Information for Applicants

Letter from the Chair

The Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago has a long tradition of excellence in the crosscultural and multidisciplinary study of literature. Chicago is a great private research university and our department has consistently been ranked among the top departments in the country. Our core faculty members include internationally known comparatists of widely varied interests and specialties, but we work together to foster our students' abilities in sensitive close reading, sophisticated critical analysis, sound historical scholarship, and innovative conceptual and theoretical thinking. Our students work both with our core faculty and the outstanding faculty throughout the University in devising their individual programs of comparative study. We offer our students a choice of two different tracks of study focusing either on two national literatures or literature and another discipline. In addition to rigorous course work and close individual mentorship of our students, we offer numerous interdisciplinary workshops that bring together faculty and graduate students from different parts of the University with common research interests and provide occasions for discussing work-in-progress. These workshops are particularly valuable for dissertation students, fostering their sense of intellectual community after their course work is complete and giving them vital feedback on their dissertation chapters. The workshops often invite eminent scholars to come for visits, which give students opportunities to meet major scholars in various areas of Comparative Literature.

All our students come with full tuition and competitive multi-year stipends, with extra support for summer study. Our students get invaluable pedagogical experience by serving both as teaching assistants and as freestanding course instructors in courses that reflect their particular linguistic and literary expertise and interests. We have a strong record of placing our Ph.D.’s in top academic positions.

We have a graduate student social committee that organizes social events on a regular basis. We are located in Hyde Park, a vibrant community within the major urban center of Chicago, which offers both immense scholarly resources (such as the Newberry Library, a renowned research library) and numerous cultural amenities. It is stimulating place to live, think, and work. For more on applying to the PhD program in Comparative Literature, see our admission requirements.

I hope you will apply to Chicago and, if accepted, choose to study here. We invite you to apply electronically using the Division of the Humanities online application, and find out more about the graduate experience at the University of Chicago from the Dean of Students. Each year around the beginning of March, the Department organizes campus visits for students who have been accepted into the graduate program. I hope to see you then!

Best Regards,
Françoise Meltzer
Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor 
Chair, Department of Comparative Literature