Comparative Literature MA

London, Bloomsbury

Hone your skills in comparative literary studies while soaking up the expertise of interdisciplinary specialists. The Comparative Literature MA enables you to develop your own interests while gaining an in-depth understanding of modern literary theory and comparative literature. Taught at UCL, renowned for its multidisciplinary research and cross-cultural ethos, this is an exceptional opportunity to become proficient in this field.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
£15,100
£7,550
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
£31,100
£15,550
Duration
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 28 Jun 2024

Applications closed

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of a first or a very high upper second-class Bachelor's degree (average 65%) in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 4

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree


Students develop a thorough understanding of modern theories of literature, the contexts of literature and the interaction between literatures, and gain practical experience in comparative literary studies.

The programme also develops the critical and analytical skills necessary for research in this field. Students gain a breadth of knowledge, cultural awareness, writing skills, and a familiarity with advanced textual analysis - working flexibly and creatively across cultures and in a range of fields.

Who this course is for

The programme is particularly suitable for students with a first degree in a language and literature subject, or in a related subject such as English, History, Cultural Studies or Media studies. A sophisticated understanding of cultural diversity is essential. A reading knowledge of at least one language other than English is normally expected, but not obligatory.

What this course will give you

With its exceptional range of modern and ancient languages and cultures, UCL provides a comprehensive environment for comparative literary study drawing on the collective expertise of specialists in the Faculties of Arts & Humanities, Social & Historical Sciences, the Institute of Education, the School of Slavonic & East European Studies (SSEES).

Many UCL staff have comparative and interdisciplinary research interests in addition to their subject specialism, with 83% of SELCS-CMII research activity being graded 4* ‘world leading’ and 3* ‘internationally excellent’ in the REF 2021. We are particularly interested in innovative approaches to literary and cultural studies, and in research with a comparative, cross-cultural, and interdisciplinary focus, including research in the following fields: world literature, literary and cultural theory, material and visual cultures, reception studies, themes and genres, cultural history, comparative gender and performance studies, translation studies, diaspora and migration studies, and new media.

The foundation of your career

Skills acquired as a result of taking this programme include: ability to conduct research in library archives and electronic archives; ability to synthesise and summarise large amounts of information; ability to use evidence in order to construct a convincing argument; ability to work with texts in more than one language; acquisition of sensitivity to the cultural register of texts; ability to plan workloads efficiently and meet deadlines.

Publishing, academic teaching, research and journalism are the most common destinations for graduates with an MA in Comparative Literature but the civil service, teaching or employment as a translator or copywriter are becoming increasingly attractive alternatives.

Employability

Our graduates are highly valued by employers for their interdisciplinary skills and linguistic and cultural knowledge. Transferable skills include intercultural understanding; translation and communication skills; and analytical rigour.

CMII graduates go on to work in varied roles across the public, private and charitable sectors, as well as working as language consultants, teachers and in the fields of arts, heritage, management, publishing, media and policy.

Networking

Our location offers students access to special collections in modern languages and culture at UCL and other world-class libraries nearby such as Senate House and the British Library. 

These resources, besides their collections of books, articles, videos, sound recordings and non-public online resources, offer a wide range of seminars, lecture series and other opportunities to exchange ideas. Other libraries and research centres within walking distance of campus include, the British Museum, Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies, Institute of Historical Research and The Warburg Institute.

UCL Careers also offers a range of services, providing access to skills development, recruitment and networking events.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and private study. The third term is devoted to revision sessions and the dissertation project. A 15-credit module is equivalent to 150 hours of study and a 30-credit module is equivalent to 300 hours. This includes contact time, private study and the undertaking of coursework assignments.

Students are assessed by a variety of methods, which may include coursework, presentations, written essays, unseen examinations and the research dissertation. Teaching sessions are interactive, with a limited amount of lecturer presentation and an emphasis on student participation and critical discussion.

For a full-time postgraduate course, we recommend around 20-25 hours of independent study per week. Contact hours may vary depending on module choices, but full-time students will have approximately 8-10 contact hours each week during term time, spent in lectures and seminars.

For a part-time postgraduate course, contact hours would usually be 4-6 hours per week across 2-3 days and we recommend around 10-12 hours of independent study per week. Those undertaking language modules may have additional contact hours. There is minimal teaching during Term 3, as students focus on the dissertation and assessments.

Modules

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. There are two pathways through the programme: taught and research.

Full-time structure for taught pathway

During the academic year, you will take compulsory modules which are designed to work as a postgraduate-level foundation and provide you with the specific skills to research, write essays and the dissertation. You will also choose optional modules. During Term 2, in addition to your taught modules, you will start formulating your dissertation proposal. This work will continue into Term 3 and you will develop your dissertation outline and structure with support from your supervisor. You will give a presentation to your peers and tutors on your dissertation, this is a non-assessed compulsory element of the MA. You will then spend the summer researching and writing your 12,000 word dissertation on a topic to be determined in discussion with your academic supervisor.

Full-time structure for research pathway

During the academic year, you will take compulsory modules which are designed to work as a postgraduate-level foundation and provide you with the specific skills to research, write essays and the dissertation. You will also choose optional modules. During Term 2, in addition to your taught modules, you will start formulating your dissertation proposal. This work will continue into Term 3 as you develop your dissertation outline and structure with support from your supervisor. You will give a presentation to your peers and tutors on your dissertation, this is a non-assessed compulsory element of the MA. You will then spend the summer researching and writing your 18,000 word dissertation on a topic to be determined in discussion with your academic supervisor.

Part-time structure for taught pathway

In Year 1, you will take two compulsory modules, which are designed to work as a postgraduate-level foundation module and to provide you with the specific skills to research and write essays and the dissertation. These modules set the foundation for the whole MA, preparing you for further learning and for your dissertation. In Year 2, you take optional modules to develop your broader understanding of comparative literature and to develop key concepts learnt in Year 1. You will also formulate and develop your dissertation outline and structure with support from your supervisor. You will give a presentation to your peers and tutors on your dissertation proposal to help cement your argument and subject areas to cover. This is a non-assessed compulsory element of your MA. You will then spend the summer of Year 2 researching and writing your 12,000 word dissertation on a topic to be determined in discussion with your supervisor.

Part-time structure for research pathway

In Year 1, you will take two compulsory modules, which are designed to work as a postgraduate-level foundation module and to provide you with the specific skills to research and write essays and the dissertation. These modules set the foundation for the whole MA, preparing you for further learning and for your dissertation. In Year 2, you will take optional modules to develop your broader understanding of comparative literature and to develop key concepts learnt in Year 1. You will also formulate and develop your dissertation outline and structure with support from your supervisor. You will give a presentation to your peers and tutors on your dissertation proposal to help cement your argument and subject areas to cover. This is a non-assessed compulsory element of your MA. You will then spend the summer of Year 2 researching and writing your 18,000 word dissertation on a topic to be determined in discussion with your supervisor.

Optional modules


Textual Masculinities




Neoliberalism, Necrocapitalism and the Aesthetics of Precarity



Philosophical and Literary Scripts of Life


Fashion Cultures


Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MA in Comparative Literature.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £15,100 £7,550
Tuition fees (2024/25) £31,100 £15,550

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

All full time students are required to pay a fee deposit of £1,000 for this programme. All part-time students are required to pay a fee deposit of £500.

Additional costs may include expenses such as books, stationery, printing or photocopying, or conference registration fees.

The department strives to keep additional costs low. Books and journal articles are usually available via the UCL library as hard copies or via e-journal subscriptions.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

ANS Dutch Studies Bursary

Deadline: 1 November
Value: £1,250 (1yr)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK, EU, Overseas

Next steps

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Comparative Literature at graduate level
  • why you want to study Comparative Literature at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of this programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

We are also interested in candidates who demonstrate evidence of leadership.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.