Graduate Division

Comparative Literature Ph.D.

Section 1


Comparative Literature at Irvine focuses on interdisciplinary study beyond traditional canons and genres. The department is committed to a transnational comparatism in which the Euro-American zone is not accorded any privileged position while the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Latin America—cultures of the colonized more generally—are accorded their rightful place. In addition, the department trains students in theoretical perspectives that have been transforming scholarship over the past few decades.

What Sets Us Apart?

Comparative Literature at UCI was constructed to open the meanings of comparative literature as a field through postcolonial inquiry. The program has sought in turn to question the limits of the postcolonial paradigm through research in black studies, Native American studies, LGBQT studies, feminist studies, and various minority formations--for example, racial, ethnic, gendered, sexed, religious--within national and transnational spaces.

The many theoretical accents that have emerged out the debates above also involve reciprocal and mutually transformative relations with other components of critical theory, informed by such well-established modes of thought as Marxism and psychoanalysis. Intensive, sustained work in critical theory is as important a part of the graduate program in the department as the study of literatures and literary pedagogies. Literary texts are viewed as one among many contexts of cultural production, such as environmental practices, rural and urban space construction, critical
theory, and film images and visual representation.

Rather than demanding that Ph.D. students compare two national literatures, then, thus reifying both "nation" and "literature," Ph.D. students may explore the internal differences of a cultural and political phenomenon or a problem transverse to various categories. Graduate students have stakes in the governance of the program and can and do construct courses, conferences, and research groups. The seemingly less instrumental architecture of the degree is, finally, less narrowly "professional" but no less pragmatic than the two-national-literatures approach. Many Comparative Literature Ph.D.'s have found tenure-track positions at Research 1 institutions while pursuing projects that are both idiosyncratic and politically satisfying.

Quick Facts

Program Type

Doctoral Program

Normative Time to Degree

7 years

Capstone Type


Accordion Section

Admissions Requirements

The deadline for application (including payment of fees by credit card only) for students who plan to enter in the following Fall is December 15 of the previous year. Applicants must use UCI's on-line application form which requires a Statement of Purpose, a Personal History Statement, GRE General Test scores, a Statement on Foreign Language Competence, and a writing sample of 15-20 pages. International students may be required to submit English language proficiency test scores. Please scan and upload copies of transcripts for all institutions attended since high school. Three letters of recommendation should also be uploaded to the online system by the December 15 deadline. Paper letters of recommendation are not allowed.

Please refer to the instructions for applications and Frequently Asked Questions.

Financial Support

The Department of Comparative Literature is committed to supporting its graduate students through fellowships and graduate teaching assistantships. We have been successful in offering first year students full or partial fellowships, and/or teaching assistantships. Multiple-year teaching assistant packages in combination with generous fellowships are available to first year students. These fellowships cover in-state fees and in many cases non-resident tuition, and health insurance.

The Graduate Division also offers an array of financial support resources, such as fellowship competitions open to incoming and current UCI students, and funding workshops and writing tutors available through the Graduate Resource Center.

For information on funding opportunities for international graduate students, read more here.

Click here to access the associated nomination and application deadlines for various fellowship opportunities.

Click here for a summary of funding eligibility for UCI graduate students who meet AB540 and/or DACA criteria.

Tuition & Fees

Graduate/Credential Student Fees 2019-20

  Fall 2019 Winter 2020 Spring 2020 Annual
Student Services Fee 376.00 376.00 376.00 1,128.00
Tuition 3,814.00 3,814.00 3,814.00 11,442.00
Assoc. Grad Students Fee 9.00 9.00 9.00 27.00
Student Center Fee 139.69 139.69 139.68 419.06
Bren Events Center Fee 23.00 23.00 23.00 69.00
Recreation Center Fee 88.00 88.00 88.00 264.00
Document Fee * 80.00 0.00 0.00 80.00
Student Health Insurance 1,459.18 1,459.18 1,459.18 4,377.54
Total California Resident $ 5,908.87 $ 5,908.87 $ 5,908.86 $ 17,726.60
Nonresident Supplemental Tuition 5,034.00 5,034.00 5,034.00 15,102.00
Total Nonresident $ 10,942.87 $ 10,942.87 $ 10,942.86 $ 32,828.60


Posted 12 July 2019 at

The tuition, fees, and charges posted to your billing statement or account are estimates based on currently approved amounts. These figures may not be final. Actual tuition, fees, and charges are subject to change by the Regents of the University of California and could be affected by increases or reductions in State funding, or other developments. Accordingly, final approved levels (and thus your final balance due) may differ from the amounts shown.

* The Document Fee provides lifetime access to official transcripts and academic verifications without a fee for in-person pickup or delivery by USPS. In addition, there is no fee for mailing the initial diploma. Effective Fall 2018, new undergraduate, professional, and graduate students are assessed the one-time document fee. Eligible students are able to use financial aid to cover the Document Fee.

Core Faculty

Ackbar Abbas
M.Phil., University of Hong Hong; Professor of Comparative Literature and Film and Media Studies (globalization, Hong Kong and Chinese culture, postcoloniality, critical theory)

Aijaz Ahmad
Chancellor's Professor of Comparative Literature (Critical Theory, World Literature, Marxism, Tricontinental Social Thought)

Eyal Amiran
Ph.D., University of Virginia; Professor of Comparative Literature and Film and Media Studies (twentieth-century fiction, postmodernism, digital media, textual theory)

Alicia Cox
Ph.D., University of California, Riverside; Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature (Native American and Indigenous studies; gender and sexuality studies; critical race studies; autobiography; literary and cultural theory)    

David Theo Goldberg
Ph.D., City University of New York; Professor of Comparative Literature, Anthropology and Criminology, Law, and Society
(South Africa, race and racism, social and political theory, and legal studies)

Adriana M. Johnson
Ph.D., Duke University; Associate Professor of Comparative Literature (Latin American literature, 19th- and 20th-century Latin America, cultural and postcolonial studies)    

Catherine Malabou
Ph.D., Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales: Philosophy. Professor of Comparative Literature and European Languages and Studies    

Liron Mor
Assistant Professor, Comparative Literature School of Humanities (Literary and critical theory; contemporary Israeli and Palestinian literature and film; postcolonial theories; conflict; sympathy; questions of translation and literary adaptation)    

Jane O. Newman
Ph.D., Princeton University; Professor of Comparative Literature (16th- and 17-century German literature, contemporary theory and criticism, feminism)

Nasrin Rahimieh
Ph.D., University of Alberta; Howard Baskerville Professor of Humanities, Comparative Literature, Chair, Comparative Literature
(Modern Persian Literature and Culture, Translation, Exile, and Diaspora),

Beryl Schlossman
Doctorate, University of Paris 7 and Ph.D. The Johns Hopkins University (comparative literature, film, critical theory, psychoanalysis, poetics, modernity)   

Gabriele Schwab
Ph.D., Univ. of Konstanz; UCI Chancellor’s Professor of English & Comparative Literature (contemporary comparative European and American literatures, indigenous literatures, critical theory, psychoanalysis, cultural theory and literary anthro)

Rei Terada
Ph.D., Boston University; Professor of Comparative Literature (theory, history of philosophy, 19th- and 20th-century poetry, romanticism)

Ngugi wa Thiong'o
UCI Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and English and Director of the International Center for Writing and Translation (African and Caribbean literatures, theater and film, performance studies, cultural and political theory)

Georges Van Den Abbeele
Ph.D., Cornell University; Dean of the School of Humanities and Professor of Comparative Literature (French and European philosophical literature, travel narrative and tourism/migration studies; critical theory and aesthetics)

Herschel Farbman
Ph.D., Yale University; Associate Professor of Comparative Literature (comparative modernisms; critical theory; psychoanalysis; film and media studies)

Career Outcomes

career outcomes data

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