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The MA by Research (Comparative Literature and Culture) is a flexible programme that allows you to undertake in-depth study (both full and part-time), under the supervision of international experts, on a broad range of subjects, including literature, visual or cultural studies or comparative topics.

The core of the MA by Research is a 25,000 word dissertation on a subject of your choosing, intended to give you the scope to explore your area of interest in real depth and to develop sophisticated critical and analytical research and writing skills.

You will also complete a research-focussed, taught module which will equip you with a range of theoretical and historical approaches to the study of literature, art and culture, enabling you to articulate, refine and persistently test your approach to your chosen topic within this broader theoretical and methodological framework.

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You will be able to:

• Pursue in-depth, directed research through the 25,000 word dissertation with one-to-one supervision, regular feedback and other departmental support
• Follow a taught course with your peers on theories of literature and visual culture
• Participate in the energetic research culture in the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and cultures and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Royal Holloway – libraries, seminars, symposia including the regular postgraduate work-in-progress seminars and our annual Postgraduate Colloquium
• Enjoy proximity to London’s unparalleled facilities, including the British Library, Senate House library, and the Institute of Germanic and Romance studies
• Take advantage of professional and research development training on campus and at the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies

Department research and industry highlights

Research drives the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Royal Holloway. Academics in the School all contribute to teaching and are active researchers with international reputations. Our research environment has a basis in our expertise in French, German, Hispanic, Italian and Comparative Studies, and encourages collaboration and exchange across traditional disciplinary boundaries. Our strengths span literature, thought, film and the visual arts from the medieval to the twenty-first century.

Course content and structure

You will take one taught course and complete a dissertation.

- Core course units:
Theories of Literature and Visual Culture (40 credits)
This core course is taught across two terms. It provides you with knowledge of a range of historical and modern theoretical approaches to the study of literature and the visual arts. It refines your theoretical understanding and provides you with the methodological tools to proceed to PhD research if you so wish.

Dissertation (140 credits)
A 25,000 word dissertation on a subject of your choice. You will receive one-to-one support from your supervisor.

On completion of the course graduates will have:
- Joined a community of scholars who are working at the cutting edge of their chosen discipline

- Learnt to undertake focused research, developed writtten and presentation skills, and honed your skills in critical analysis

- Gained an understanding and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights in literature, film, cultural studies or the visual arts.

- Demonstrated self-direction and originality and the independent learning and initiative required for continuing professional development


The taught course is assessed by essay and presentation. The dissertation is examined by a Visiting Examiner and includes a Viva Voce.

Employability & career opportunities

Our graduates are highly employable and, in recent years have entered many different language-related fields including international management, consultancy, sales and marketing, media and publishing, banking, the arts, politics, the Civil Service, teaching, travel and tourism and translating and interpreting. This course also equips you with a solid foundation for continued PhD studies.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time postgraduate degrees can be made online.

Visit the Comparative Literature and Culture (MA by Research) page on the Royal Holloway, University of London website for more details!




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Recipient: Royal Holloway, University of London

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