Research course

Comparative Literature

Birkbeck, University of London · European Cultures and Languages

Entry requirements

Usually a good first degree in an arts or humanities subject. Specific indication of research interests or outline of proposed research prior to interview.

Months of entry

January, October, April

Course content

This research degree is ideal if you wish to engage critically with the study of comparative literature - or, indeed, other cultural forms, especially in the area of visual studies - across 2 or more linguistic, regional or national contexts.

The focus of research in the Department of Cultures and Languages is on French, German, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish-speaking cultures in a transnational context, and we welcome research proposals that focus comparatively on or across these areas. The Department has great expertise in a wide variety of themes both historically and geographically (in Europe, Japan and the Americas).

Department specialisms

Canon formation. French language literature and culture. German language literature and culture. Japanese language literature and culture. Literary and film history. Intermediality, intertextuality and translation across genres and media. Portuguese language literature and culture. Spanish language literature and culture. Transnational cultural theory and criticism in all the above languages. Visual culture.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

Fees and funding

Birkbeck is offering 2 fully funded PhD studentships in partnership with major arts institutions in London for 2016-2017: 1 in collaboration with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the National Gallery in the fields of art history, English literature and Victorian studies; and 1 in collaboration with the AHRC and Tate Modern in the fields of arts management, curatorship and film, media and cultural studies.

Our School attracts funding for studentships that ensure researchers of the highest standard can pursue their research with us. We are offering a range of funding opportunities for 2016-2017 entry.

Qualification and course duration


full time
36 months
part time
60 months


part time
36 months
full time
24 months

Course contact details

Department of Cultures and Languages