Comparative Literature is about making comparisons – and connections – between challenging themes and motifs in different literatures and cultures. As well as having the opportunity to study a range of genres, time periods, and national literatures (all of which can be studied in translation), you can cross nationalities and even time periods. You could also examine links between literature and a whole range of other art forms: such as music; film; popular culture or visual arts. Equally, studying modern languages is about more than vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation: you will also immerse yourself in culture, spend time working or studying abroad and learn to understand the subtleties of communication.
In this programme your time is split equally between German and comparative literature. You will study German language and culture in depth, and explore the broader perspective of the literatures and cultures of Europe, Latin America and beyond.
In each year you follow core language modules in which skills in the understanding and expression of German are developed by a variety of methods. In your first year you will follow foundation modules introducing you to various aspects of literary theory and critical thinking, including one focusing on German linguistics, literature and culture. In your second and final years you will take increasingly advanced module options concentrating on particular literary themes, movements and genres, and may opt to undertake a research project in your final year. Your third year is normally spent abroad, in Germany or a German-speaking country. You can choose to study at another university, or else take up a work placement, for example as a teaching assistant.
Why study Comparative Literature and German 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. Its position as a department within the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film makes combining it with the study of German an ideal opportunity to extend the depth and breadth of your understanding of both subjects. The discipline of German Studies has a long and outstanding tradition at Queen Mary, University of London, with over 100 years of teaching German language and culture behind us. Apart from our main focus on Germany, we have research and teaching expertise in GDR studies as well as in Austrian and Swiss literature and culture. 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.
You will spend a year abroad in the third year of your degree. This gives you an exceptional opportunity to develop your language skills among native speakers. You have three main options for how to spend the year abroad: teaching English as a foreign language assistant; attending university abroad on an Erasmus exchange; or in the professional world, either on a work placement, with the School’s support, or independently, with the School’s approval.
We pride ourselves on the facilities we offer. Our computing services make us one of the best equipped languages departments in the UK. Advisers are on hand to help you take advantage of multilingual word-processing and to point you towards websites useful for language study. Our custom designed Multi-Media Resources Centre provides state-of-the-art language teaching and learning facilities. We also subscribe to many foreign newspapers and journals.
The College Library has extensive audio-visual facilities, a large collection of videos and DVDs and is equipped for viewing foreign language satellite TV. To enhance the learning experience of our students, we also offer many extracurricular activities such as German Film Club, Stammtisch, a Podcast Radio Station and our highly acclaimed Writer-in-Residence Programme.
Comparative Literature Compulsory modules:
- Introduction to Literature: Texts and Contexts
- Introduction to Comparison
- The Scene of Learning
- Understanding Culture: An Introduction to Cultural Theory
German Core language module (streamed according to entry level) and compulsory foundation module:
- Introductory German (for ab initio entrants) / German 1 Intensive (for post GCSE entrants) / German I (for post A-level entrants). Native speakers of German take no core language module in year 1.
- Foundations of German Studies (for post A-Level and native speaker entrants) or European Literature and its Contexts (for ab initio entrants). Post-GCSE entrants will be guided to one or other of these options.
Comparative Literature Compulsory module:
- The Scene of Reading
- Madness, Past and Present
- Why Belgium? Identities, Cultures, Narratives
- Colonial Literatures, Post Colonial Perspectives
- Experiments in contemporary Women’s Writing
- Homeward Bound: From the Odyssey to O Brother Where Art Thou?
- Migration through Photography
- Fairy Tales in the Modern World
- Presentations of London in Modern European Literature and Film
- Literature and Philosophy
- Photography and Narrative
German Core and compulsory modules:
- German II intensive (for ab initio entrants) / German II (for post GSCE and post A-level entrants) / German IIN (for native speakers)
- Contemporary German Studies I or Contemporary German Studies II
- Brecht and the Drama
- German Play
- The (Re-)Birth of Tragedy: Schiller, Nietzsche and other Legacies
- German Narrative Fiction: Text and Film
- German for Business
- German Play
- Heinrich von Kleist
- German Romanticism in its European Context
- Year abroad: Written Assignment
Comparative Literature Compulsory module:
- The Scene of Writing
- The East in the West
- Constellations: Online Anthology Group Project
- On the Subject of Sex II: Queen to Queer
- Lost in Translation?
- Photography: The Self and its Image
- Grand Tours: Nineteenth-Century Adventure Stories for Young Readers and their Twentieth Century Afterlives
- First World War Literatures
- Faust in Legend, Literature and the Arts
- Comparative Literature Research Project
German Core module:
- German III (for ab initio, post GCSE and post A-Level entrants) or German IIIN (for native speakers)
- ‘Dichtung’ und ‘Wahrheit’: Fictions of the Self from Goethe to the Present Day
- German Swiss Literature and Culture
- German Literature in East and West
- German Poetry in 20th Century
- German Sociolinguistics
- Modern Languages Research Project
You may study German without having studied it before provided that you have a proven ability in a foreign language. Applicants whose first language is not English must obtain a grade B in GCSE English Language or equivalent, or will be required to have IELTS 7 (with grade 7 in writing).
Excluded subjects: General Studies and Critical Thinking. Applications from native speakers of German are welcomed.
Typical tariff or grades required: 300-320 UCAS points from three A-levels with minimum B in a language.
Subjects and grades: 32-34 points overall with 5 in HL language.
Vocational and other qualifications:
The College accepts a wide range of qualifications such as; Access and Foundation programmes, vocational awards, Irish Leaving Certificate, Scottish Highers and other Baccalaureates. Please visit our Entry requirements page for more information.
Admission is based on academic merit and on the proven ability of the applicant to achieve success on their chosen programme of study. Every application to Queen Mary is considered on its individual merits with personal statement and reference taken into consideration.
Learning and teaching
Learning and Teaching:
Teaching typically involves a lecture per week for each module, followed up by a smaller seminar group session where you will have the opportunity to actively contribute. In addition to this, you will spend up to five hours per week in language classes – you will be taught in small groups of no more than 20 for classroom or language lab teaching, and fewer than 10 for oral and aural work. We give our students individual attention and every student has an Adviser who can help with academic or personal problems. All the language programmes include writing-intensive modules that will help you strengthen your thinking, research and essay-writing skills.
Independent Study:For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete a further 5-6 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.
Assessment methods vary from module to module, and include a mixture of exams and coursework, coursework only, oral and aural exams, final-year dissertations and a range of more innovative methods, such as independent projects and creative journals.
Fees and finance
Tuition fees for Home and EU students
Tuition fees for International students
You can either take out a Tuition Fee Loan (see Funding section below) to pay your fees or, if you are paying them yourself, you can pay in instalments.
Tuition fees for a year abroad or placement year on a full time undergraduate course will be a proportion of the full fee for the year in which you commence your time abroad or placement.
For information on field trip and other course related costs which are not included in your tuition fee, please contact the relevant Department/School.
See more general information about fees.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7676
Queen Mary has a substantial package of scholarships and bursaries which will benefit around 50 per cent of our undergraduate student body.
Scholarships and Bursaries available at Queen Mary for Home/EU Students
There are a number of scholarships and bursaries available each year for home students. Visit our Bursaries and Scholarships page for more information.
Visit our Advice and Counselling website for more information about financial support.
Scholarships available at Queen Mary for International Students
There are a number of Scholarships available each year for International Students including bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas.
Find out more about international scholarships.
Some International students may also be eligible for a fee reduction.
Loans and Grants available to help with tuition fees and living costs
Student Finance England administers all grant and loans for your studies if you normally live in England.
Through Student Finance England, you can apply for (figures relate to programmes starting from September 2016):
- A Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,000 to pay all or part of your fees
- A Maintenance Loan of up to £10,702 to help pay your living costs like rent, food and travel
- Extra grants if you have a disability or you have children or an adult dependant
- You might get a grant to cover some travel expenses if you normally live in England but study away from home. If you’re a medical or dental student you might also qualify for help with the costs of attending clinical placements in the UK.
Visit Student Finance Information to find out more about:
- How to apply for student finance
- What eligibility rules apply, including if you already have a degree or previous higher education study
- What the income thresholds are and how much you might personally get for each element of Student Finance
- What to do if you have problems getting your Student Finance
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:
- Additional sources of funding
- Planning your budget and cutting costs
- Part-time and vacation work
- Money for lone parents
For more information visit the Advice and Counselling service website, or call +44 (0)20 7882 8717.
Graduates from Queen Mary’s School of Languages, Linguistics and Film Studies go on to work in a wide variety of careers. Some apply their degree knowledge directly, entering careers such as interpreting, teaching and publishing, whilst others transfer skills gained during study into areas such as marketing.
The national 2011 destination survey confirmed that 86.7% of the School’s graduates were in employment and/or study six months after graduation with 73.1% already working/studying at graduate level. Queen Mary graduates have a strong earning power, as reported in the Sunday Times University Rankings.
The broad range of skills gained through our language programmes, coupled with multiple opportunities for extra-curricular activities and work experience, has enabled students to move into careers such as:
|Global Technical Support Representation||Bloomberg|
|Assistant Tour Manager||Sony|
|Trainee Manager||Majestic Wine|
|Training Centre Co-ordinator||ESI International|
|Fundraising Administrator||Mildmay International|
|International Product Analyst||Meta-Pack|
|Graduate Account Executive||Hall & Partners|
|English as a Foreign Language Teacher||British Council|
Throughout their time at Queen Mary, students have access to a careers programme to prepare them for internships and graduate level work. This includes workshops on job hunting and job applications as well as employer events to facilitate networks and help students to explore their options.
Recent careers events include a workshop for returning 4th year students “What a Difference a Year Abroad Makes” and a speed meet event with alumni working in a variety of roles – “Make Languages Work for You”.
Opportunities for work experience are substantial given Queen Mary’s location between Canary Wharf, the City and the Olympic Village. Students are encouraged to build their work experience throughout their period of study, through, for example, our QM Projects work experience scheme, QM Temps job agency, Experience Works events and QMSU Provide volunteering services. Over 800 vacancies are available to browse on the QM JobOnline vacancy site.
Queen Mary’s extensive campus also provides over 1,200 on-campus job and volunteer opportunities ranging from E-learning Assistant to Gym Instructor and from Society President to Student Mentor.
Read more about our careers programmes and range of work experience opportunities on the QM Careers pages.
Name: Anja Popp
Studying: BA Comparative Literature
“I wanted to be in a big city and to study at a credible university doing a literature-based degree that was more diverse than your average English degree. Queen Mary ticked all the boxes, as well as being campus based (you can practically roll out of your bed to lessons). It’s also connected to all the other University of London colleges which means you have loads of Students’ Unions and libraries at your disposal!"
“The teaching staff at Queen Mary are so inspiring, they all do tons of research aside from teaching us, so they’re always in the know. They push for us to be able to do less known texts, which not only broadens our horizons, but means we are constantly exploring new topics, rather than repeating the same generic set texts."
“Queen Mary is in a great location. East London epitomises the culture and diversity of the big smoke. It has a chilled out yet happening vibe, and the most delicious curry a woman could ask for. Brick lane and Shoreditch are really funky areas to hang out in, and Stratford is like a city in a city, with all the rejuvenation for the Olympics in 2012."
“I am learning Spanish with the Language Centre, as whenever I go travelling I always feel really ignorant that I only speak English. I’m definitely not a natural linguist, but I’m trying really hard, and plan to join a Spanish conversational class later this year.”
Tom SymmonsBA Film Studies and History
How did you find your academic and social experience at QMUL?
“The critical skills and depth of knowledge I acquired during my BA Film Studies and History provided me a solid foundation for my postgraduate studies. My doctoral research thesis on the New Hollywood of the late-1960s and 1970s is now nearing completion and I intend to pursue a career in academia.
The joint honours degree course is structured to allow plenty of flexibility, and the modules on offer are diverse and well formulated; the interdisciplinary course 'Critical Approaches to Film: Alfred Hitchcock', was a particular favourite. It is also led by academics who are both leaders in their respective fields of research, and take a great deal of pride and interest in providing the best educational experience for their students.”