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Course content

As well as inviting the comparative study of literary works of different linguistic and cultural origins, this absorbing programme encourages you to explore the interrelation between literature and the other arts, such as music, visual arts and film.

You’ll embrace a range of languages and cultures within Europe, North America, South America and Asia, and draw on the teaching and research expertise of our internationally renowned departments, including several of the highest-rated literature departments in the UK.

The programme introduces you to subjects related to your studies, such as comparative literature, world literature and post-colonialism, translation studies, intermediality, psychoanalytical criticism, formalism, feminist literary theory, structuralism and post-structuralism, and deconstruction.

The programme also allows you to follow your own research interests through other tutorial work and your independently researched dissertation.

Programme structure

The programme combines seminar and tutorial work. You will take two compulsory and two option courses, plus compulsory research skills and methods courses. The two semesters of taught courses are followed by your independently researched dissertation.

Compulsory courses:

  • Theories and Methods of Literary Study (I and II)
  • Research Methods and Problems
  • Research Skills and Methods

Option courses may include:

  • Film and Gender
  • Poet-Critics: the Style of Modern Poetry
  • Critical Theory: Issues and Debates
  • Fairy Tales
  • The Great Russian Novel
  • Poetry, Music and Translation
  • Green Thoughts: Landscape, Environment and Literature

Learning outcomes

On completion of the programme you will have gained:

  • a thorough understanding of Comparative Literature, as a subject and as a practice
  • knowledge of a number of literary theories and different approaches to literary study, and the ability to use them for literary analysis
  • the ability to focus on detail on literary themes, genres and historical periods from a comparative perspective
  • transferable skills such as critical thinking, analytical and interpretative ability, communication and writing skills

Career opportunities

This interdisciplinary programme will help take your research interests further into a broad range of fields. You may decide to concentrate on an academic career, or apply your learning to a diversity of roles, from teaching to publishing or cultural heritage. You will also graduate with skills that can be applied to any career.


Visit the Comparative Literature (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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