History and Literature Program

“Cross-disciplinary by design, upholding Columbia’s high standards, and tapping into the extraordinary intellectual resources of Paris, HILI is unique.” - Pierre Force




Columbia University’s M.A. in History and Literature is an innovative program that explores the interconnections and intersections between history and literature, both as categories of cultural production and as scholarly disciplines. In the past thirty years the boundaries between history and literature have become usefully blurred. Furthermore, the dialogue between the two has taken many different forms. In literary studies, there has been a re-evaluation of the traditional field of literary history, with greater attention paid to the historical evolution of genres and styles. Historians have taken in the notion that history is a literary genre and are aware of the interplay between archival material and historical imagination. Several thriving and inter-related fields like literary history, the history of the book, intellectual history, and the history of science are now history and literature hybrids. The M.A. in History and Literature capitalizes on this propitious intellectual moment.

The program is held at Columbia’s Global Centers Paris, located at Reid Hall in the sixth arrondissement in Paris. Students are taught by eminent scholars in history and literature from Columbia University, and also choose from a wide variety of courses at France’s two top-tier graduate schools in the humanities and the social sciences: the Ecole normale supérieure and the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales. Students develop a sophisticated awareness of theoretical issues, addressing new methodological horizons. They also acquire the philological tools required for the interpretation of texts in print or manuscript form. This practical training includes hands-on sessions conducted at the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Archives nationales de France. Stipends are offered by Columbia to allow students to conduct independent research at archives in France and across Europe, and to attend international conferences closely related to their subject.

We expect many students to have an interest in French history and literature, but we also welcome students who wish to work on materials in other languages. M.A. courses are taught in English or French. Written work can be done in English or in French. MA Essay is written in English.

A Unique M.A. Experience
Caio Moraes Ferreira discusses his reasons for choosing the HILI program.


Alum Caio Ferreira discusses why he chose the HILI program for its unique approach to history and literature from an interdisciplinary perspective and for the hands-on guidance provided by faculty members. 


Ready to apply? Applications for the 2024-2025 academic year are open. Applications are submitted through Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). 

First Application Deadline: January 16, 2024

Final Application Deadline: May 9, 2024

Featured Faculty 2023-2024

Each year HILI brings leading Columbia faculty to Paris to exclusively teach our M.A. students.