How will my project be graded?

The Capstone Project is a two-semester module worth 10 MCs that you complete over the course of your senior year. 15 % of your final Capstone grade comes from the grade assigned by the leader of the Senior Capstone Writing Seminar (which is usually the Head of Studies). By the end of the first semester, you will also submit a progress report, and with your Supervisor’s endorsement, the Head of Studies will enter a grade of IP for you. At the end of the second semester, you will make a public presentation of your project, which will count as 15% of your Capstone grade. 70% of your grade will come from the thesis itself. The thesis will be assessed by your Supervisor and a second Reader. If you have a co-supervisor (for reasons listed above), the co-supervisor is automatically your second Reader. If you do not, the Head of Studies will appoint one for you in consultation with your Supervisor. Your thesis grade will be the average of the two grades.

How long should the project be and how will I know what is an appropriate project?

Literature Capstone projects should result in a thesis of approximately 12,500 words (roughly 50 pages). The Head of Studies will work with you when you put together your preliminary bibliography in your junior year, but we understand that you will only conduct the research in your senior year, and the scope and even topic of your project may change—writing is an adventure! Your Supervisor will guide you through the process. In addition, you will attend a Senior Capstone Writing seminar led by the Head of Studies in the first semester, which provides additional support and supervision for your project.

What happens when the professor I want to work with goes on leave during the academic year?

If an advisor agrees to supervise your Capstone, the understanding is that the faculty member will also be the one to read and assess your final project, even if he or she is on leave the second semester. If your primary Supervisor is on leave in either semester, you will work with a co-supervisor.

Can I work with an external faculty member?

Yes, you can. We often have visiting Yale faculty, and you also have a chance to study abroad. These are your opportunities to meet external faculty and cultivate a relationship with them. You can also approach NUS faculty members. But keep in mind that non-Yale-NUS faculty are under no obligation to supervise our students. If an external member agrees to supervise your Capstone, you need to find a Yale-NUS member to serve as your co-supervisor.

How should we proceed if there are no faculty members whose expertise necessarily match our areas of interest?

The capstone project is not a doctoral dissertation and your topic does not need to match the research expertise of the faculty mentor. Your supervisor will guide you through the process, but you should write on a topic that interests you, instead of choosing one from our current faculty’s own research projects.

How do I find a Supervisor? When do I have to decide?

In your junior year, you should start thinking about your Capstone topic and contacting potential faculty members for advice. The Head of Studies will also advise you on the scope and viability of your project, and recommend potential Supervisors. You need to submit a proposal and find a Supervisor by 31 March of your junior year.

Major Requirements

How will the College determine who gets a spot in an impacted Literature course?

We do not anticipate enrollment to be an issue in the electives we offer next semester. For future courses, declared Literature Majors will have priority in all Literature courses.

Do half-courses (2 MC independent study or 1MC courses) count towards the Literature Major?

Graded half courses do count. Independent study modules do not. However, independent study courses do give you general credit toward graduation requirements.

Can NUS courses satisfy Literature Major requirements?

Yes, and so can courses taken during study abroad. In the Literature programme, we do not generate a list of “preapproved” courses. Instead, if you see a course at NUS you might be interested in taking, contact the Head of Studies and he will determine the suitability of the course as well as the distributional category it fulfills, if any. Note that all electives must be taken for letter grades.

Will the courses be offered again (so that I can take a course outside a major now, but come back to it later)?

Our plan is to offer the widest range of courses possible to our students, so under normal circumstances, we will not repeat the same Literature courses (with the exception of the Proseminar) in a 2-3 year cycle. If you see a course you’re interested in, take it now.

Are the courses part of a pathway in the Major? And if so, which one?


Are the courses gateway courses?


What if I want to study abroad in the fall semester?

The “Proseminar in Literary Studies” will be offered twice a year and taught by different faculty. Literature Majors can take either version to fulfill the requirement. Students can actually take both, and have the second one count as an elective that automatically fulfills the “theory and criticism” requirement. We do encourage students to take the Proseminar at the beginning of their junior year, but you can complete your graduation requirements by taking one in your senior year.

Which courses, if any, are required for your major?

The “Proseminar in Literary Studies” is required for the Major. All other courses fulfill certain distributional requirements of our Major.

Which courses offered next semester count towards your major? What about in the next few years?

We have an exciting array of courses next semester! These include: Petrus Liu: “Senior Capstone Writing Seminar”; Geoffrey Baker: “Proseminar in Literature”; Gretchen Head and Meredith Morse: “The Graphic Novel”; Rajeev Patke: “Poetry, Painting, and Photography”; Mira Seo: “Ancient Epic and Gangster Film”; Petrus Liu: “Cold War Aesthetics in East Asia”; and Pericles Lewis: “Modern Poetry: Yeats, Eliot, Auden.” The full list of projected courses can be found on our website. But please keep in mind that this is a partial list—we often crosslist courses that originate in other majors (such as arts and humanities, history, etc.) but we will have to wait until their faculty to design and propose those to us. We are also developing additional electives—please check the Courses page regularly for updates. As always, students are encouraged to consider electives in the English department at NUS.