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This MA programme builds on our thriving undergraduate programme in Comparative Literature. This field, sometimes also understood as comparative cultural studies, has since its beginnings, recognised the realities of cultural movement and of exchange and dialogue. At its centre is the notion of 'world literature' along with attention to cultural, philosophical and theoretical questions. We also examine cosmopolitanism, transnationalism, exile, and other phenomena of our increasingly interconnected world.

Comparative Literature belongs to those areas of cultural study which prepare us to deal with a globalised or globalising world. It aims to recognise and articulate the specific identities of national literatures and cultural traditions on the one hand, while also exploring the boundaries between cultures and the meaning of cultural differences on the other. The transnational reception of literature and of other cultural production has been a central concern since the field’s inception. Processes of adaptation (for example, from novel to film) as well as the relations between word/image and word/music are also focal points.

The field is informed by philosophy, by literary and cultural theory as well as, increasingly, by translation studies and postcolonial studies. Students choosing this MA will come from varied backgrounds such as Foreign Languages, English, Philosophy, Classics, History and Cultural Geography. Knowledge of one or more foreign languages would be desirable but is not presently required.

This programme will:

  •  Introduce you to the history and nature of Comparative Literature as a discipline.
  •  Examine interdisciplinary, cross-national approaches to literature and critical theory.
  •  Give you greater understanding of cultural contexts and the books which excite our imagination across epochs and cultures.

Why study your MA in Comparative Literature at Queen Mary?

While at many universities, Comparative Literature often sits within the English department, at Queen Mary it is an invigorating, growing and dynamic department in its own right – a reflection of our commitment to the subject.

Comparative Literature is taught in the thriving School of Languages, Linguistics and Film. We have a vast amount of experience in the field, so you will always be taught by leading specialists of international standing whose cutting-edge research informs their high-quality teaching.

  •  Comparative Literature at Queen Mary is an invigorating, growing department with a stimulating research culture, featuring a research seminar and the annual George Steiner lecture.
  •  Staff are internationally recognised leaders in their fields.


Programme structure The MA in Comparative Literature is currently available for one year full-time study, or two years part-time study.

Core module

  • Cultures of comparison: theory of practice

You also produce a dissertation and choose three optional modules.

Optional modules may include

  • From the Sublime to Trauma: Representing the Unrepresentable
  • Mapping 20th-century Latin American Fiction
  • Constellations. Online Anthology Group Project
  • Exilic Writing and the Making of World Literature
  • Postcolonial Studies Today
  • In Pursuit of Prejudice? Mutual Perceptions of Identity
  • Travel Writing
  • Thinking Translation

Reading lists for these modules and a timetable are normally available from August. Please note that not all options will be available in any given year.

A student may be permitted to take one single-semester option offered as part of another MA programme within the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences provided that the MA convenor agrees that this would be beneficial for your intellectual development and research plans. In the case of options outside the School, admission to such courses requires the further agreement of the course convenor.

For more information


Learning and teaching

As a student at Queen Mary, you will play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. Teaching is by a mixture of formal lectures and small group seminars. The seminars are designed to generate informed discussion around set topics, and may involve student presentations and group work as well as open discussion. We take pride in the close and friendly working relationship we have with our students. You are assigned an Academic Adviser who will guide you in both academic and pastoral matters throughout your time at Queen Mary.


Modules will normally each require a written essay of 4,000 words, along with a dissertation of 10,000 words, which counts for one-third of the overall mark.


You will also be assessed on a supervised 10,000-word dissertation.


Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2019/20 Academic Year

Full time £9,150

Part time £4,575

Tuition fees for International students

2019/20 Academic Year

Full time £16,350

Part time £8,175

Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

Visit the MA Comparative Literature page on the Queen Mary University of London website for more details!




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Recipient: Queen Mary University of London

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