme can be worked out with the coordinator.

Each major will plan a program in consultation with the coordinator.

Consult the European Cultural Studies section in the Brandeis University Online Bulletin for complete information.