Admissions Information


BA in any field within the humanities or the social sciences.

Two years of college French or proficiency at the equivalent level (ability to read primary and secondary sources in French and to take part in class discussions conducted in French).
Note: Written work is normally done in English.


Students apply through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University. Applications are evaluated by the History and Literature Faculty Committee.

Application Deadlines for September Admission:

– Tuesday, January 16, 2024 (merit fellowship consideration early deadline) 
– Thursday, May 9, 2024 (regular decision application deadline) 

Access the application here.


All the application materials should be filed electronically. If you need to mail transcripts or scores, please mail them directly to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the following address: 

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
107 Low Memorial Library
535 West 116th Street, MC 4304
Columbia University
New York, NY 10027

To have TOEFL/GRE scores sent to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University, use institution code 2162.

  1. Transcripts showing courses and grades from all post-secondary schools attended.
  2. A CV
  3. A personal statement
  4. A statement of academic purpose 
  5. A writing sample in English (can be an excerpt, 10-15 pages).
  6. A minimum of three reference letters are required. At least two must be from academic sources. Applicants who have not been enrolled in an academic program for some time may also submit additional letters from supervisors or colleagues in positions of responsibility.
  7. TOEFL. Required for all international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English. IELTS scores are also acceptable to fill this requirement. 
  8. Optional - GRE general exam.
  9. $120 Application Fee submitted electronically through the application portal. 


If you have been successful, you will receive an initial offer letter, via email, from the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Only the Dean of GSAS has the authority to make an offer of admission. A letter or email from a faculty member is not an official offer of admission. Only when you receive the official offer signed by the Dean of GSAS are you considered admitted. However, the offer of admission is only considered fully official after we have received your official paper transcripts and are able to verify authenticity. Any discrepancies between the uploaded and official paper transcripts may result in the rescinding of the offer of admission.

To accept your offer, students are required to submit a $1,000 non-refundable tuition deposit.


If you receive an offer from our department, you will also receive an offer from GSAS. Your offer letter will ask whether you wish to accept the offer of a space made to you. You should read the offer letter, including any conditions set by our department before accepting the offer. If you have questions about your offer, you should contact our department directly.


MA applicants may request a deferral only after accepting the original offer of admission and submitting the $1,000 tuition deposit. After the deposit is paid, a Deferral Request Form will be available on the Applicant Status Page.

You will be notified about the status of your deferral request via email. Please contact [email protected] with any questions.

- See more at:

Q. Do I qualify for this program if I only want to earn my MA and not continue for my PhD?
A. Yes. Further academic pursuits are only one of many postgraduate options.

Q. In what neighborhood of Paris is the program located?
A. Reid Hall, Columbia's campus in Paris, is located at 4 rue de Chevreuse in the sixth arrondissement (Metro: Vavin). The building is an eighteenth-century porcelain factory that housed various educational institutions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and was bequeathed to Columbia in 1964.

Q. What is the language of instruction? English, French, or both?
A. Both. Courses taught by Columbia faculty in residence at Reid Hall are normally taught in English. Courses at EHESS and ENS are taught in French, except the ones on Anglophone literature and history. Written work, including work done at EHESS and ENS, is normally done in English.

Q. How good should my French be to study in this program?
A.  Two years of college French or proficiency at the equivalent level are required (ability to read primary and secondary sources in French and to take part in class discussions conducted in French). Written work is normally done in English, including in courses taken at EHESS and ENS. Students who wish to improve their mastery of French may enroll in an optional French language course.

Q. What languages other than French can I study in the course of this program?
A. Thanks to a special agreement with ENS, students who wish to take an optional language course (intermediate or advanced) may do so at ENS. Available languages include all major European languages, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Bambara, Farsi, Turkish... for more informations, please see the ENS language department (ECLA)

Q. Can you tell me more about your partner institutions, ENS and EHESS?
A. The Ecole normale supérieure (ENS), founded in 1794, is a highly selective undergraduate and graduate school that has trained most of France's top scholars in the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. The École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) is a graduate school founded in 1947 by historians Lucien Febvre, Charles Morazé et Fernand Braudel. It has pioneered the use of comparative and historical methods in the social sciences.

Q. When will the candidates be notified?
A. Students who wish to be considered for partial fellowship and apply by the January deadline will be notified in late February. Others will be notified in May.

Q. What kinds of careers do you expect graduates to continue with?
A. The program provides sound footing for applications to professional schools in law, international affairs, journalism. Graduates may seek positions in the United States or Europe in the diplomatic service, journalism, publishing, editing and translating, art and cultural organizations, international NGOs, and academic administration. The degree is also a valuable credential for students seeking admission to a doctoral program in history or literature. For more information on career opportunities and services, please visit the Center for Career Education website.

Q: What about Tuition and Fees
A: Tuition cost for 2023-2024 is $67,864 ($33,932 each for the fall and spring terms). For more information on financing your education, please see this page.

Q: Who do I contact for Financial Aid:
A:  For information regarding financial aid and loans, contact Sandra Peters, Senior Associate Director of Financial Aid in GSAS at Columbia University New York at [email protected] or 212-854-6725. 
If you already submitted a loan application and need to contact Columbia’s Student Financial Services. For Billing/Refunds, contact [email protected]. For Stipend/Loan checks, call (212) 854-1518.

ALL STUDENTS:  If you anticipate difficulty with your finances at any time – late receipt of loans, etc.— you are strongly advised to provide a relative or friend in the U.S. with the necessary power of attorney to endorse bank loan checks and other items for deposit.
Do not wait until one or two weeks before you go to Paris to make sure that your finances are in order. Check with your Financial Aid Officer now to guarantee that you will meet tuition payment deadlines.

For more information, visit Student Financial Services or the GSAS Student Financial Service Guidebook.

The MA Program in History and Literature is proud to partner with the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF). TAPIF alumni who apply to HILI will be granted an application fee waiver. Three of the top admitted TAPIF alumni will be awarded fellowships covering between 25% and 50% of tuition fees. In addition, admitted TAPIF alumni will be awarded an addition $2,000 stipend to help defray living expenses during the year in Paris.

If you are a TAPIF alum, please contact the program for application questions and assistance at [email protected]