Taught course

Comparative Literature

Birkbeck, University of London · European Cultures and Languages

Entry requirements

Good first degree or equivalent in a humanities subject.

Months of entry


Course content

This Master's degree offers you an opportunity to engage critically with the study of comparative literature. The primary focus is on English-, French-, German-, Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking cultures, and while we welcome students able to work in these and other languages, you may work exclusively through the medium of English.

Students with a particular interest in French or German culture and/or with high-level French or German language skills are encouraged to apply, as it is possible to take a French or German pathway through the programme.

You will have the opportunity to develop your understanding of key critical concepts associated with the comparative study of literature and cultures, such as literary history and the canon, genre, theme, influence, intertextuality and translation across genres and media. You will gain practical experience of working with these concepts in your reading of texts. You will also be given a grounding in twentieth- and twenty-first-century literary theory, exploring its development in a cross-cultural context and investigating how it can change the way we read texts and the cultures that produced them.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

Fees and funding

UK students
Part-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa
International students
Part-time overseas students: £ 7225 pa Full-time overseas students: £ 14450 pa

The government's new postgraduate loan scheme allows you to borrow up to £10,000 to cover the cost of your tuition fees, living costs or other study expenses – and you don't have to start repaying until 2019.

Excellent students admitted to the part-time MA Comparative Literature (French or German pathway) may be eligible to apply for our Aaron Sims Scholarship and our Greta Dexter Scholarship, which offer bursaries of up to £3000 each (over 2 years).

The School of Arts also offers a number of bursaries for postgraduate students.

Part-time students who are experiencing financial need may apply for assistance from the Birkbeck Alumni Fund Postgraduate Opportunity Bursary.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

Student Advice Service
+44(0) 20 3907 0700