Taught course

Modern Languages and Comparative Literatures

Birkbeck, University of London · Languages, Cultures and Applied Linguistics

Entry requirements

A second-class honours degree (2:2 or above) in an arts or humanities subject from a UK university, or an equivalent international qualification.

Applications are reviewed on their individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

Months of entry


Course content

This Modern Languages and Comparative Literatures course offers you the chance to explore the cultures of French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Spanish and Latin American language-speaking areas. At the same time, it gives you a thorough grounding in comparative literary and cultural studies in the context of modern languages. You can take a broadly comparative pathway through the degree or choose to engage with one or more specific language-speaking areas.

This course brings together a team of renowned academic experts in a variety of different areas: cultural studies, visual studies, linguistics, comparative literature and cultures, history and thought, from the Enlightenment to the twenty-first century. We have designed it to be responsive and adaptable to the needs of our students and will help you steer a pathway through the course that reflects your specific interests, career and personal ambitions, and language knowledge.

You will be able to choose whether you study texts in the original language or in English translation. You may also choose language learning at our advanced levels which incorporate workshops on advanced academic writing and allow you to enhance and perfect your language skills in conjunction with multiple forms of cultural analysis.

If you opt for a language-specific focus working in the original languages, your degree title will reflect the language/s you have chosen. For example, if you decide to focus on one language-speaking area such as French-speaking, you will be awarded an MA French Studies. If you focus on two language-speaking areas such as German and Japanese, you will be awarded an MA German and Japanese Studies.

MRes: if you wish to pursue a more research-oriented pathway through this course then the MRes is ideal as it offers you specialist training in research skills. You can also opt to write your dissertation related to a specific language-speaking area or areas and, if you also work with cultural artefacts in the original language/s, you can be awarded an MRes which names the language or languages, such as MRes French Studies, or MRes German and Japanese Studies.


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.

If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses and foundation programmes to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • MRes
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Student Advice Service
+44 (0)20 3907 0700