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Comparative Literature - MA

Course Description

Comparative Literature at Kent offers an excellent environment for the postgraduate study of literature beyond national and linguistic borders. The programme involves the study of literature from two or more national and linguistic traditions, allowing you to gain an intercultural and transnational understanding of diverse cultural and literary practices.

The MA programme explores three main areas: themes, genres, movements and major literary figures; the interactions and exchanges between national literary traditions; and the theory and practice of comparative literature. These complementary strands encourage comparative analysis in a variety of contexts, ranging from the study of national literatures to the exploration of different genres, periods, media and literary theory.

The programme is offered by the Department of Comparative Literature and benefits from staff expertise in a range of areas, including European modernism, postmodernism, postcolonial literature, literature and medicine, literature and sexuality, literature and psychoanalysis and literature and the visual arts. Our programme also draws on additional expertise in the School of European Culture and Languages, particularly from colleagues in the departments of French, German, Hispanic Studies and Italian.

You begin by studying a choice of four modules across the Autumn and Spring terms, before writing a 12,000-word dissertation over the summer, supervised by an expert in the department. The programme can also be studied in Canterbury and Paris, where you relocate to Kent’s Paris centre for the spring term.

The MA in Comparative Literature is an ideal programme for those wanting to engage in and pursue detailed literary and cultural analysis that crosses national boundaries.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/318/comparative-literature

Course structure

The programme comprises three main interweaving strands:

- themes and major figures in European literature

- interactions between European national literatures, as reflected in important genres such as autobiography and the fantastic

- comparative literature in theory and practice, with an emphasis on the history of the discipline and ways of reading literature comparatively.

These complementary strands encourage comparative analysis in a variety of contexts: national literatures, genres, media and theory.


The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

CP805 - European Modernism: Sexual and Textual Deviance (30 credits)
CP808 - Writing the Self: Autobiography in the Modern Period (30 credits)
CP810 - Comparative Literature in Theory and Practice (30 credits)
CP813 - Literature and Medicine (30 credits)
CP998 - Comparative Literature Dissertation (60 credits)


Assessment is by one 5,000-word essay for each module, and the dissertation.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

- provide you with the knowledge and skills to prepare you for the academic study of comparative literature at MPhil/PhD level

- attract outstanding students, irrespective of race, background, gender, or physical disability from within the UK

- further the University’s International Strategy by attracting graduate students from abroad as well as from the UK

- enable you to begin to specialise in your areas of interest

- enable you to hone your ability to read literature and literary theory critically and comparatively

- provide you, consistent with point one above, with a transition from undergraduate study to independent research

- provide you with a training that will culminate, if followed through to PhD level, in the ability to submit articles to refereed journals in comparative literature.

Research areas

Areas of particular research strength in Comparative Literature at Kent include the European avant-garde, modernism and postmodernism, postcolonial literature, literary theory, literature and medicine, literature and the visual arts, literature and sexuality, and literature and philosophy. The list below indicates the range of current research interests of members of staff within Comparative Literature and the other disciplines with whom we work closely. Many of these staff are members of the Centre for Modern European Literature. They can supervise postgraduate students for the MA or PhD degrees in any of their respective areas of expertise. If you are considering applying to undertake a research degree, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your plans at an early stage of your application.

- The European avant-garde
- Modernism and postmodernism
- Postcolonial literature
- Literary theory
- Literature and medicine
- Literature and philosophy
- Literature and sexuality
- Literature and the visual arts

- Centre for Language and Linguistic Studies
Founded in 2007, the Centre for Language and Linguistic Studies (CLLS) promotes interdisciplinary collaboration in linguistic research and teaching. Membership embraces not just the members of English Language and Linguistics but also other SECL members with an interest in the study of language, as well as researchers in philosophy, computing, psychology and anthropology, reflecting the many and varied routes by which individuals come to a love of language and an interest in the various disciplines and subdisciplines of linguistics.

- Centre for Modern European Literature
Many of the most significant European writers and literary movements of the modern period have traversed national, linguistic, and disciplinary borders. Co-directed by members of Comparative Literature, French, and German, the Centre for Modern European Literature aims to promote collaborative interdisciplinary research that can do justice to these kinds of border crossing. Ranging across English, French, German, Italian and Spanish literature, the Centre focuses in particular on the European avant-garde, European modernism and postmodernism, literary theory, the international reception of European writers, and the relations between modern European literature and the other arts, including painting, photography, film, music and architecture. The Centre’s activities include a lecture and seminar series and the regular organisation of conferences. It also works with the editors of the postgraduate journal Skepsi, and runs the MA in Modern European Literature.


Comparative literature graduates develop key skills, including critical thinking, analysis and problem solving. They go on to successful careers in areas such as the media, academia and many different cultural institutions including libraries, museums and galleries.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

Visit the Comparative Literature - MA page on the University of Kent website for more details!

Student Profiles

Graduate School Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

The Graduate School Scholarship Scheme was established in 2009 to celebrate the founding of the University's Graduate School, which is responsible for the strategic development of graduate education and research within the University. The aim of the scheme is enable Kent graduates to continue study at the University in the next academic year after graduation from their undergraduate degree.Candidates can hold the Graduate School Scholarship in conjunction with other awards except where these awards offer full fees and a Research Council UK equivalent maintenance grant. The Graduate School Scholarship cannot be held in conjunction with the University's loyalty discount.Criteria- Candidates must hold a Bachelors degree with honours (or undergraduate Masters degree) awarded in 2016 by the University of Kent. This scholarship offer is not available to those students who have been awarded foundation degrees, HNCs, HNDs or postgraduate degrees.
- Candidates must have satisfied the criteria for admission and register for a postgraduate degree (Masters or Doctorate) with the University of Kent by 1 October 2016. Students considering this offer are advised to check the entry criteria for their favoured postgraduate programme of study prior to application.
- Candidates must be self-funded, i.e. they are paying their tuition fees themselves.
- Open to overseas/home/EU fee paying students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£1,000 reduction (£500 per annum for part-time students, for 2 years) in tuition fees


Kent 2016 graduates who earn a Bachelor's degree with honours (or undergraduate Master's degree) and register for a postgraduate degree at Kent by 1 October 2016.

Application Procedure

There is no need to make a separate application. The tuition fee reduction will be provided to all eligible 2016 graduates on registration.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A first or 2.1 in a relevant subject (eg, English, French, German, Italian, Hispanic Studies, Classics), or equivalent. For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages (View Website).

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