Masters in Comparative Literature

MA Admission Standards and Application

An Honors B.A. with a minimum average of B+ (78%) for the last two years of study is the normal requirement for admission to the program with financial support. In addition to proficiency in English, the Program requires for admission proficiency - at a level sufficient to read original texts and pursue graduate-level work - in a language in which research can be supported by the Program's core faculty. If the applicant's transcript does not reflect adequate study in a second language, he or she may be required to demonstrate it through a language test. Applicants whose first language is not English must provide TOEFL scores as part of their applications.

MA Applications

No application will be considered until it is complete. The responsibility rests with the applicant to ensure that all documents (i.e. transcripts, letters of reference, test results) are submitted by the program’s deadline for application.

Completed applications will be evaluated by the program, which makes the admission decision. The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies sends out offers of admission and handles all administrative aspects of registration.

For admission to the Master’s program, applicants must possess a four-year degree from an accredited university. The program requires at least a 78% overall average in the last two full-time years of the undergraduate degree. Equivalent qualifications may be considered based on the standards of the discipline or profession.

Although applications are processed centrally, applicants are encouraged to contact individual faculty members to discuss their research interests and possible research projects where applicable. However, individual faculty members do not directly admit students.

If you are interested in visiting the department after submitting your application, please contact us to make arrangements. In many cases, some of your travel expenses will be paid for by the program.

A complete application package consists of the following:

Online Application

To apply for admission, a completed application must be submitted, providing Western with the following:

  • 1. Personal Information
    • We ask for basic information concerning your identity and contact information. 
  • 2. Academic History
    • We ask that you supply Western with a listing of all post‐secondary schools you have attended.
  • 3. References
    • We will email your referees within 24 hours of entering or updating your reference information. Each reference will be collected by Western and distributed alongside your application once it arrives. No paper reference letters are required.
  • 4. Supplementary Questions
    • Our supplementary questions help us to determine if our graduate program and available resources are appropriate for your area of interest. The responses you provide are made available to the program during the assessment process.  One of these questions is to assess your knowledge in different languages.  To view our levels of language proficiency please click here.
  • 5. Application Fee Payment
    application fee to the Master's Program in Comparative Literature is $100.
    • Western accepts two methods of payment in order to process your application.
      • Credit Card (Visa/MasterCard)
      • Cheque/Money Order

  • 6. Supplemental Documents
    • Western makes it possible for you to submit your supporting documents in a digital format. This includes an academic record/transcript from each school you note in your Academic History, English proficiency test results, and your required writing sample..
  • 7. Proficiency in English Scores, if applicable (You must have the testing service send your score electronically to Western.)


Western accepts digital academic records within your application however if you are offered admission you are required to provide one official academic transcript* from each post-secondary institution you have attended. These documents should be mailed directly to The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

  • Past or current students of The University of Western do not need to provide transcripts for their academic history at Western. This information will be obtained internally.

*Western considers a transcript official only if it is received in a university envelope that is sealed and signed on the flap by the official person in the office issuing the transcript. If the transcript and degree certificate are not in English, a certified translation must also be included. (Non-English transcripts from institutions within Canada do not require a translation.)

All documents and transcripts submitted to The University of Western Ontario become the property of the University and will not be returned.

The deadline for first consideration applications is February 1, 2017.

All applications submitted after this date may be reviewed but cannot be guaranteed admission for the specified term regardless of your admissibility. Early applications are strongly recommended.



Ontario Graduate Scholarship

Applicants to the graduate program in Comparative Literature are strongly advised also to apply to the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) Program through Western University. For more information, please consult the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. The University's application deadline for OGS applications is January 31st.

Program Requirements

The Comparative Literature M.A. is a two year program requiring students to complete 4.0 course credits and write an M.A. thesis. Students are expected to do most of their course work in the first year and write the thesis in the second year. Courses are selected in consultation with the Graduate Chair. At least two different literatures must be represented in the student's choice of courses. The course requirements are as follows:

  • 1.5 required course credits (0.5 credit each): CL 9501 (Fundamentals of Comparative Literature I), CL 9502 (Fundamentals of Comparative Literature II), and CL 9503 (Thesis Project and Professional Writing).
  • 1.5 graduate course credits in Comparative Literature.
  • 1.0 course credits from among the following: additional graduate courses in Comparative Literature, graduate courses in other programs, and an undergraduate language course. (Note: a 1.0-credit undergraduate language course at any level counts as 0.5 credit toward the requirements of the graduate program.)

Language Requirements

Knowledge of English and at least one language, as described above, is required for admission to the program. Reading knowledge of a second non-English language must be demonstrated in order to graduate successfully from the program. Students who need to acquire reading knowledge of a second foreign language while in the program may do so by taking or auditing an undergraduate language course. Successful completion of the course will fulfill the language requirement. Otherwise, the student must pass a test of reading knowledge in the language before graduating from the program. The aim of the language requirements is threefold: to maintain rigour in comparative work by requiring sufficient knowledge of at least one foreign language to allow for advanced study of literary and critical works in the original; to qualify students for admission to a Ph.D. program in comparative literature or their major literature; and to develop facility in other languages to the extent that they can be used in research.

Theses and Thesis Supervision

In the second year of the program, students write a Master's-length (circa 100 pp.) thesis on a subject that involves comparative work in at least two languages. A Supervisor and Second Reader for the thesis are chosen from the Comparative Literature faculty in consultation with the Graduate Chair.


Visit the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Graduate Calendar

For further information about any aspect of the program, please contact:
The Graduate Chair, Comparative Literature
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Phone: (519) 661-2111, ext. 85828/Fax: (519) 661-4093
E-Mail: Professor James Miller