Program Overview


Important Note: Before applying, prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the program director for information and assistance.  The program director is Solimar Otero and she can be contacted at . To apply all prospective students must use the online application form found on the LSU Graduate School website. The following link will lead you to the application portal To be considered for financial assistance, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships, applications must be received by January 1st. 

Handbook for Graduate Studies

Handbook for Graduate Students

Application Procedure

Applicants must request at least three letters of recommendation from individuals who are acquainted with them as a student and/or teaching assistant. These letters should be addressed to the Director of the Program and submitted electronically with the other required documents. Persons whose native language is not English must also submit an official report of TOEFL or IELTS scores to the Graduate School. In addition, students must provide a writing sample in English demonstrating their competency in critical analysis of literary texts. 


An undergraduate major in language or literature is the normal prerequisite for graduate work in Comparative Literature. The undergraduate major should consist of not fewer than thirty semester hours in the major field. Applicants lacking this minimum, if accepted, may be required to add to their program of study a number of undergraduate hours in language and/or literature up to the difference between their undergraduate total of literature courses and the acceptable minimum. These courses will count toward a full academic load but will not count for graduate degree credit. Many students in the program have already received an M.A. in a national language and literature. Students accepted with the B.A. may obtain an M.A. at LSU in English, French Studies, Hispanic Studies, or Philosophy and Religious Studies. Students accepted in the MFA program in Creative Writing at LSU who have competency in the requisite number of foreign languages can pursue a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature by completing the required courses for the degree.

Criteria for admission

Admission to the program is determined on the basis of information gathered from all of the sources mentioned above under “Procedure.” In addition, a personal interview, if feasible, is highly recommended. Internal applicants to the Ph.D. program from LSU M.A. programs are evaluated in largely the same way as outside applicants, with the difference that internal (in place of external) letters of recommendation and performance in the master’s program are taken into account. A judgment on the applicant’s potential for success in graduate study is made on the basis of all the information supplied to program’s selection committee: no single factor is decisive.

Renewal of assistantships

Because of its commitment to teacher training and to undergraduate education, the program requires new teaching assistants to undertake appropriate training and carefully supervises their work in the classroom. Renewal of assistantships is contingent on satisfactory performance of assigned duties and on satisfactory progress toward the degree. “Satisfactory progress towards the degree” requires at least a grade point average of 3.0 and the completion of nine hours of graduate credit in each fall and spring semester. In addition, students must follow the procedures necessary to convene a graduate committee and must select a major professor during their first year of enrollment in the program. If teaching in the summer, an assistant must complete six hours during that summer. Students may hold assistantships for up to four years in the Ph.D. program. These figures are cumulative. 

Board of Regents Fellowship

In the past outstanding applicants for admission to the Louisiana State University Ph.D. Program in Comparative Literature could be nominated to compete for Board of Regents Graduate Fellowships. Recipients receive a stipend of $18,000 per year for four years plus a full tuition waver. The stipend was distributed on a 12-month basis; students holding the fellowship were  required to enroll for 6 credit hours during the summer term. Successful applicants will be expected to have GRE scores of 1250 (324) or higher and a GPA of 3.5 or higher. However, there will be some flexibility to consider applicants who may not meet one of these requirements but who demonstrate excellence in various other ways. Recipients must be American citizens or resident aliens holding permanent visa status. This program is not available for the 2015-2016 Academic year.

Additional sources of funding:

Prospective students are encouraged to seek outside funding from organizations such as the AAUW, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Beta Kappa, the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. International students are encouraged to explore funding from their countries of origin. 

Comparative Literature Minor

Students who wish to have a minor in Comparative Literature must obtain 9 credits of Comparative Literature course work and demonstrate reading competency in two languages in addition to their native tongue.