University of Sydney Handbooks - 2013 Archive

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International and Comparative Literary Studies (ICLS)

ICLS is an interdisciplinary program administered by the School of Languages and Cultures with participation by the Department of English.

Program structure and content
ICLS is a vibrant and innovative interdisciplinary program in the School of Languages and Cultures.Taught by staff from 10 different departments covering European, Asian, Latin American and Middle Eastern language-based disciplines in SLC as well as the department of English in SLAM, this rich and diverse program provides a major that is both personally rewarding and prepares future graduates for a range of possible career paths. The major is designed to equip students with cross-literary, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary knowledge, understanding and expertise needed to live, work and succeed in an increasingly global society. A literary education in particular provides important cultural insights, as literature both reflects and shapes a society's cultural and intellectual life.

There are no specific ICLS units of study at junior level. Students wishing to study ICLS at senior level must have completed at least 18 junior credit points from part A of the table of units of study, of which 12 credit points are from one subject; or have obtained special permission from the Director of ICLS. ICLS units of study can be credited towards a major, taken as electives or cross-listed towards other majors in SLC, including European Studies, or towards an English major, in accordance with the cross-listing requirements of those departments.

Four senior undergraduate units of study are offered per year, on a two three year rotating curriculum. At least one unit of study is offered from each of the following clusters every year: Great Books of the World; Literature and Society; Literary Genres, Movements and Styles; Theoretical Approaches in Comparative Literature. Each unit is taught by a team of three to four staff from different departments among the 10 participating departments.

Requirements for a major
Students who wish to major in ICLS must complete 36 senior credit points normally consisting of either 36 senior credit points from ICLS units of study (that is 6 units over 2 years), or at least 24 senior credit points from ICLS units of study (that isi.e. at least 4 units over 2 years) plus 12 senior credit points from approved cross-listed units of study (consult faculty list for cross-listable units of study available each year).

There are no foreign language requirements for undergraduate study as all units of study are conducted in English and use texts in English translation. Study of a language other than English is, however, encouraged in conjunction with ICLS units of study, and reading knowledge of at least one language other than English is required for Honours and Postgraduate study.

Up to 12 credit points from approved cross-listable units of study may be cross-listed towards an ICLS major. Students should, however, plan their cross-listings carefully, particularly if completing two majors, for example in ICLS and a foreign language: no unit of study can count towards more than one major. Please check the cross-listing schedule located on the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences website.

Sample pathway:
The following in an example only; there are many possibilities.

  • Second year: 2 x ICLS units of study from Clusters 1 and 3, 1 x cross-listed unit of study from French Studies
  • Third Year: 2 x ICLS units of study from Clusters 2 and 4, 1 x ICLS Exchange Unit.

Intending Honours students must obtain a credit average in 48 senior credit points, including their ICLS major and two cross listed units from the School of Language and Cultures or the Department of English. Students should have at least reading knowledge of a language other than English; exemptions may be granted if the proposed Honours thesis topic demonstrates sufficient cross-cultural content (e.g. a postcolonial topic). Intending Honours students are also strongly advised to undertake an exchange semester. Honours students will take two core seminars in ICLS and one seminar from a department in SLC or, with permission, English, and write a 12,000 – 15,000 word thesis.

Contact/further information
Program website:

Program Director: Dr Andrea Bandhauer
Phone: +61 2 9351 3146;

or contact the SLC office,