Graduate Admissions

The Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS) accepts both new and continuing PhD students to its Certificate program. Admission is limited and competitive. Interested students must select ICLS on their application or within the first year of their PhD program.

Please note that our Certificate in Comparative Literature and Society is not a stand-alone degree program. To be eligible for this certificate, one must be accepted into a PhD program in one of our Affiliated Departments at Columbia University.

New entering students apply directly to a participating degree program through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, clearly indicating their interest in Comparative Literature and Society on the indicated part of the GSAS Application Part 1. Note that only students accepted into their departmental PhD program will be reviewed and considered for ICLS. Applications are vetted by an ICLS Admissions Committee who look for languages and comparative and interdisciplinary research interests. Once admitted to an affiliated department PhD program, you will be contacted by ICLS requesting a one-page Supplementary Statement which focuses on your interest in the Certificate in Comparative Literature and Society. Applicants who are not admitted to ICLS during the initial application process may apply again for admission to the Certificate, via our Continuing Admissions process, by Oct 15 of the first year of their program.

Continuing Student Admissions Continuing students should contact the ICLS DGS and copy the ICLS administrative office. Students will be required to fill out a Graduate Admissions Worksheet, provide a 1-2 page description of their research interests, and to confirm an ICLS-affiliated faculty member who has agreed to work with them by Oct 15 of their first year. Applicants must be accepted to a PhD program in an affiliated department to be eligible for the ICLS Certificate program. All continuing applications are due by October 15 of their first year. This application will be competitive depending on the available spaces in the entering class’s cohort. Decisions made in the continuing application review are final and students may not reapply in their second year.

All interested students must take the ICLS graduate introductory course, CPLS GR6100: Introduction to Comparative Literature and Society, in the first year of graduate study, continuing students in the first year after admission. Social sciences, Architecture, and Law students have the option of taking it in the second year with the permission of the ICLS Director of Graduate Studies, if departmental requirements make it necessary. The main focus of PhD work may be either one or more linguistic and literary traditions or work in history, anthropology, art history or other affiliated Columbia departments and schools.

ICLS Director of Graduate Studies

Nadia Abu El-Haj, 411G Milbank Hall, email ne2008 at

 The Heyman Center for the Humanities, Room B-101
74 Morningside Drive
New York, NY, 10027
  (212) 854-4541
  (212) 854-3099