Instructions for Applying

Thank you for your interest in the UCLA Department of Comparative Literature’s graduate program. The Department admits students to its Ph.D. cohort for the Fall Quarter annually. Admitted students are not permitted to defer their offers of admission.

The Application for UCLA Graduate Admissions is only available online. Applicants must ensure that their complete application dossier is received by the December 1 deadline. Admissions decisions are released on a rolling basis beginning in late February. The Department typically receives 70-80 applications each year, of which 8 applicants are offered admission. Entering cohorts usually total 4-6 students.


A bachelor’s degree in literature, ancient or modern, is a prerequisite for admission to the Ph.D. in Comparative Literature program. Applicants whose B.A. program lacks a literature major are required to demonstrate the equivalent knowledge and comprehension of one literature.. Applicants are expected to earn a minimum 3.4 grade-point average (GPA) in their upper division literature courses.

Applicants must also demonstrate literary proficiency in one language other than English, and should possess elementary knowledge of a second language.


Statement of Purpose

A statement of purpose, approximately 2-3 pages in length, which details your background, intellectual interests, and research plans. Please describe how the doctoral program will further your immediate and long-range goals. Autobiographical material can be useful where clearly relevant.

Applicants are not required to provide a personal statement as part of the application.

Letters of Recommendation

Applicants must request three (3) letters of recommendation from scholars who can address the applicant’s intellectual qualifications, with particular attention to literature and languages. Recommenders will receive an email request with instructions for submitting their letters. All letters of recommendation must be submitted online by the December 1 applications deadline.

Test Scores

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Exam is 500 Internal Server Error

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; we do not require the subject test portion of the GRE.  Applicants should plan to take the GRE no later than October or November. Applicants who live outside of the United States can  find test center and date information on the ETS website.  Scores are valid for five years following your test date.

The GRE institution code is R4837; the Department/Major Field code is 2902.

Applicants who do not hold a bachelor’s or higher degree from a university located in the United States or in another country in which English is both the primary spoken language of daily life and the medium of instruction are REQUIRED to submit valid Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores to verify their English language proficiency.

You are encouraged to earn a minimum TOEFL score of 87 on the Internet-based test (iBT) or 560 on the paper and pencil test. Applicants who elect to take the IELTS must earn an overall band score of at least 7.0 to qualify for admission.


Applicants must upload unofficial transcripts from each academic institution attended on the online application. Applicants to whom the Department extends an offer of admission will need to send sealed official transcripts bearing the actual signature of the Registrar and the seal of the issuing institution directly to the department:

UCLA Department of Comparative Literature
BOX 951536, 350 Kaplan Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1536

Writing Sample

Applicants must submit a research paper or other piece of writing (no more than 15 pages in length) 500 Internal Server Error

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Supplemental Application: Language Proficiency

Applicants to the Ph.D. in Comparative Literature program must complete the Comparative Literature Supplemental Application section on the online application for graduate admission. This section requires applicants to disclose their native language and indicate their reading, writing, and speaking proficiency in up to three (3) additional languages. Your application is considered incomplete if you do not provide this information.