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Academics

Graduate Studies in Comparative Literature

Welcome to the Graduate Progam in Comparative Literature at UMass Amherst. The program confers two degrees: the PhD in Comparative Literature and the MA in Comparative Literature. Students may choose to follow a dedicated track in Translation and Interpreting Studies. We are an exceptionally diverse and supportive community; our students and faculty come from across the United States, Spain, Iran, Belgium, South Africa, Pakistan, Italy, Poland, the People’s Republic of China, Israel, Turkey, Mexico, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Uraguay, and Saudi Arabia. Students have considerable freedom in designing their course of study and work across disciplinary boundaries. UMass Amherst actively promotes equal opportunities and we welcome students from minoritized and historically underrepresented backgrounds to apply. 

Graduate students work closely with our faculty while drawing on the considerable resources of the Five College Consortium (Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College). Amherst is one of the nation’s top college towns and the area is widely appreciated for its beautiful surroundings and vibrant, cosmopolitan community. The campus is 1.5 hours from Boston and New Haven, and 3 hours from New York City.

Applications to the graduate program are due by January 5, 2021.

  • Admission is highly selective; applications are reviewed on an annual basis in early January and offers of admission go out in early spring.
  • Applicants are expected to have a first degree in a related discipline.
  • Expected language competency: PhD applicants must have an advanced level of proficiency in a second language, and an intermediate level in a third language. MA applicants are expected to demonstrate an advanced level of proficiency in their second language; if admitted, MA students will be expected to do a semester of coursework in a third language at UMass or one of the Five Colleges if they do not have already have proficiency in a third language. 
  • Foreign applicants must take the TOEFL or comparable language test.
  • As of October 2020, the GRE is no longer required for admission; applicants who have taken the GRE may submit their results if they so choose; no applicant will be penalized for not submitting GRE scores.
  • PhD Funding: Students in the PhD program receive a generous package of five years of guaranteed funding support through teaching assistantships (contingent on satisfactory progress and performance), which includes excellent health benefits. The Graduate School also offers a variety of summer fellowships on a competitve basis to fund student research and writing during the summer months; many of our doctoral students successfuly secure these grants. PhD students from underrepresented minorities may also qualify for additional funding support through the Research Enhancement and Leadership fellowship from the Graduate School which includes guaranteed summer funding and mentoring support.
  • MA Funding: Support (in the form of teaching assistantships) is available for highly qualified applicants to the MA. We encourage recipients of Fulbright grants or other extrernal fellowships to apply.
  • The admission fee may be waived for qualifying US students experiencing financial hardship; unfortunately, we cannot waive the admission fee for internaional students.

Placement and Awards: Graduate students in Comparative Literature at UMass have an impressive record of achievement: they have won research awards, distinguished teaching prizes, and tenure-track positions as well as non-academic jobs in translation and international diplomacy. They contribute actively to national and international conferences, and regularly organize two international Graduate Student Conferences on our campus: the biennial Crossroads Conference (https://www.umass.edu/crossroads/program.html) and Translation Studies Conference attract Graduate students from around the world. Recent graduates have been placed in tenure track jobs at Beloit College (Washington), George Mason University, University of Georgia, University of Peradeniya, College of the Holy Cross, Florida International University, the University of Manchester, the University of Palermo, the University of Malta, and Union College; they have secured highly sought after positions in international education at Cambridge University and at secondary schools like Deerfield Academy; they have held visiting assistant professorships at Swarthmore College and Tulane University, and postdoctural appointments at the University of Pennsylvania. Two alumni are visiting fellows at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ for 2020-2021. Our alumni have earned jobs in translation and in government (the Ecuadorean Parliament); they have worked as consultants for the Sarajevo Film Festival and for the PBS documentary Women, War, and Peace."  For more information on the many achievements of our graduate student and alumni, please visit: https://www.umass.edu/complit/graduate-students. 

Selected Recent Publications: Hyongrae Kim and Siobhan Mei co-authored a joint translation of Flower Swallows Sing: A North Korean Memoir in Verse. Alumna Matt Goodwin has a new book, The LatinX Files: Race, Migration, and Space Aliens (Rutgers UPress) and an edited volume Latinx Rising; Lara Curtis published Writing Resistance and the Question of Gender: Charlotte Delbo, Noor Inayat Khan, and Germaine Tillion (Palgrave); Siobhan Mei co-directs an ongoing digital project, Haiti in Translation; Jeff Diteman published a translation of Pablo Martin Sanchez’s The Anarchist Who Shared My Name in 2018, Juan Ramos published Sensing Decolonial Aesthetics and Latin American Arts.

For further information on the requirements for admission and the different degree programs offered within the Program, please contact Professor Kathryn Lachman, Graduate Program Director, at klachman@umass.edu. For more information on Translation and Interpreting Studies at UMass, please contact Professor Moira Inghilleri at minghilleri@complit.umass.edu. For profiles of current graduate students, please visit: https://www.umass.edu/complit/graduate-students