Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to a graduate program at UCLA?

All applicants must submit their application materials through the Graduate Division website. Please consult the department’s Instructions for Applying for additional details.

Do I need to know a foreign language before I apply?

Admitted students are expected to demonstrate knowledge of a language other than English equivalent to that of a student who has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature.  We strongly recommend that you develop a high level of proficiency in at least one language other than English before applying to the graduate program.

How do I demonstrate language proficiency?

Before completing the Ph.D., students must demonstrate knowledge of two languages other than English. At least one of the two required foreign languages must be completed prior to the Second Year Review/MA Exam (i.e., by Spring Quarter of a student’s second year in the program). Proficiency in one language must be certified by completing two or more upper division and/or graduate literature courses, taken for a letter grade in the appropriate language department. The second language requirement may be satisfied by completion of one graduate or upper division literature class with a letter grade of “B+” or higher. Students must demonstrate language competency beyond the intermediate level (or, the equivalent of two years of instruction at UCLA) in order to enroll in these courses.

In rare cases where sufficient courses are not available, students may substitute a translation examination administered by a departmental faculty member in place of coursework. In such cases, the Director of Graduate Studies or Department Chair must provide a memorandum of support.

How many students apply and how many are admitted?

We receive 60-80 applications for the Ph.D. program annually. Of those applicants, we usually admit between 6-8 students. The entering fall cohort is typically 3-4 students.

When is the graduate admission application deadline?

The deadline to apply for admission is posted annually on the official Graduate Division webpage for the Ph.D. program.

When are graduate admissions decisions announced?

We release admissions decisions on a rolling basis beginning in late February.

What is the expected range for the grade point average?

A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or its equivalent, if the letter grade system is not used at your institution) in the last 60 semester or 90 quarter units of undergraduate study and in any post-baccalaureate study is required for admission to a UCLA graduate program. Applicants to the Comparative Literature Ph.D. program are expected to earn a Bachelor’s degree in literature, ancient or modern, with a grade point average of 3.4 or higher in upper-division literature courses before matriculation.

What is the minimum acceptable GRE score?

Submission of GRE scores is not required for application to the Comparative Literature Ph.D. program. Inclusion of GRE scores in the application will not result in preferential consideration by the Admissions Committee.

Is the TOEFL required for international students?

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.

Will the TOEFL score be accepted if it was taken more than two years ago?

No; TOEFL scores are valid for up to two years, and scores must be valid at the time that you submit your application for admission.

Is there a minimum acceptable TOEFL score?

The Graduate Division requires a minimum TOEFL iBT score of 87 for admission to any graduate program at UCLA.

What is your department code for the TOEFL?

The UCLA institution code is: 4837. The Department/Major Field code for Comparative Literature is: 28.

How long should the statement of purpose be?

The statement of purpose should be 500 words in length (approximately one single-spaced page).

How long should the writing sample be?

The writing sample should be no longer than 15 pages.

What kind of funding can I expect as a graduate student?

The Department of Comparative Literature automatically considers all admitted students for multi-year (4-5 year) funding packages. Additional information can be found here.

Do I need an M.A. degree first before applying for the Ph.D. program?

Applicants are not required to earn an M.A. in order to qualify for admission to our Ph.D. program. Students who enter the program without an M.A. in Comparative Literature may earn the Master’s degree en route to the Ph.D. after two years of study at UCLA.

Students who enter the Ph.D. program with an M.A. in hand may petition the Department to validate up to three courses taken at another institution toward the Ph.D.

Does the department have a terminal M.A.-only program?

Our department does not offer a terminal M.A. Students may only earn the M.A. in Comparative Literature at UCLA en route to the Ph.D.

How can I contact professors/faculty in the department?

Contact information for each faculty member is listed on their respective profile pages in the People section of our website.

Who may I contact regarding more information?

For technical help with the online application system, please contact the Graduate Division via email at:

For questions regarding the Ph.D. program requirements, please first consult the official Graduate Division webpage for the Ph.D. program. If you need further clarification, you may then contact the Department’s Student Services Advisor, Holly Seely, via email at