The Department of Comparative & World Literature offers graduate programs leading to the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy and is designed to provide a systematic study of subjects and problems common to several literatures. Its purpose is to enable students who have varied linguistic competence and preparation to explore the theory of literature and criticism; the interrelations of several literatures; the main currents, periods, and movements in literary history; the development of literary themes and types; and the relations between literature and the other arts. The graduate program provides rigorous training in multiple languages and literatures, comparative cultural methods, and critical theory. 

For questions about the Graduate Program, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Prof. Stephanie Hilger (

Learn more about our graduate program

All students are admitted to the Ph.D. program at stage one. This means that students are not normally admitted to the Program in order to obtain a terminal M.A., but they will do some M.A. work before moving on to the Ph.D. level, regardless of previous undergraduate or graduate degrees. Please see the Graduate Handbook for details.

If you would like to apply to the University of Illinois, it's easy to apply online, and the Graduate College has helpful information on the application process, as well as campus life and resources. For admission information, please contact:

School of Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics (SLCL)
Graduate Student Services
3070 Literatures, Cultures & Languages Building
707 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana

or contact Student Services by email, or peruse their helpful Student Services website.

The deadline for applications with full consideration for financial aid is December 15.