The University of Chicago | Graduate Admissions

Comparative Literature - PhD

Division: Humanities
Degree Type: PhD

Program Description

The Comparative Literature Department's global and historical reach is reflected in the range of faculty research interests. The Department boasts scholars of international reputation in literary theory, literature and philosophy, translation, world poetry and poetics, classical traditions (Eastern and Western) and their afterlives, Renaissance literature, modern drama, film, and cultural policy. The Department offers students the opportunity to grapple in a rigorous way with the most pressing issues in literary studies today: the questioning of national and cultural boundaries and identities; the struggle over literature's epistemological, ethical, or social authority; the debate about what counts as literature, and why; and the interaction between literature and other cultural or intellectual practices.

Specific Areas of Focus

  • National Literature
  • Literature, and Other Disciplines



  • Department of Comparative Literature
  • 1050 East 59th Street
  • Chicago, IL 60637
  • Phone:773.702.8486
  • Website:

Application Method

Applications should be initiated through the online application.


Deadline for admissions and financial aid: December 15

The Department of Comparative Literature admits applicants once a year for the following Autumn Quarter. Applications received after the deadline cannot be considered for financial aid.

Campus Visits

Interviews are not required; however, admitted applicants are invited to visit campus, sit in on classes, and meet with current students. You may contact faculty with questions, but there is no expectation that you do so.

Degree Objective

The Department of Comparative Literature admits applicants only for the PhD degree, and does not offer a stand-alone MA program.  If you are interested in pursuing an MA focusing in Comparative Literature, we encourage you to consider the Master of Arts Program in Humanities (MAPH).

Application Requirements

  1. Online Application Form and Supplemental Form
  2. References: Three letters of reference should be included with your application.
  3. Graduate Record Examinations and TOEFL scores: GRE scores (general test only) are required of all applicants, including those with previous MAs. For information on additional examinations required of some international applications, see the Test Requirements page on the divisional website. The University’s GRE code is 1832.
  4. Statement of Academic Purpose: Applicants should carefully state their purpose in pursuing a graduate degree. This statement is given considerable weight in the final decision regarding admission.
  5. Writing Sample: Applicants should submit a sample of their scholarly writing that is between 15 and 20 pages in length.
  6. Transcripts: Official transcripts from all post-secondary educational institutions should be submitted with your application.

Admissions Decisions

Admissions decisions typically are released in early March. No decisions will ever be given by phone, and no decisions will be given to those who inquire by email before early March. Direct all questions about your application directly to the admissions office.

Program Requirements

For information on program requirements please visit our website.

Costs & Financial Aid

The Office of the Dean of Students works to assist graduate students at all stages of their studies who seek funding to support their scholarly work. Visit the Dean of Students website for an overview on funding support for pre-dissertation research, language study, conference travel, dissertation research, and post-doctoral fellowships.