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Comparative Literature and Film Studies

QP23 BA (Hons) 3 years


This degree programme is split equally between the two subjects and helps you make theoretically informed connections between literature and fine art, music, popular culture and film. You study literature from a comparative perspective, exploring themes, genres, movements and periods across national boundaries through translations and original texts in English.

The film programme covers the aesthetics, conditions of production and history of film in the United States, Latin America and the major European nations, and introduces you to major theoretical and critical developments in film studies. Advanced options in the second and final years permit you to concentrate on the aspects of literature and film that interest you the most, while a research project allows you to bring the two disciplines together.

Why study Comparative Literature and Film 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. Film Studies at Queen Mary is an exciting and vibrant department, and our staff have expertise most notably in British and North American cinema, and in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian filmmaking. You will be taught by experienced filmmakers, as well as by leading academics in areas which cover many different periods of film history and which draw on films and cinema traditions from around the world.

In recent National Student Surveys (NSS), Film Studies at Queen Mary has rated consistently highly in terms of overall student satisfaction and in terms of the quality of teaching across the programme. We have performed well time and again in national newspaper league tables: we were placed 7th out of 90 UK institutions in the Times Good University Guide 2013 and were ranked 6th out of 86 UK institutions in the Guardian University Guide 2013. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008), the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film was ranked highly for the quality of the research being carried out by staff. This means that you will be taught by people who are breaking new ground in their field, who will be able to pass on their passion and knowledge to you.

You will be situated in the heart of London’s culturally dynamic East End, within easy reach of the city’s many specialist cinema and research venues, including the National Film Theatre, the Ciné-Lumière (at the French Institute), The Institute of Contemporary Arts and the British Film Institute.


Year 1

  • Core and compulsory modules:
  • The Scene of Teaching
  • Introduction to Comparison
  • Introduction to Literature: Texts and Contexts
  • Introduction to Film Studies
  • Stars
  • Auteurism: The European Tradition

Options include:

  • Brief Encounters: Short Stories and Tall Tales
  • The Opposite of Science: How to Do Things with Poems

Year 2

Core and compulsory modules:

  • The Scene of Reading
  • What is Cinema? Critical Approaches

Options include:

  • Fairy Tales in the Modern World
  • Presentations of London in Modern European Literature, Film and Fine Art
  • Art and Revolution
  • Out of Place: Literature and Dislocation
  • Introduction to British Cinema
  • The French New Wave
  • Modern/Postmodern Cinema
  • Film, Literature and Adaption
  • Scriptwriting: Adaptation and Original Script

Year 3

Compulsory module:

  • The Scene of Writing

Options include

  • Lost in Translation?
  • Poetry and Poetics of Resistance
  • Touch and Read: The Five Senses in Literary Modernism
  • Contemporary Hollywood Cinema
  • Film Philosophy
  • Film and Ethics
  • Mapping Contemporary Cinema
  • Contemporary Italian Cinema

Entry requirements

General Information

We welcome applicants whose first language is not English; you 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.


Typical tariff or grades required: 320-340 UCAS points from 3 A-levels with a B in Film Studies/Media Studies if offered or another relevant subject.

International Baccalaureate

Subjects and grades: 34 with 5 in HL Film/Media if offered or relevant subject.

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 further information page below.

Further information on our entry requirements

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.

Information for applicants from outside the United Kingdom, including English language qualifications

Learning and teaching

Teaching takes a number of forms. Lectures are used to convey information, to introduce students to the basic concepts of the discipline and to develop sustained interpretation and argument. Seminars and workshops allow students to put into practice the concepts and approaches presented in lectures. There are workshop sessions for many practice-based modules, as well as group work in the studios or on location.

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.  There are also weekly film screenings for most Film Studies modules; copies of films studied are also available from the Library to view or borrow.

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.


You are assessed by a mixture of exams and coursework or by coursework only. Assessment in the final year may include the completion of a research project. This offers you the chance to carry out independently and in depth a sustained piece of research on a subject or case study of your own devising.

Fees and finance

Tuition fees

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.

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.

If you live in WalesScotland or Northern Ireland you have an equivalent Student Finance department for your region.

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.

Graduate Employment

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 directing, film production and copywriting, whilst others transfer skills gained during study into areas such as public relations.

The national 2012 destination survey confirmed that 87% of the School’s graduates were in employment and/or study six months after graduation with 64% already working and/or studying at graduate level. Graduates from this School have an average earning power of £20,153 six months after graduation.

The broad range of skills gained through this course, coupled with multiple opportunities for extra-curricular activities and work experience, has enabled students to move into careers such as:


Lateral Film

Trainee PR Account Executive

Mission PR

Retail Development Executive

Heineken UK

Managing Director

Levay Estate

PR Account Manager

 Celebrity Chef Consortium

Production Co-ordinator


Throughout the course, students have access to an annual QM Careers and Enterprise Centre programme, to prepare them for internships and graduate level work. This includes employer led workshops on job applications and interviews as well as over 90 employer events to facilitate networks and help students to explore their options.

Recent careers events in the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film Studies have included a careers panel and speed-meet (featuring a producer, director’s assistant and script agent) as part of the British Living Cinema Festival. Students also have access to our central careers programme, with a range of events including workshops on journalism, teaching, and employer-led recruitment skills training.

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. Opportunities can be found through QProjects, a local work experience scheme, QRecruit, which advertises internships and temporary work, Experience Works, a part time work fair, and volunteering with QMSU Provide. There are also over 1400 vacancies to browse on the QM JobOnline vacancy site.

Queen Mary’s extensive campus also provides over 1200 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 and Enterprise Centre pages 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 Symmons

BA 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.”


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