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Coterm Admissions


The Program in Modern Thought and Literature offers an interdisciplinary coterminal M.A. program, admitting one or two currently enrolled undergraduate Stanford students

The Program does not admit students to Stanford to earn a terminal M.A. degree.  However, students admitted to the doctoral program who have not previously earned a master’s degree may apply for the M.A. after two years of study.

Stanford students who are exceptionally well prepared in literature and at least one foreign language may apply for admission into the Program in Modern Thought and Literature for the purpose of earning a coterminal M.A. degree. The Program assumes serious interest in one or more areas of modern thought: history, psychology, philosophy, arts, contemporary culture generally. Students entering the Program may come from any undergraduate discipline, but should have sufficient background in literature and/or cultural studies to be able to participate fully in graduate level courses.

Students are eligible to apply to a coterminal program no earlier than the spring quarter of their junior year, and no later than the quarter before the one in which they expect to complete 180 units of work at Stanford. MTL admits coterm students for Spring quarter matriculation. Typically students apply during winter quarter of their senior year.

Application Procedures

The MTL coterm application will open in early December each year. Applications are due on February 2nd.

Applications must include:

  1.  An unofficial transcript from Axess.
  2. An “Application for Admission to Coterminal Master’s Program;” please see the Registrar’s site or the Student Services Center for the most up-to-date form.  The application form includes a plan of study listing each course by name, units, and instructor, and quarter to be taken which will be taken in order to fulfill the requirements for the degree. (It is understood that the plan will be open to change).
  3. statement of purpose giving the reasons the student wishes to pursue this program and its place in his/her future plans. This statement should specifically address the interdisciplinary nature of the proposed program, noting how the courses listed on the application provide an appropriate plan of study, resulting in a coherent academic program.
  4. An initial plan of study listing, quarter by quarter, each course by name, units, and instructor, to be taken in order to fulfill the requirements for the degree for a total of 45 units, including at least 20 units of advanced work in one literature, and at least 20 units of advanced work in a coherent interdisciplinary program of courses taken in non-literature departments. Students may include appropriate coursework taken during the two quarters prior to the quarter of expected matriculation in the program.  Except in unusual cases, this will mean courses taken in the autumn and winter quarters of the year of application for admission.  (Changes in the course list are to be expected.)
  5. A writing sample of critical or analytical prose, approximately 20 pages in length.
  6. Two letters of recommendation from members of the faculty who know the applicant well and who speak directly to the question of his/her ability to do graduate level work in the relevant departments.  An applicant to the MTL Coterm should have secured an adviser prior to submitting the application.  Normally, one of the letters of recommendation will be from the prospective adviser.

Applicants are not required to pay an application fee; however, if an applicant is admitted to the Coterm program and accepts, the Registrar does levy a fee for adding a new program.

Applicants for the Coterminal Master’s degree are advised to consult the Stanford Bulletin and must check with the Registrar’s Office regarding University requirements.

Click here to begin your application


For questions about the program, please email An Nguyen at antnguyn [at] (antnguyn[at]stanford[dot]edu)