Resources for Prospective Students
The PhD program in Comparative Literature at LSU trains vibrant scholars and thinkers, thoroughly grounded in the history of literary theory and criticism. Guided by our internationally-recognized faculty, students develop their own research agendas, which encourages the study of literature from an interdisciplinary standpoint.
For applicants to be considered for financial assistance, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships, their applications must be received by January 25th.
A Bachelor’s degree with an undergraduate major in language or literature is the normal prerequisite for graduate work in Comparative Literature. An MA is preferred, but not required. For admittance, you must meet the requirements of both the Program in Comparative Literature and the Graduate School.
How to Apply
Although you must complete your application by January 25 to be considered for Graduate Assistantships (with coursework beginning in the fall semester), applications for admission are also reviewed in October for spring admittance without funding.
The first step in the application process is to create an account through the portal at gradapply.lsu.edu. Then submit the following items:
- The completed online application form
- The required application fee (plus any applicable late fee)
- A sample of critical writing (approximately 15 to 20 pages). If the sample is written in a language other than English, you must provide a translation into English as well.
- A set of official transcripts from all previous colleges or universities attended. A minimum GPA of 3.2 is usually expected on undergraduate and 3.5 on graduate coursework; however, we consider many factors and examine applications holistically. (Unofficial scans may be attached to your application for initial departmental review, but official transcripts must follow.)
- GRE scores (sent by testing service). NOTE: this requirement is currently waived due to the pandemic.
- 3 letters of recommendation (in English, uploaded by referees to the portal when they receive a prompt from LSU)
- CV - optional
- Statement of purpose (approximately 500 words, in English) - optional
International applicants should also submit:
- Degree statements and an official English translation of each foreign document
- Financial statement
- A satisfactory score on either the TOEFL or IELTS
International students should consult the website of the International Services Office.
All prospective students should consult the Graduate School’s handy Application Checklist.
Comparative Literature offers a limited number of competitive graduate assistantships that carry a stipend and tuition waiver. Our graduate assistants have an array of opportunities, such as teaching in language and literature programs (Spanish, French, English, etc.), serving as research assistants to Comparative Literature professors or as editorial assistants on journals, assisting the program director, tutoring for Communication across the Curriculum, and more. Most of our graduate assistants rotate through more than one assignment, receiving cross-training and valuable experience. Because of its commitment to excellent pedagogy, the program requires new teaching assistants to undertake appropriate training and carefully supervises their work in the classroom. Renewal of assistantships is contingent on satisfactory performance of assigned duties and on satisfactory progress toward the degree, which means a grade point average of at least 3.0 and the completion of nine hours of graduate credit in each fall and spring semester. Renewal is typically for up to a total of four years. Application for an extra semester or a fifth year of funding is sometimes possible; for example, LSU offers a competitive dissertation-writing fellowship that Comparative Literature students have won.
Additional sources of funding:
Prospective students are encouraged to seek outside funding from organizations such as the AAUW, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Beta Kappa, the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. International students are encouraged to explore funding from their countries of origin.