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Comparative Literature MA

This interdisciplinary MA is taught on an interdepartmental basis by staff who cover an exceptionally wide range of expertise. The flexible nature of the programme enables students to develop their own interests whilst gaining a thorough understanding of modern literary theory and comparative literature.

Covid-19 programme updates

Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2020

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years

Part-time students will normally take half of their courses in Year 1 and the other half, including the dissertation, in Year 2.

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 1 November 2019
Close: 11 August 2020
Notification
Due to the large number of applications received, this programme is no longer accepting applications for 2020/21 entry. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Applications for 2021/22 entry will open later in the year.

Tuition fees (2020/21)

UK/EU:
£11,170 (FT)
£5,660 (PT)
Overseas:
£23,340 (FT)
£11,830 (PT)


Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website.

Fee deposit: 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.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Advanced

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

International students

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.

Select your country:

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

Taught: two core modules (60 credits), two optional modules (60 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits). Research: two core modules (60 credits), one optional module (30 credits), and a dissertation (90 credits).

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MA in Comparative Literature.

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 is subject to change.

Compulsory modules

Core Course: Comparative Literary Studies (30 credits); Core Course: Literary Theory (30 credits)

  • Modern Literary Theory
  • Comparative Literary Studies
  • Dissertation

There are three compulsory modules: Comparative Literary Studies (30 credits, Term 1); Modern Literary Theory (30 credits, Term 2); and the Dissertation (60 credits, Terms 3 & 4)

Optional modules

Click here for a full list of all PG (MA/MSc) modules in SELCS/CMII. With the agreement of their Programme Convenor, students are welcome to choose any relevant modules from across other MA programmes in SELCS/CMII as well as from other UCL departments.

The MA in Comparative Literature is highly flexible and courses can be taken in a number of units including, for example, SELCS, SSEES and SOAS.

Covid-19 module updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be updates to the modules for your chosen programme of study this year. Some modules may not be available or may need to be moved to a later term or year of study. These updates are relevant for 2020-21 academic year only.  The full list of modules will be available in the module catalogue from late August.  From the first week of September, you will be invited to complete module selection from Portico, our student record system. There may need to be additional updates or changes to modules during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available.

Dissertation/report

All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 12,000 words (taught pathway) or 18,000 words (research pathway).

Teaching and learning

Teaching and supervision are organised on an interdepartmental basis. Teaching sessions are envisaged as interactive, with a limited amount of lecturing and an emphasis on student participation and critical discussion. Assessment is based on a combination of shorter and longer essays and the dissertation.

Covid-19 contact hours on campus
In Term One, while campus will be open, all the learning activity for the core content of your modules will take place online – including lectures, tutorials, seminars and assessments. By “core content” we mean everything you need to learn to complete the module successfully. In addition to these online contact hours, we will be offering some face-to-face educational activities for students on campus, and we will provide alternative online activities for those students unable to join us on campus. These activities, which will include contact with academic staff, will be relevant to your programme of study may include seminars, academic and employability skills workshops, small-group or individual tutorials, lab and practice-based teaching. UK Government safety guidelines will limit the amount of ‘in person’ activity we can offer and while it will vary from programme to programme, is likely to be no more than 1-2 hours per week. This will vary across departments, particularly if your programme includes laboratory/practical/studio/workshop sessions. You will be updated with more specific details as they are available and your timetable will indicate which sessions will be on campus and which will be available online.
Covid-19 assessment updates
There may be changes to the format of assessments for modules in this programme due to COVID-19. These will be summarised for each module on the module catalogue from 17 August 2020.   If any changes to assessments need to be made during the academic year due to updates in government guidance, these will be communicated to you as soon as possible from your department.    
Communicating further Covid-19 mitigation plans
We are continuing to follow UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of our researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention, to make sure UCL is as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. If it becomes necessary to make further changes to your programme as a result of new guidance/regulations, UCL and your department will communicate these as soon as this becomes clear. We will keep you up-to-date with our plans throughout term one, so you have the information you need to be able to take decisions that are right for your circumstances. Please ensure that you keep in touch with your department by regularly checking your UCL emails, Moodle courses, the Coronavirus FAQs for Students page and any UCL online groups or social media you follow.

Additional costs

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

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Funding

All prospective students can apply for the UCL Graduate School Open Scholarships.

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

Careers

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

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; abliity 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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

With its exceptional range of modern and ancient languages and cultures, UCL provides a comprehensive environment for comparative literary study.

Departments housed in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities cover Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Ancient Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, Italian, Latin, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish and Yiddish. The School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) deals with all the major languages, literatures and cultures of Central and Eastern Europe. A co-operation agreement with SOAS, University of London, covers teaching as well as research and ensures global coverage.

Many UCL staff have comparative and interdisciplinary research interests in addition to their subject specialism. 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.

Department: Centre for Multidisciplinary & Intercultural Inquiry

What our students and staff say

Staff view

"UCL has a great library as well as a fantastic location to access the Institute of Classical Studies, the British Library and British Museum, and art galleries, museums and theatres that are hosting the latest classical performances or exhibitions."

Professor Maria Wyke


Professor of Latin
Staff view

"I am interested in the novel, narrative technique, literary theory and theories of gender. I have worked on the interaction of fact and fiction in the novel, on the relationship of female and national identity, and on the representation and ethics of shame. I’m currently working on an interdisciplinary project with German historians looking at the reverberations of the Second World War in Europe. I have benefited particularly from being in a department (German) that is in itself interdisciplinary, as well as from the growing interactions between colleagues within and across the faculties. These interactions are becoming more possible, not least through the establishment of the Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry (CMII), of which I am currently Chair, but, crucially, the impact of the Faculty Institute of Graduate Studies (FIGS), now extended to two faculties, Arts & Humanities and Social & Historical Sciences. "

Professor Stephanie Bird

German MPhil/PhD, Comparative Literature MPhil/PhD, Film Studies MPhil/PhD, Language, Culture and History MA, Comparative Literature MA, Film Studies MA
Professor of German
Staff view

"My research focuses on two main areas: relations between England and Spain in the early modern period (1500–1700), and secondly the Spanish Empire. I aim to change conventional understanding of the Tudor period by demonstrating how Mary Tudor's reign was far from being an anomaly, but in fact saw many developments, cultural, economic and political that laid the foundations for her sister Elizabeth I's celebrated reign. In relation to the Spanish Empire, I hope to offer an account that unites both the Atlantic world and the Americas with colonial adventures in Europe from Holland to Naples, as well as the Far East, from Goa to the Phillippines. I most enjoy the variety of activities that I am involved in, from spending time in the archives bringing to light documents and letters that have lain there for over four centuries to communicating about my research to new audiences whether at Shakespeare's Globe or doing stand up comedy for UCL's Public Engagement Bright Club."

Dr Alexander Samson

Early Modern Studies MA, Comparative Literature MA, Medieval and Renaissance Studies MA, Hispanic Studies MA
Lecturer in Golden Age Literature

Application and next steps

Applications

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 £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

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.

Application deadlines

All applicants
11 August 2020

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

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.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 13 August 2020