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Application Guide

Applications to the PhD program require the following elements:

  1. Academic History & Transcripts
  2. Letters of Recommendation
  3. Resume/CV
  4. Statement of Purpose 
  5. Test scores, if applicable. English Language Proficiency demonstration is required for international applicants whose first language is not English. NOTE: As of Fall 2021, we are suspending our requirement of the GRE General Test for applicants to the PhD program. The GRE is not currently required.
  6. Application Fee or Fee Waiver (more information, including eligibility for the fee waiver, available here)

Tips for a Successful Application

Overall, your application should show your potential to succeed in graduate-level research and writing in a multilingual, interdisciplinary department, as well as your interest and potential to effectively teach a diverse student body. We also want to know how your work will be supported by this particular department: which faculty members are you interested in working with, and why? What are your research interests and anticipated fields of specialization?

Academic History & Transcripts

More information is available from the Graduate Division.

Letters of Recommendation

We require three letters of recommendation from letter-writers who know you well enough to be able to comment on your potential to do graduate-level work in literary/cultural studies. Usually, letter-writers will be faculty members who have taught you and who know your scholarly work well. It is generally expected that you ask any letter-writers well in advance of the deadline if they would be willing and able to write you a strong letter of recommendation for PhD programs. More general information on letters of recommendations is available here.

Statement of Purpose

Your Statement of Purpose should, above all, articulate your specific research interests in your proposed field(s) of specialization. What areas of literary and/or theoretical inquiry do you want to pursue and why? How has your academic background prepared you for this specialization? What key intellectual/critical questions motivate your work in this particular field or fields? Why do you want to pursue these interests in the UCSD Literature Department specifically?

Your Statement of Purpose should also indicate which faculty members you hope to work with and how their research and teaching connects to your specific research interests. We want to make sure that, if admitted, your research interests could be supported by our department, and so it’s particularly crucial for us to know what you want to study and which faculty members you anticipate working with.

Further information on the Statement of Purpose is also available here.

Writing Sample

A 25-page writing sample is required. We strongly recommend submitting a sample of your critical work in or related to the primary field(s) of specialization you name in your Statement of Purpose. One substantive work of 25 pages is preferred, but multiple samples adding up to or exceeding 25 pages are also acceptable. The writing sample must be in English.