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Indiana University Bloomington

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Admission Information

Admission to both the M.A. and Ph.D. programs is competitive.  The Department’s Admissions and Fellowships Committee oversees the assessment of new applications.  Among the forms of evidence used to evaluate applications are academic record, letters of recommendation, test scores, and preparation in foreign language and literary study. 

Applicants for both the M.A. and Ph.D. should submit the following:

  1. the completed application form
  2. the applicant’s statement of purpose
  3. transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  4. at least three letters of recommendation
  5. official score reports from the Graduate Record Examination Aptitude Test (required) and Subject Achievement Test (recommended but not required)
  6. Scholarship as reflected in a research/critical paper (such as an honors project or Master’s thesis) of approximately 15-25 pages
  7. Literary background
  8. Linguistic preparation
  9. TOEFL scores for all international applicants

All applicants whose native language is not English must also submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Apply online or for paper applications, U.S. citizens should contact the Comparative Literature Department or the University Graduate School Admissions Office, Kirkwood Hall 111, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405 (phone: 812-855-9345).  Applicants who are not U.S. citizens should submit the international application form, which is available from the International Admissions Office, Poplars 22, 400 E. 7th Street, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405 (phone: 812-855-4306).  The application deadline for international applicants is December 1. U.S. citizens who have completed all or part of their undergraduate or graduate education outside the U.S. should submit a domestic application plus a “Supplemental Application for Admission,” available from the Comparative Literature Department or International Admissions.

No applications for admission with fellowship can be considered unless they are complete by January 15 (December 1 for international applicants).  Applications for admission only must be complete by February 1.  Applicants should therefore take the required examinations early enough so that their scores will reach the Department before the deadlines.  The Department will notify applicants whose files are incomplete; but each applicant must take responsibility for having the required items submitted.  Letters of recommendation should be sent directly to the Department by recommenders, not by the applicant.


IMPORTANT for Fall 2020 Admissions Prospects:

The University Graduate School transitioned to a new online application system for all graduate programs this year (linked above). As we learn and customize the new interface over time, please send an email to when you have completed or nearly completed the rest of the application process and attach your statement of purpose, so we can double-check that we have your materials. You do not need to attach anything with sensitive information such as transcripts or test scores in this email; this is simply a safeguard to make sure we are not missing prospective applicants in the new system. When you are confident most or all of your application materials ought to have arrived and if you have not received confirmation from us saying so, you are welcome to check in at the same email address, Please be advised, however, that we cannot give updates on admission decisions until the committee formally meets. Applicants should expect to be contacted with decisions between February and April, approximately.