The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Graduate Studies in Comparative Literature

The Graduate Progam in Comparative Literature at UMass Amherst offers two degrees: the PhD in Comparative Literature and the MA in Comparative Literature. Students in both degree programs may choose to follow a track in Translation and Interpreting Studies. Our graduate students form an exceptionally diverse and supportive community; they come from across the United States, Spain, Iran, Pakistan, Italy, Poland, the People’s Republic of China, Israel, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, Uraguay, and Saudi Arabia. Students have considerable freedom in designing their course of study. We encourage students to look across disciplinary boundaries and beyond traditional literary studies.

Graduate work in 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, 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 their second language, and an intermediate level in their 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.
  • GRE - the Program is in the process of reviewing this requirement and an update will be posted by October 26, 2020.
  • 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.

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 ( 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 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.

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 more information on Translation and Interpreting Studies at UMass, please contact Professor Moira Inghilleri at