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.
You will have access to postgraduate only facilities which include the Lock-keeper's Cottage Graduate Centre dedicated solely to the use of graduate students with the use of a common room and interdisciplinary training workshops. The Learning Resource Centre has 200 networked PCs with dedicated workstations for postgraduate students.
You will also have access to Queen Mary’s comprehensive libraries, including the Postgraduate Reading Room, and The British Library can also be accessed as a research resource.
Our postgraduate students benefit from a wide range of services, from help with accommodation to excellent IT support and foreign language teaching as well as an individually designed research-training programme.
Programme structure The MA in Comparative Literature is currently available for one year full-time study, or two years part-time study.
- 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
You will need a first class or good upper second class honours degree in an area such as comparative literature, languages, English, philosophy, classics, and history. Knowledge of one or more languages other than English is desirable, though presently not a pre-requisite. Applications from graduates from other countries are welcome. Where English is not your first language, you will need to be highly proficient in English for academic purposes.
Students from outside of the UK help form a global community here at Queen Mary. For detailed country specific entry requirements please visit the International section of our website. If your first language is not English, you must provide evidence of your English language proficiency. You can find details on our English language entry requirements page.
If you do not meet language or scholarly requirements it might be possible for you to undertake foundation or pre-sessional programmes that will prepare you for the masters programme.
For more information, please contact the Admissions Office for assistance.
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.
For every hour spent in formal classes you will be expected to complete further hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations.
The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.
Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.
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.
Fees are charged at a Home/EU rate for UK and EU nationals, and an overseas rate for International students - find out more about how your tuition fee status is assessed.
There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.
These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.
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.
Alternative sources of funding
Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.
Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.
Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide [PDF] for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079
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:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717