Arches at Main Quad on Stanford campus

Graduate Admissions

Thank you for your interest in graduate studies within the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages (DLCL). The DLCL is comprised of five different academic departments: Comparative LiteratureFrench and ItalianGerman StudiesIberian and Latin American Cultures, and Slavic Languages and Literatures. Each program has a unique set of requirements as well as progression of studies; please review the individual program to learn more about the academic requirements.

The Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages recognizes that the Supreme Court issued a ruling in June 2023 about the consideration of certain types of demographic information as part of an admission review. All applications submitted during upcoming application cycles will be reviewed in conformance with that decision.

Autumn 2024 Admissions Information

Start your application

Due December 5, 2023 at 11:59pm PST

  • Comparative Literature

Due December 7, 2023 at 11:59pm PST

  • French and Italian
  • German Studies
  • Iberian and Latin American Cultures

Due December 15, 2023 at 11:59pm PST

  • Slavic Languages and Literatures

Application Requirements

The admissions committees will only consider complete applications for review. A complete application must contain the following items:

  1. Electronically submitted application and statement of purpose.
  2. Electronically submitted unofficial transcripts from every post-secondary institute attended. Please do not send transcripts to the department; we will request official transcripts only from those students who receive an offer of admissions.
  3. Three letters of recommendation. One letter of recommendation should focus on your language skills. If you have a current ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) certificate, please upload it with your application (not required).
  4. Writing samples requirements vary by department. Read more about specific requirements.

All materials must be submitted online through the application website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions Process and Decisions

Who is on the Admissions Committees?
Faculty from each department review all complete applications and select each new cohort. In some departments, current graduate students may also read applications. 

The departments at the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages welcome graduate applications from individuals with a broad range of life experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds who would contribute to our community of scholars. Review of applications is holistic and individualized, considering each applicant’s academic record and accomplishments, letters of recommendation, and admissions essays in order to understand how an applicant’s life experiences have shaped their past and potential contributions to their field.

What are Ph.D. Admissions Attributes considered in evaluating applicants?
Listed below are attributes considered in evaluating applicants to all DLCL Ph.D. programs.

  • Critical thinking and writing skills
    These are best demonstrated in the writing sample, which is an academic essay. Candidates
    must demonstrate that they are able to conduct research in the field, develop an argument,
    and analyze texts (and other cultural witnesses). 
    Clarity of prose and style are also considered.
  • Relevant academic performance
    This is assessed based on transcripts. Candidates generally have successfully completed
    coursework in the relevant field and have acquired foundational background knowledge.
    Grades should be As or Bs (or their equivalents) in relevant courses.
  • Intellectual promise
    This is assessed from the letters of recommendation, the writing sample, and the statement. In
    letters of recommendation, we look for colleagues’ explicit assessment of academic
    accomplishments and promise. In the writing sample we look for originality. In the statement
    we are most interested in the intellectual questions that the applicant is engaging and seeks to
    pursue in graduate school.
  • Proficiency in Relevant Languages
    This may be assessed by performance in language classes, through interviews, or through the
    candidate’s heritage culture.

When will admission decisions be announced?
Offers of admission traditionally go out in late February.

Required Materials and Test Scores

Do I have to submit GRE General Test scores?
No. The GRE is no longer required.

I am an international student; am I required to submit TOEFL scores?
In most cases, yes. TOEFL scores are required of all applicants whose first language is not English. All international students should refer to the International Applicants webpage for more information regarding transcripts, English proficiency and visas. University minimum requirements can be found in the Stanford University policies regarding required tests link below:

Visa Information for International Students

As an international student, where can I find out about visas and resources for international students?
All international students must work in cooperation with Bechtel International Center to obtain visas and for other immigration processes. Bechtel is the best resource for all international students.

If you have additional questions, please contact Student Services at dlclstudentservices [at] (dlclstudentservices[at]stanford[dot]edu).

External Funding

Where can I find additional funding to pursue a graduate degree at Stanford?

All students admitted to doctoral programs in the DLCL receive 5 years of 12-month funding. This financial support is provided through a combination of fellowship stipend and tuition, and research and teaching assistantships. In certain situations, funding may be available into the 5th year.  Additional funding is provided to support academic and research expenses. 

Our programs do not provide financial support to master’s students.   

Several Stanford schools and degree programs and other universities maintain lists of funding opportunities that may be of interest to individual students. Professional and scholarly societies often offer funding to graduate students for dissertation research or conference travel.

Find more information at the Office of the VPGE - Graduate Student Funding page. These sources may take time and patience to investigate, and the links may not be current.

Knight-Hennessy Scholars

Join dozens of Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences students who gain valuable leadership skills in a multidisciplinary, multicultural community as Knight-Hennessy Scholars (KHS).

KHS admits up to 100 select applicants each year from across Stanford’s seven graduate schools, and delivers engaging experiences that prepare them to be visionary, courageous, and collaborative leaders ready to address complex global challenges. As a scholar, you join a distinguished cohort, participate in up to three years of leadership programming, and receive full funding for up to three years of your studies at Stanford.

Candidates of any country may apply. KHS applicants must have earned their first undergraduate degree within the last seven years, and must apply to both a Stanford graduate program and to KHS. Stanford PhD students may also apply to KHS during their first year of PhD enrollment.

If you aspire to be a leader in your field, we invite you to apply. The KHS application deadline is October 11, 2023

Learn more and apply

The Department of French and Italian at Stanford offered the perfect setting for me to pursue my academic and pedagogical interests in graduate school. I was presented with a plethora of opportunities and resources to explore research topics, engage with scholars, and develop my teaching skills.
Daniele Biffanti
Ph.D. in Italian, 2022