Visiting Scholars Application


The Department of Comparative Literature each year welcomes a limited number of qualified visitors whose academic interests intersect directly with the teaching and research activities of the department's faculty members. Because the department’s faculty members and students thrive on intellectual engagement with guest researchers, visitors are encouraged to participate actively in the life of the department and the university, attending lectures, conferences, film showings, and classes with permission of the instructor. Visitors may be invited to present an informal talk or seminar during the course of their stay.  English language proficiency is assumed, and will be verified by the faculty host.

Although these visiting appointments carry no financial support of any kind, visitors are given a Harvard e-mail address and a Harvard identification card, which gives them access to Harvard College libraries and museums. The University provides assistance with the visa process for scholars coming from outside the United States. Visitors are entirely responsible for obtaining their own funding, for making their own travel and living arrangements, and for obtaining health insurance. The Department is unable to provide office space or supplies.
The Department of Comparative Literature hosts three types of visitors:

1.    Visiting Scholar: doctorate not required, but usually in hand.  The Visiting Scholar appointment enables individuals, ordinarily ladder faculty members on paid leave from another institution (tenured or tenure-track), to carry out their own work in association with a Harvard faculty member.

2.    Fellow: for individuals who have recently received the Ph.D. or are currently in the final years of a Ph.D. program.  The Fellow appointment allows advanced graduate students and Ph.D.'s in the early years of their scholarly careers opportunities for individual research under the guidance of a department faculty member.

3.    Associates: generally for alumni of the department or other individuals with a need for department affiliation.  For more on the Associate program, please contact the department.  

The department gives preference for appointments of 12 months’ duration; with rare exception, Visiting Scholars are not accepted for less than 6 months, and the absolute minimum is three months. Extensions to the initial appointment are granted only very rarely.

How to Apply
Acceptance as a visitor is competitive; the department can accommodate only a handful of individuals at any one time.  Applications should include the following (all materials must be in English):

1.    current curriculum vitae
2.    brief description (1-2 pages) of research project
3.    cover letter specifying the desired dates of appointment
4.    brief letter from the Comparative Literature faculty member who has agreed to sponsor the visit

Please note, the department has recently changed its application procedures.  

Applications for the academic year 2022-2023 are due January 15, 2022, for review first by the department’s Visiting Scholars Committee and then by the full department at its February 2022 department meeting.  The department is aware that many fellowship applications require a formal letter of invitation, but the department cannot make exceptions to the above dates and urges potential visiting scholars/fellows to plan accordingly. 

Applications should be sent by email to Melissa Carden, Department Administrator (  The department’s mailing address is 16 Quincy Street, Dana-Palmer House, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.