Although we are here to answer your questions, it is helpful to first acquaint yourself with the following sources of information. A good place to start is the Comparative Literature program description at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. General information about financial aid can be found at www.gsas.harvard.edu/prospective_students/financial_aid.php. See our Q&A below for information on the department's financial aid, offered to all admitted students.
Locating courses that are offered can be a good way to check out which faculty are teaching what courses and if your research interests would be met in our program.
You may apply for admission on-line or request an application packet from https://gsas.harvard.edu/admissions/apply.
And finally, there is a Q&A section (below) of questions most often asked that may provide added information. Happy researching!.
General Guidelines for Admissions: The following is a set of general guidelines for the Department of Comparative Literature’s graduate admissions process. While several areas are emphasized here, the Admissions Committee carefully examines the overall profile of each applicant, taking these and other aspects of the candidate's application into consideration.
The Application: Requests for applications and inquiries about financial aid should be addressed to www.gsas.harvard.edu. The application can be filled out on-line at the same address. You should make every effort to ensure that all supporting materials (transcripts, recommendations) arrive by the application deadline. No applications for admission will be accepted after the deadline set by GSAS.
The Writing Sample: The writing sample is supposed to demonstrate your ability to engage in literary criticism and/or theory. It can be a paper written for a course or a section of a senior thesis or essay. It is usually between 10-20 pages. Do not send longer papers with instructions to read an excerpt; you should edit the sample so that it is no longer than 20 pages. Writing samples should be in English, although candidates are permitted to submit an additional writing sample written in a different language.
Statement of Purpose: The Statement of Purpose should give the admissions committee a clear sense of your individual interests and strengths. You need not indicate at the time of application precisely what your field of specialization will be, but it is helpful to tell us about your aspirations and how the Comparative Literature department at Harvard might help in attaining these goals. These statements are usually between one and four pages long.
Recommendations: It is important to have strong letters of recommendation from professors who are familiar with your academic work. An applicant who has been out of school for several years should try to reestablish contact with former professors. Additional letters from employers may also be included.
Subject and program number: Our Harvard GSAS subject and program number is 1700 - this number is for use on the Harvard application.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE) codes: GRE scores should be reported to Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Code 3451.
For more information on our graduate program, please contact our Director of Graduate Studies, Professor Verena Conley (email@example.com)