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Comparative Literature

With a long-standing commitment to theory and a progressive understanding of the discipline, the Comparative Literature Department has also embarked on a new effort to define the specific contributions of the humanities to the pressing socio-political and ethical concerns of the contemporary world. It actively embraces new directions for trans-disciplinary research and attempts to determine how such research can help to draw forth and carry forward the fundamental questions that concern the humanities. A strong engagement with the question of literary language and with contemporary work in the arts anchors this effort to rethink the place of the humanities and literary study while respecting the special temporalities and forms of encounter that characterize these domains.

The Department of Comparative Literature at Binghamton University offers three avenues of graduate study with MA and PhD options. It features, in addition to its primary MA and PhD programs in Comparative Literature, an MA in Translation Studies, a unique interdisciplinary doctoral program in Philosophy, Literature, and the Theory of Criticism, as well as a PhD in Translation Studies through the internationally recognized Translation Research and Instruction Program (TRIP). 

Recent doctoral graduates have gone on to positions such as an assistant professor of English at Molloy College, professor of translation at Universidad de Antioqua, Columbia, and positions at Le Moyne, Appalachin State University, and Global IT.

Graduate Degrees Offered

Related Programs

Application Deadlines

  Fall Admission Spring Admission
MA January 15 October 15
PhD January 15 October 15

Admission Requirements*

The standards maintained by The Graduate School and individual departments and programs are applied to ensure that applicants admitted to the University are well qualified and trained to study at this institution and have a reasonable expectation of successfully completing a graduate program, and who, with the benefit of graduate education, are most likely to contribute substantially to their academic or professional fields.

To be eligible, you must have and provide:

  • A bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university
  • Complete set of your undergraduate and graduate transcripts. At minimum, a 3.0 GPA is required. See details.

Applicant Qualifications

PhD (Literary Studies)

  • Master's degree in a national literature or in comparative literature 
    • Binghamton University students who have passed the MA examination with a grade of B+ or better may be recommended to the program (contact the department directly for details)
    • Applicants presenting an MA degree in a field outside literature are required to take an examination based on a few major literary works (contact the department directly for details)


  • Undergraduate major in philosophy or literature desirable for admission


All applicants must submit the following:

  • Online graduate degree application and application fee
  • Transcripts from each college/university you have attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement (2-3 pages) describing your reasons for pursuing graduate study, your career aspirations, your special interests within your field, and any unusual features of your background that might need explanation or be of interest to your program's admissions committee.
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae (max. 2 pages)
  • Official GRE scores
  • Writing sample
    • MA: typically, applicants submit an upper-division undergraduate paper or an honors thesis
    • PhD (Literary Studies): one or more term papers or MA thesis
    • PhD (PLC): typically, applicants submit an upper-division undergraduate paper, an honors thesis or MA thesis

And, for international applicants:

  • International Student Financial Statement form (PDF)
  • Official bank statement/proof of support
  • Official TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic scores

*This information is subject to change. While we make every effort to keep it accurate and up-to-date, we recommend you contact the department for program-specific requirements.

How to Apply button


Gisela Brinker-Gabler, Graduate Director

Kathleen Stanley, Department Secretary

Department of Comparative Literature website

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Last Updated: 6/18/15