• JANUARY 15th - The deadline for admission and financial support is January 15th. Applications and all supporting documents must be submitted by this date in order to be considered for fellowships, as well as to have the best chance for other financial support (employment).
  • MARCH 1st. Applications completed after January 15th, but by March 1st will be considered for admission if space is still available. Application for admission and all supporting materials must be received by the deadline to be considered for admission. Applications completed after March 1st will not be considered.

Application Checklist

As you prepare your graduate school application, keep in mind that our admission committee will be looking for two main things: 1. evidence that you have the potential to succeed in our graduate program and 2. evidence that our program is a good fit for you (there are faculty who are part of our program working in the area(s) you wish to study who could be good mentors for you).  Make sure the required items below speak to these two criteria. 

Online Application (available via ApplyYourself)

Click here to begin the online portion of the admissions & fellowship application (available from Oct. through the deadline).  The following will be submitted within the online application:

  1. Application Fee: $120 domestic, $140 international.
  2. Statement of Purpose (4,000 character limit, including spaces)
    Please highlight your academic preparation and motivation; interests, specializations and career goals; and fit for pursuing graduate study at UC Davis.
    • preparation and motivation may include your academic and research experiences that prepare you for this graduate program (for example: coursework, employment, exhibitions, fieldwork, foreign language proficiency, independent study, internships, laboratory activities, presentations, publications, studio projects, teaching, and travel or study abroad) and motivation or passion for graduate study.
    • interests, specializations, and career goals may include your research interests, disciplinary subfields, area/s of specialization, and professional objectives.
    • fit may include how your preparation, experiences, and interests match the specific resources and characteristics of your graduate program at UC Davis. Please identify specific faculty within your desired graduate program with whom you would like to work and how their interests match your own.
  3. Personal History Statement (4,000 character limit, including spaces)
    The purpose of this essay is to get know you as an individual and potential graduate student. Please describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. You may include any educational, familial, cultural, economic, or social experiences, challenges, community service, outreach activities, residency and citizenship, first-generation college status, or opportunities relevant to your academic journey; how your life experiences contribute to the social, intellectual, or cultural diversity within a campus community and your chosen field; or how you might serve educationally underrepresented and underserved segments of society with your graduate education.
    This essay should complement but not duplicate the content in the Statement of Purpose.
  4. Sample of recent written work
    The sample should be a research paper or critical analysis. It can be a work previously submitted for a class.  It will be submitted online during the application process.

Please make sure that all information in your online application is correct and that all statements & writing samples are revised/uploaded before submitting. No changes can be made to your application once it is submitted.

Additional Required Materials for ALL Applicants - Must also be received by the deadline

  1. Three letters of recommendation (from Professors)
    During the online application process, you will be required to provide your recommenders' contact information, including email addresses. Your professors will be contacted to submit their recommendations electronically once you have provided this information.  No letters sent by mail/email will be accepted. Letters must be submitted online in the Apply Yourself system.
  2. Transcripts:  We require academic records from each college-level institution you have attended.  You will be instructed to upload scanned copies of your transcripts after you have submitted your online application.  For more details visit   Upon admission, an official transcript must be shown to graduate studies as a condition of admission, but may be retained by the student. Falsified records will be immediate cause for revoking any offer of admission and funding.
    International Applicants: Certified English translations of your transcripts must be uploaded along with the original-language transcript.
  3. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores (General GRE Scores are recommended, but not required )
    If submitting GRE scores, please request OFFICIAL SCORES from ETS using the following codes:
    UC Davis Institution Code: 4834
    Comp Lit Department Code: 2902

Additional Required Materials for International Applicants - Must also be received by the deadline

  1. TOEFL/IELTS Scores: International Applicants must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. The minimum requirements for admission are a total score of 80 on the internet-based TOEFL test OR a whole test score of 6.5 on IELTS. Typically successful applicants score significantly higher than these minimums. A TOEFL speaking score of 26 or an IELTS speaking score of 8 is required to be eligible for Teaching Assistant positions.. Students with a TOEFL speaking score of 23-25 or an IELTS speaking score of 7-7.5 must pass an additional English Exam when they arrive in order to be eligible to TA. Please request OFFICIAL SCORES from the relevant testing agency using the following codes:
    UC Davis Institution Code: 4834
    Comp Lit Department Code: 28
    (We can waive the TOEFL or IELTS requirement if you have earned an undergraduate degree from a university where English was the primary language of instruction. Please make sure this university is listed on your application with the degree received and the date.)
  2. Transcript Translations - As mentioned above, certified English Translations are required for all transcripts issued by the institution in a foreign language. Please upload both the non-English transcript and the English translation. For more information, please see the graduate studies website:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Did you receive my materials? 
  • Once we have received AND processed your application materials, Nancy will email you a courtesy notice to let you know if any items are missing.  This will typically take about 1 week. It may take longer if it is very close to the deadline.
  • When I preview the application, it seems like I didn't fill in some of the information, but I wasn't asked.  What should I do? 
  • Our graduate program opted out of asking some questions because we felt they were redundant. You will not be able to fill in the following sections: GRE Scores; Prior Experience; Prerequisite Course History; Future Interests or Goals; Resume/CV (upload).
  • Is funding available for international students?
  •  Yes.  Funding is available for international students. Since teaching is an integral part of the Comp Lit PhD program, the most competitive applicants are fluent enough in English to be able to accurately grade essays. 
  • Is funding available for undocumented or DACAmented students? 
  • Some scholarships and loans may be available to undocumented students thanks to the California Dream Act. In order to work as a Teaching Assistant or Graduate Student Researcher, students must be authorized to work (by DACA or other means). To learn more, please visit the Undocumented Student Center website.
  • How do I apply for Spring admission? 
  • Applications for admission are accepted for fall quarter only.

For questions about the admissions process or more information about the Comparative Literature Ph.D. program, please contact Faculty Adviser Jocelyn Sharlet at  Thank you!