Comparative Literature

Graduate Certificate Program in Translation Studies

The Department of Comparative Literature offers a Graduate Certificate in Translation Studies that enables graduate students to develop and document expertise in the philosophy, history, and craft of translation.

By certifying skill in translation or translation studies, the Certificate offers a supplemental endorsement for students pursuing academic or non-academic job opportunities that involve translation.


To apply for the Certificate in Translation Studies, interested students should login to UFunds, click on the Doctoral Certificates button, and scroll until you see the Translation Studies application. Applications will be reviewed each semester: students should apply by September 15 for Fall and January 31 for Spring.

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Certificate Requirements

The requirements for the certificate include coursework, a praxis-oriented activity with either a pedagogical or publication or community-oriented component, and the presentation of a version or account of that activity. All submitted work for the Certificate (courses to be counted, the praxis-oriented project, etc.) must be approved by the Graduate Committee of the Department of Comparative Literature. Students are normally expected to complete the certificate within 3 years.

Courses (3 total)

Candidates should earn “A”’s in at least two of their certificate courses, and no less than a “B” in their third. The courses will normally be graduate courses, but it is possible to submit for consideration 1000-level courses for which graduate credit has been approved by the DGS of the student’s home department. The three courses must consist of:

  1. COLT 2700, "Translation: Theory and Practice."
  2. One course, for which graduate credit is awarded, taught in the relevant language (in the case of languages not supported at Brown, the course may, if approved by the Graduate Committee, be taken at another university).
  3. One elective course, for which graduate credit has been awarded, that engages questions of translation in a way relevant to the applicant’s particular interests (e.g.: further literary study in the source language; theoretical or philosophical analysis of translation and language; training in creative expression within the target language; research in related fields such as linguistics, linguistic anthropology, or machine translation).

Praxis-Oriented Activity

The activity, which must be approved by the Graduate Committee, will usually take the form of one of the following three options:

  1. The preparation and submission of a publication-worthy translation (which can be of any length, and can be a translation involving two languages that are not English) or of an essay about some issue involving translation, to an appropriate publishing venue: the text to be submitted to the Graduate Committee; or
  2. Assisting a faculty member, either in supervising a Track 3 undergraduate honors thesis, or some other undergraduate capstone project or course involving translation, or collaborating with a faculty member in an area of research involving issues of translation: a short personal statement summarizing the activity to be submitted to the Graduate Committee; or
  3. A minimum of 40 hours of community service involving translation practices (e.g., assisting a social service, publishing house, or educational organization): a short personal statement summarizing the activity to be submitted to the Graduate Committee.

Presentation of Research and Account of the Praxis-Oriented Activity

A 7-10 page version or account of the praxis-oriented activity to be submitted to the Graduate Committee for pre-circulation to the graduate students and faculty of the Department of Comparative Literature in advance of a meeting, which may involve a meeting of the Graduate Colloquium lunchtime series in Comparative Literature, at which the candidate will offer a brief verbal account of the activity, commenting for 15 minutes and then responding to questions and engaging in discussion.