• Graduate School of Arts and Science to Download or request an Application on the web:
  • To request an application by email:
  • To pick up an application and graduate bulletin at New York University, go to GSAS Enrollment Services at 1/2 Fifth Avenue or call 212-998-8050.

Q. Do you have both fall and spring application cycles? A. No. We accept students to begin in the fall only. Applications are due by December 18th.

Q. Whom do I contact for an application? A. The Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. It is preferred that you apply using the online application, which is available at
For questions about applications, contact Graduate Enrollment Services by email at or by phone at (212) 998-8050.

Q. Do I need an M.A. to apply? A. No. All accepted students are admitted into the Ph.D. program. Candidates without an M.A. earn the degree as they progress towards the Ph.D.

Q. Does my B.A. or M.A. have to be in comparative literature to apply to your graduate program? A. No.

Q. Are applications for an M.A. only (a terminal M.A.) accepted? A. The only terminal MA students we accept are those who have enrolled in our BA/MA program (which is only open to NYU undergraduate students) or Fulbright M.A. students. There is no financial aid awarded for a terminal M.A.

Q. What if I already have an M.A.? A. Previously earned M.A.s are evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine applicability to the Ph.D. program in comparative literature. If applicable, the entire M.A. is transferred. In other cases, individual courses may be transferred.

Q. How many people apply to your Ph.D. Program? How many applicants are accepted? A. Each year, approximately 150 people apply. We accept 6-8 candidates from this applicant pool.

Q. Are students fully-funded? A. Yes. Our students are fully-funded by Henry Mitchell MacCracken Fellowships for 5 years.

Q. What do you mean by fully-funded? And, how does the MacCracken Fellowship work? A. Fully-funded MacCracken Fellows receive full tuition and fee remission, a living stipend, and NYU health insurance for the 5 years of their fellowship. Students who enter our Ph.D. program are awarded a 5-year MacCracken. Doctoral students may also have the opportunity to teach as Adjunct Instructors, which are paid positions.

Q. How high do my GRE scores need to be? A. We have no threshold GRE score for acceptance to the program. Components of your application are evaluated as a whole.

Q. Do you require the GRE subject test? A. No.

Q. Are foreign students required to take the TOEFL? A. Yes. We now accept IELTS or the TOEFL as a test of English language proficiency.

Q. How can students ensure the IELTS test scores are sent to NYU? A. We will only accept official test scores that are sent to us electronically from IELTS. In order to request test scores be sent to us, the applicant contacts his or her test center directly and requests that the test scores be sent electronically to New York University, Graduate School of Arts and Science, New York, NY. There is no institutional code.

Q. Can the GRE or the TOEFL/IELTS be waived? A. No. These are requirements of the Graduate School of Arts and Science.

Q. What is the GRE and TOEFL institutional code? A. 2596 is the NYU GSAS school code (New York U Grad Arts Sci). This code is used for both the GRE and TOEFL. Please see the following link for more information regarding the GRE/TOEFL and IELTS:

Q. What are requirements for the Statement of Purpose? A. The statement of purpose should not exceed two double-spaced pages in 12 point font. Applicants should avoid excessive personal anecdotes and offer a clear sense of their training in national literature(s) and comparative and theoretical approaches. While a precise account of their intended specialization is not necessary, it should describe their area(s) of scholarly interest, and the critical questions and/or conversations that inform their interest in pursuing the masters or doctoral degree. Finally, applicants should address their particular reasons for wanting to work within the Department of Comparative Literature at New York University.
Q. What are requirements for the Writing Sample? A. The Writing Sample should be an academic paper (e.g., term paper or published article) of about 12-15 pgs double spaced. The paper must be in English, and should demonstrate your best work. It need not demonstrate a comparative approach but may focus on a single national literature, or upon a critical/theoretical issue.

Q. How many languages do I need to be accepted into the program? A. All students must be proficient in English to enter the program. A demonstrated reading proficiency in one foreign language is necessary. A demonstrated reading proficiency in a second foreign language is highly recommended. To demonstrate proficiency:

  • Hold a degree from a non-Anglophone foreign university.
  •  Pass a graduate level literature course, taught in the language (grade of ‘B’ or better), in any of the language departments at NYU.
  • Pass an upper level, undergraduate LITERATURE class, taught in the language, taken at NYU for which you received a ‘B’ or better.
  • Pass a translation exam, which is administered (for a fee) three times a year by Graduate Enrollment Services.  Register at ½ Fifth Avenue.  Note that registration dates are usually at least a month in advance of the exam. Check the registration website here.


    Q. How many foreign languages do I need to earn the Ph.D.? A. Demonstrated reading proficiency is required in three foreign languages (modern or ancient). Three courses in a non-literary discipline may be substituted for the third foreign language with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.