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 and visual arts. Comparative Literature at Queen Mary is about choice and flexibility: you can select from a wide range of modules, including some creative options such as script-writing. It is also about breadth of approach and keeping an open mind.
This innovative programme offers the opportunity to discover in translation the literatures and cultures of Europe, Latin America and beyond. Our modules explore literature and culture from the Classical period to the Twenty-First Century, introducing you to a spectrum of themes, genres and movements as they evolve both within and beyond national and cultural boundaries.
Why study 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.
In the Government’s most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008), we were ranked highly for the quality of the research being carried out by staff.In the 2011 National Student Survey, 94 per cent of students were satisfied with the quality of the programme overall.
- Introduction to Literature: Texts and Contexts
- Introduction to Comparison
- The Scene of Teaching
- Brief Encounters: Short Stories and Tall Tales
- The Opposite of Science: How to Do Things with Poems
- European Culture and Society
- The Romantic Experience
- Encounters with the ‘New World: Christopher Columbus to Sir Walter Raleigh
- Understanding Culture
- The Scene of Reading
- Madness, Past and Present
- Why Belgium? Identities, Cultures, Narratives
- On the Subject of Sex I: Sappho to Stonewall
- Witnessing: Positioning Yourself in the Present
- 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, Film and Fine Art
- Literature and Philosophy
- European Tragedy
- The Scene of Writing
- Touch and Read: The Five Senses in Literary Modernism
- Constellations: Online Anthology Group Project
- On the Subject of Sex II: Queen to Queer
- Lost in Translation?
- Grand Tours: Nineteenth-Century Adventure Stories for Young Readers and their Twentieth Century Afterlives
- Poetry and Poetics of Resistance
- Faust in Legend, Literature and the Arts
- Comparative Literature Research Project
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: 300-320 UCAS points from 3 A-levels with a B in a relevant subject.
Subjects and grades: 32-34 with a 5 in relevant HL 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.
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.
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.
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 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 education and the arts, whilst others transfer skills gained during study into areas such as public relations.
The national 2012 destination survey confirmed that 79% of Comparative Literature graduates were in employment and/or study six months after graduation. Queen Mary graduates have a strong earning power, with a median salary of £23,000.
The broad range of skills gained through our comparative literature courses, coupled with multiple opportunities for extra-curricular activities and work experience, has enabled students to move into careers such as:
|Trainee PR Account Executive||Mission PR|
|Advisor||St Peter’s Community Centre|
|English Teacher||Madani Girls School|
|Editor||Weekly Times Newspaper|
|Freelance Events Manager||Tate Movie Project BBC|
|Retail Development Executive||Heineken UK|
|Independent Financial Advisor||Nationwide|
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 events include an Experience Journalism workshop run by News Associates, Experience Teaching with TeachFirst, and presentations by the Civil service.
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 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.”
Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary?
“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!
How did you find your academic and social experience at QMUL?
“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 and Learning department, 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.”