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Comparative Literature - MA

Course Description

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.

Degree information

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).

Core modules
-Modern Literary Theory
-Comparative Literary Studies

Optional modules - options may include the following:
-Revolutions in Literature: Writing China's Twenthieth Century
-Apocalypse Literature
-Consumer Culture in Literature
-Readings in Twentieth Century Chinese Literature and Culture: Family, Childhood, Gender
-Performance, visual media and popular culture in Africa
-Theoretical Issues in history and Literature
-Language, Culture & History
-Topics in Cultural Studies
-Translation Studies
-Comparative Medieval literature
-Literary and Cultural Theory
-All Quiet on the Eastern Front: Culture, Politics, and Everyday Life in Central and Eastern Europe from Stalin to Present
-Literatures of Rupture: Modernism in Russia and Eastern Europe
-Modern Chinese Literature in Translation
-Introduction to Hermeneutics: How to Read and Interpret Texts

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.


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.

First career destinations of recent graduates include: London Business School, Marketing and Administration Assistant; Jaca Book, Editorial Intern; Macmillan Publishing, Editorial Assistant; Sokol Books Ltd, Antiquarian book-dealing Assistant; Sports Alliance, Lead Copywriter; Sage Publishing, Editorial Assistant; Ministry of Education, Seminar Organisation; British Library, Library Assistant; Chinese University of Hong Kong, Product co-ordinator; and Burlington Danes Academy, Graduate Teacher of English.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Senior Executive, Felda Investment Corporation
-Editor, University of International Business and Economy Press
-Marketing Executive, I.B.Tauris
-Comparative Literature, University College London (UCL)
-PhD English, University of Leicester

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: 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.

Visit the Comparative Literature - MA page on the University College London website for more details!

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Student Profiles

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.

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