Application and Admission

Our Comparative Literature and Translation Studies Program seeks highly qualified, research-oriented graduate students with a commitment to developing rigorous and innovative theoretical frameworks for the study of world literary cultures from all periods. We only admit students for the PhD or the MA/PhD. We do not offer a terminal MA degree. The Master curriculum and requirements are oriented toward the doctoral program and are integral to the preparation for the PhD. Students intending to pursue only an MA degree will not be accepted into our graduate program. Students who do not hold already a master's degree need to apply to the MA/PhD program, except if they plan to complete their degree before starting their studies in our program; those with an MA degree should apply directly to the PhD program.

We are unable to consider application materials sent directly to individual faculty. Please apply as described below.
A document listing questions and answers is also available below in the download area.

Application Deadline

Completed applications and all application materials must be received by December 17 for admission to the Fall quarter and for consideration of financial support in the form of fellowships and teaching assistantships.
Please also check the Graduate Admission Page for our doctoral program.

Important Recommendations

Your application needs to include a writing sample that presents evidence of your ability to engage in close literary interpretation and discussion of theory.
In your statement of purpose, please spell out the three potential fields you want to study, a tentative research project leading to the PhD, and why our program in Comparative Literature is a good fit for your doctoral goal. You may also identify additional optional emphases, such as Translation Studies, Feminist Studies, Global Studies, and identity faculty and potential mentors who can support your research interests.
The faculty may not yet be affiliated, or may already be affiliated with Comparative Literature. The affiliation process is automatic when faculty work with our students and teach our seminars.
We suggest you read faculty websites, which will inform you about the range of expertise of our affiliated faculty members and other colleagues with whom you wish to work.
Additional documents include evidence of strong language skills.
Our Graduate Admission Committee looks forward to reading your completed applications.

Application Packets

In addition to fulfilling all university requirements for admission to graduate status, described in the chapter in the general catalog Graduate Education at UCSB, applicants to the MA/PhD program will normally have completed an undergraduate major in comparative literature or a closely related field. Applicants for the French or German graduate specializations will normally have completed an undergraduate major in French or German or in closely-related fieds; write if you need more information on potential equivalence. For admission to the PhD program, applicants must have completed an MA in comparative literature or a closely-related field; applicants for the French or German graduate specializations will normally have completed an MA in French or German studies and done coursework in closely-related fields; write if you need more information on potential equivalence.

Application packets for both programs consist of the following:

  1. Copies of official or non-official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions uploaded in the online application. Note that, if admitted into our program, you will need to provide official transcripts to our Graduate Division.
    UCSB requires that international applicants upload both the original language transcripts and a certified English translation, as well as the degree certificate as one document. The translation must be done by the school or an official agency. 
  2. Three letters of recommendation. Please note your recommenders need to submit their letters electronically. You will be prompted to enter information about your recommenders when you fill out the online application. Letters should be signed and printed on departmental/institutional letterheads. THere is no exception to this rule.
  3. If the applicant is not from an English-speaking country, official TOEFL scores (sent electronically by ETS).
  4. A writing sample of no more than 25 pages in length. Writing samples should be substantial papers written in an upper-division or graduate literature course; it could also be a portion of a Master thesis.
  5. Statement of purpose, personal achievements/contributions, and a detailed curriculum vitae (submitted in the online application).
    Note that you should indicate the professors you would like to work with in your statement of purpose. If you cannot locate the professors in our list of afilliated faculty, you can still indicate the name of the professor(s) in your statement of purpose, as we can affiliate them later. Make sure you also address why you want to study in our doctoral program and why Comparative Literature is your choice of intellectual project. Please also describe your comparative project carefully, taking into account the requirements of our doctoral program and our learning outcomes.
  6. Demonstration of competence in a foreign language. Foreign language proficiency can be demonstrated by (a) submission of a writing sample in a foreign language, or (b) evidence that the applicant is a native speaker of a foreign language.
  7. Supplemental foreign language form. [can also be downloaded from the download area below]

The program’s admission policy is based on intellectual potential and promise, strong academic records, and programmatic fit.

For additional information on the full application process, please consult the dedicated page of the Graduate Division web site.

Applications can be completed at

For further information, please contact:
Graduate Program Assistant
Comparative Literature Program
4212 Phelps Hall
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4130

Phone: 805-893-2131
Fax: 805-893-8341
E-mail: or