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Comparative Literature, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
University rank #13 (ARWU) Ithaca, NY, United States
The Field of Comparative Literature at Cornell offers a Ph.D. degree in all major areas of literary study and on literary and cultural theory. Because the field is small (about twenty students), it is possible to plan diverse and interdisciplinary programs of study. 
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  • Entering students design a program in consultation with the Field Committee, which is chaired by the Director of Graduate Studies. Areas of concentration and principal advisors (the Special Committee) should be selected by the end of the first year of residence. Because course work is completed within three years, the student should have proficiency in two foreign languages. Those intending to specialize in a foreign literature are strongly encouraged to acquire fluency in the relevant language. Students normally take fourteen courses. All candidates are required to do at least one year of classroom teaching as part of the doctoral program. 
  • The department does not offer a terminal M.A. program (and consequently does not admit students seeking only that degree), but an M.A. degree is granted after satisfactory completion of the A examination. The student then begins work on a dissertation, which upon completion is defended at the oral final (B) examination, administered by the Special Committee.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 36 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

  • The Second-Year Review takes place in the third term. Its aim is to enable students to begin focusing on the topics and the fields of research that will form the basis of their A exams. 
  • The Admission to Candidacy (A) examination is usually taken in the third year of study and is both written and oral.

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120.

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

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  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks.

General Requirements

  • Applicants are required to submit GRE general test scores, a writing sample, a statement of purpose and to demonstrate proficiency in two foreign literatures (through, for instance, course work or study abroad).

Tuition Fee

  • International

    29500 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 29500 USD per year and a duration of 36 months.
  • National

    29500 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 29500 USD per year and a duration of 36 months.
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Living costs for Ithaca

  • 1128 - 2460 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


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