The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Graduate Studies in Comparative Literature

The Graduate Progam in Comparative Literature at UMass Amherst offers three degree tracks: the PhD in Comparative Literature, the MA in Comparative Literature, and the MA in Translation. Our graduate students form an exceptionally diverse and supportive community; they come from across the United States, Spain, Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, India, Iran, Pakistan, Italy, Poland, the People’s Republic of China, Israel, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Brazil, Uraguay, and Ecuador. Students have considerable freedom in designing their course of study. Current students work on such broad-ranging fields as the relationships between translation and transnationalism; critical theory; media studies; the future of national literatures in the era of globalization; problems of representation; intersections among race, class, and gender; performance studies; literature and human rights; postcolonial and diaspora studies; music and word relations; and film studies. We generate new ideas and initiatives, and encourage students to look across disciplinary boundaries and beyond traditional literary studies.

The Program of Comparative Literature at UMass Amherst offers an exceptionally intimate and rigorous setting in which students work closely with core faculty while drawing on the considerable resources of the University and the Five College Consortium (Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College). Amherst is one of the nation’s top college towns, an area widely appreciated for its beautiful natural surroundings and vibrant, cosmopolitan community. The campus is two hours from Boston and New Haven, and 3 ½ hours from New York City.

Applications to the graduate program are due by January 5, 2019. 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. In terms of language competency, applicants must have an advanced level of proficiency in their second language, and an intermediate level in their third language. Applicants are expected to have a minimum score of 156 on the verbal section of the GRE, although exceptions may be made for international students. Students in the doctoral program receive a generous package of five years of guaranteed funding support through teaching assistantships (contingent on satisfactory progress and performance) and health benefits. The Graduate School 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. Doctoral 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. Funding (in the form of teaching assistantships) may also be available for highly qualified Masters students. We encourage recipients of Fulbright grants or other extrernal fellowships to apply.

Our graduate students have an impressive record of achievement: they have won research awards, earned distinguished teaching prizes, and secured 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 their own international Graduate Student Conferences on our campus: the biennial Crossroads Conference ( and Translation Studies Conference attract Graduate students from around the world. Faculty work closely together with students as mentors through each stage of the graduate degree. Many of our advanced doctoral students have the opportunity to design and teach their own literature classes. 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 held visiting assistant professorships at Swarthmore College and Tulane University, and postdoctural appointments at the University of Pennsylvania. 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 For information on the MA in Translation, please contact Professor Moira Inghilleri, Director of Translation and Interpreting Studies, at