The Masters in Comparative Literature offers interdisciplinary study across linguistic cultures as well as academic fields. Benefitting from a strong and diverse School of Modern Languages and Cultures, you will be able to take courses in the comparative study of literatures, film, visual arts, or societies of two or more language areas OR across two or more disciplines. The high degree of flexibility means that you are able to design a unique programme of study suited to your interests.
The Programme is comprised of two core courses, a selection of optional courses, and an independent research project (dissertation), which provides an opportunity for you to identify an area of interest for an in-depth critical exploration.
The range of options on offer enables you to create your own Masters programme. It also allows you to work in an interdisciplinary capacity, selecting courses from across the College of Arts, according to personal interests. The Programme Convenor will work with you to construct a portfolio of courses according to your personal aims and objectives.
Teaching is almost entirely in small-group seminars, with student assessment based on presentations, essays and individual research diaries; any language classes you may take will have assessment as appropriate to that mode of learning. The Core 1 and Core 2 courses focus strongly on helping you develop your skills as a researcher and writer.
Core 1: Introduction to Comparative Literature [Comp Lit 5030] (20 credits)
Core 2: Comparative Literature in Practice (Comp Lit 5031] (20 credits)
The aim of this course is to provide:
Selection of options is subject to approval by Programme Convener. A sample list follows below, but not all these options will be available in a given year.
Employers welcome our graduates’ abilities to 'think outside the box' in relation to cultures other than their own, as well as their ability to communicate in oral and written form in a logical, coherent, articulate and creative way.
Our graduates go into the workplace well-prepared to work in a global, international environment, as well as in any field requiring sophisticated communication skills. Some common careers include: publishing, editing, creative industries, and teaching.
The programme also provides an excellent preparation for further study in the fields of Comparative Literature and Modern Languages and Cultures.
We offer MPhil and PhD research programmes in English (including American Studies), Comparative Literature or Linguistics for full or part-time study.
The Department of English and Comparative Literature consists of some 40 scholars and creative writers whose work is acknowledged and cited internationally.
We offer a stimulating environment for undertaking postgraduate research in English Literature (including American Literature and literary theory), World Literature, Comparative Literature, Linguistics, and Creative Writing.
We particularly encourage cross- and interdisciplinary research in emerging fields of study and creative practice.
As well as working with scholars and writers of international standing, you will have the opportunity to play an active role in a vibrant research environment which includes the Richard Hoggart Lectures in Literature and Culture, the annual Goldsmiths Prize for bold and innovative fiction, and specialist seminars and colloqia offered by the Goldsmiths Writers' Centre, the Goldsmiths Literature Seminars (GLITS), the Goldsmiths Linguistics Seminars (GoldLingS), and the e-journal, GLITS-e.
Assessment is by thesis and viva voce.
Find out more about research degrees at Goldsmiths.
North American applicants especially should note that the British system does not include preparatory taught classes or examinations as part of the MPhil programme, except for an initial course in research methods.
Carrying out a research degree will help you develop:
Our graduates have gone on to pursue careers in:
Training in research methods and skills is provided both by the department and Goldsmiths' Graduate School. This begins with an intensive week-long induction in the first week of enrolment and continues later in the first term with a series of seminars focussing on the specific challenges of literary and linguistic research projects. The department will also inform you about any research training seminars or study-days offered elsewhere in the University of London (for example, by the Institute of English Studies or the Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study) or beyond, such as at the British Library. The specific training requirements of your project will be assessed, and guidance provided on specialist seminars and conferences to attend, which can be supported where possible by assistance from departmental funds.
This pathway of the MA in Literary Studies will centre on the study of the theory and practice of comparative literature.
The core module, Studies in Comparative Literature and Criticism, will introduce you to the history, main concepts, and debates of comparative literary theory, complementing these with close readings of a wide range of texts from different periods, media (verbal, visual, filmic), and from diverse cultural, geographic and linguistic backgrounds, thus giving you the opportunity to engage in detailed comparative readings.
While the core module gives you a strong grounding in comparative literature, you also have the opportunity to pursue your wider interests thanks to the flexible structure of the MA, by studying three options from the large provision of the department, choosing at least one of these in an area that is relevant to comparative studies. Both the core module and the options are taught by leading specialists of the subject.
You will be able to further develop your own comparative reading skills and reflections through a 15,000-word dissertation to be submitted at the end of your programme of study.
Although at least a reading competence in another language will be useful (but is not compulsory), and you will be invited to read texts in the original whenever you can, all texts will be studied in English, in English translation, or with English subtitles.
The convenor of this pathway is Professor Lucia Boldrini.
You also take three option modules. Please visit the website for more information
You'll develop transferable skills, including:
Graduates of this programme have gone on to pursue careers in:
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
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.
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).
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.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Comparative Literature MA
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.
Recent career destinations for this degree
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
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: 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 Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
Study literature from six different continents covering over 2,500 years,comparing literatures from across the world, written in many different languages, in different cultures from antiquity to the present.
We offer a unique range of courses from classical Greek and Latin right up to twenty-first century European, Asian, Middle-Eastern, African, American and Pacific literature.
You will also have the opportunity to develop your language skills.
Our Comparative Literature MA provides an introduction to the practice, methodology and theory of comparative literary studies through our required module. You will then focus on more specific aspects of literary themes, genres, and historical periods, and choose a subject for your dissertation that also has a comparative focus. This flexibility means that you can pursue your own academic interests and develop a specialism of your choosing. In addition, our Modern Language Centre provides modules at all appropriate levels to support your study of foreign language texts.
This course is ideal for students who want to look beyond conventional literary canons and engage in comparative study across a wide range of cultures.
The MA in Comparative literature is designed for students who want to look beyond conventional literary cannons and engage in comparative study across a wide range of cultures.
If you are a full-time student, we will provide you with at least six hours of teaching a week through lectures and seminars, and we will expect you to undertake 33 hours of independent study.
If you are a part-time student, we will provide two to four hours of teaching each week through lectures and seminars, and we will expect you to undertake 17.5 of independent study.
For your dissertation, which you will focus on over summer, we will provide four hours of supervision and you will undertake 594 hours of independent study. If you are a part-time student we will provide two to three hours of supervision in your second year.
We will typically assess our modules through coursework, although some modules may make use of blogs and presentations. Your dissertation will be a 10,000-word essay.
Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.
King’s College London is regulated by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.