- Broad awareness of general literary developments and significant individual works in multiple literary traditions from classical antiquity to the contemporary period.
- Comprehensive knowledge of specific works of some 30 designated major authors, ranging (in the West) from Homer and Sophocles to Dante, Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Goethe, to Wordsworth, Melville, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy, to modern writers like Proust, Kafka, Mann, Joyce, Faulkner, and Borges, and (in the East) from Wang Wei and Lady Murasaki to Lu Xun and Natsume Soseki. (Please see College catalogue for full description.)
- Demonstrated ability to read works of literature in at least one language other than English.
- Reasonable mastery of a single body of literature (for example, works in a particular language, historical period, or literary genre, or works linked by their preoccupation with a particular recurring theme or imaginative pattern).
- Ability to conceive and execute substantial independent projects, and to produce critical and interpretive writing of high quality.