A bachelor's degree in literature, ancient or modern, is a prerequisite for admission to the Ph.D. graduate program in Comparative Literature. Applicants whose BA program lacks a literature major are required to demonstrate the equivalent knowledge and comprehension of one literature before being considered a graduate student in good standing. Applicants are expected to have at least a 3.5 grade-point average in upper division literature courses. Literary proficiency in one foreign language and at least an elementary knowledge of a second one are expected. For students entering with an MA degree, the graduate advisor may agree to waive some of the normal course requirements.
Although the Department of Comparative Literature offers both the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, we admit only those students who plan to ultimately pursue a Ph.D. We do not offer a terminal M.A. The program requires full-time attendance, and classes are held during the day. The Department requires all degree candidates to demonstrate linguistic, historical, and critical competence in two or more literatures. Candidates for the Ph.D. degree are examined in three fields. These fields may include three literatures with an emphasis on a single period, or two literatures and, by petition, a related interdisciplinary field such as Music, Film, or Art History.
The Department admits students for the Fall Quarter only and does not allow deferred admission. The deadline for receipt of the complete application package is December 1st and results can be expected in March. Late applications for the Fall quarter will be reviewed when received, but chances for admission are slight.
The typical class size of entering graduate students per year is four to six. We make admissions offers to 15-20 applicants per year, from an applicant pool of approximately 100.
You must apply electronically for graduate admission and financial aid. The address for the online admissions application is http://www.gdnet.ucla.edu. Please note the university does not provide paper applications. If you have difficulty accessing the on-line application, please contact the Graduate Admissions office at
We expect all eligible students (permanent residents and U.S. citizens) to establish state residency after their first year of graduate study. Once residency has been established, a student is exempt from non-resident tuition and pays only the registration fees.
Applicants are asked to upload the following items to the online application :
- A statement of purpose, explaining their background for graduate study in literature and their language areas and proficiency levels. Please include immediate and long-range goals in the field in the statement. Statements of purpose should primarily focus on intellectual interests and research plans, though autobiographical material can be useful where it is clearly relevant.
- Applicants should also have three scholars under whom they have studied submit recommendation letters about their potential in literature, languages and general intellectual qualifications.
- The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required; students living abroad can get information about taking these exams from the US Embassy or Consulate. We do not require the subject test portion of the GRE. Applicants should take the exams no later than October or November. We will accept scores from exams taken within the past five years. The GRE school code is 4837; the department code is 2902.
- Applicants must submit official records (transcripts) from each academic institution attended. These must bear the actual signature of the Registrar and the seal of the issuing institution.
- Applicants must submit a research paper or other piece of writing (no more than 15 pages) in literature. Please do not submit your entire thesis. Please do not submit more than one paper. Additional papers will be returned to the applicant and not considered in the file. This part of the dossier is very important, and is often given more weight in admissions decisions about admissibility than anything else, since it (potentially) provides evidence of the ability to pursue original research in the field. Applicant files will not be considered complete if a research paper is not included.
- International applicants whose first language is not English must certify their proficiency in English. Such applicants must submit scores received on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A score of at least 560 on the paper and pencil test or 220 on the computer-based test is recommended for applicants.
To the Admissions Office:
To the Department (mailing address, Box 951536, 350 Humanities Building, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1536)
- GRE/TOEFL scores
- Official Transcripts