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Prospective Students


The Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan offers a six-year Ph.D. program that emphasizes the international and interdisciplinary nature of comparative literature. Our graduate curriculum has strong language requirements but provides great flexibility in the ways that students put their expertise in language and culture to use. All students admitted to the doctoral program are awarded full tuition and stipend, through a funding package that combines fellowship and teaching.


What is unique about Comparative Literature at Michigan?

In a nutshell: we practice radical diversity and interdisciplinarity, we take collaboration seriously. Our intimate work with multiple languages enables our diversity, interdisciplinarity, and collaboration and infuses them with a characteristic combination of rigor and joy.

Radical Diversity and Interdisciplinarity

We have graduate students and faculty members from all over the globe, and a deep commitment to diversity that translates into one of the most flexible programs in the country. Our professors have broad expertise from European literatures (ancient, medieval, and modern) to Mediterranean, East European, Near Eastern, Latin American, and Asian languages and cultures, as well as other media such as music, African film, and Chinese modern art. We have particular strength in the field of Critical Translation Studies, and we teach in the areas of Aesthetic and Literary Theory, Classical Reception, Gender Studies and Queer Theory, the History of the Book, Performance Studies, Creative Non-Fiction, Judaic Studies, Islam and the West, Narratology, Lyric Theory, Comparative Cultural Studies, Philosophy and Literature, Psychoanalysis, Religious Studies, Theory of Tragedy, and Theory and History of Tropes.

  • For more information about faculty interests see faculty page.  
  • For a description of graduate seminars recently taught by Comparative Literature faulty, see course descriptions.

We take collaboration seriously

Our twenty faculty members hold joint appointments with the Departments of English, German, Romance, and Slavic Languages and Literatures, the Departments of Asian Languages and Cultures, Near Eastern Studies, Women’s Studies, Afroamerican and African Studies, Classical Studies, History, Anthropology, Philosophy, and History of Art. In addition, we have close ties to dozens of faculty across the university who regularly work with our graduate students and serve on their doctoral committees. Our program gives students flexibility to take many of their courses in other departments across the university, and our graduate students have the opportunity to teach in other departments as well.

Intimate work with multiple languages

Between our faculty and our graduate students, we speak or read 47 languages: Ancient Greek, Arabic, Aramaic, Armenian, Aromanian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Classical Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Douala, Dutch, Danish, English, Ewodi, Farsi, French, German, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Lingala, Modern Greek, Norwegian, Old Church Slavonic, Old Occitan, Ottoman, Panjabi, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Taiwanese, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, and Yiddish.

We want to hear from you if:

  • You are deeply intellectually curious
  • You are committed to crossing borders--between national literatures, between disciplines, between media, between historical eras.
  • You love to read, to think, and to write.
  • You are drawn to theoretical thinking.
  • You speak or read at least two foreign languages, one at an advanced level.
  • You can’t wait to go abroad to immerse yourself in the cultures that interest you.
  • You are independent, highly motivated, and you love the idea of a flexible, self-designed program with few rigid requirements.
  • You want to define your own intellectual project, without being bound by linguistic or disciplinary boundaries.

For more information

Please browse through the faculty and graduate student pages on our website. For further questions about applying to the graduate program, please contact