Research course

Comparative Literature

University of Glasgow · College of Arts
PhDMLitt by researchMPhilMRes

Entry requirements

Our regular standard of admission is at least an Upper Second Class Honours degree (2:1), although candidates will usually also have completed or be undertaking a Masters qualification.

Candidates are required to provide a single page outline of the research subject proposed (approximately 1000 words). This need not be a final thesis proposal but should include:

  • a straightforward, descriptive, and informative title
  • the question that your research will address
  • an account of why this question is important and worth investigating
  • an assessment of how your own research will engage with recent study in the subject
  • a brief account of the methodology and approach you will take
  • a discussion of the primary sources that your research will draw upon, including printed books, manuscripts, archives, libraries, or museums
  • an indicative bibliography of secondary sources that you have already consulted and/or are planning to consult

Your application, including your references and research proposal, will be passed to members of staff whose expertise and research interests most closely match the area of your proposed study.

Months of entry

January, December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February

Course content

Comparative Literature is an exciting interdisciplinary, intercultural, and inter-medial discipline housed in a School of Modern Languages and Cultures with expertise in ten modern languages and cultures.

The strengths of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures (SMLC) lie in the languages and literatures of Europe, both east and west. For this reason our Comparative Literature Programme might be subtitled: European and European Influenced. There is indeed still much work to be done in having East meet West since the fall of the Wall so many years ago, and we are proudly placed, with our Slavonic subject areas, to enable research and teaching in this cross-over area. We cross into the New World as well, having staff working on, for example, Quebecois literature, Mexican and Brazilian, as well as North American Anglophone literature.

Comparative Literature has close collaborative links, not only with disciplines such as Translations Studies, English Literature, Scottish Literature and Classics, but also with History, Art History, Philosophy, Gender History, as well as Central and East European Studies and Economic and Social History, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Medical Humanities, and Digital Humanities. We are also involved within larger networks such as Human Rights Network and GRAMnet (Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration network), and the School of Modern Languages and Cultures is home to the Stirling Maxwell Centre for Text/Image Studies.

This allows us to offer a very wide variety of research pathways for students with diverse backgrounds and interests. Our special strengths linguistically include languages of Eastern, Central, and Western Europe and Latin America as well as Mandarin. Links with other Schools provides access to classical, mediaeval, and other modern languages.

We currently have a cohort of 25 taught Masters and roughly 30 postgraduate research students within the School of Modern Languages and Culture. Our research students organise a regular seminar series and play an active role in building a thriving research environment beneficial to all postgraduate students within modern languages and cultures.

Staff Research Strengths

Staff research interests within the School of Modern Languages and Cultures include topics from the Middle Ages to the present.

Research areas include

  • gender (femininities, masculinities and transgender),
  • emotions,
  • visual cultures (from Renaissance emblems to film, photography and the graphic novel),
  • the literature of migration and exile (including post-colonialism, post-communism, African literatures, literatures of the New World, and the Holocaust),
  • nationalism(s) and transnationalism,
  • psychology/psychoanalysis/analytical psychology and literature,
  • literature and philosophy, critical theory, and censorship.

The work that we do addresses the problems of understanding an ‘Other’ across times, places/spaces, and cultures, whether this work is undertaken by means of translation, literary/cultural or social analysis, or historical research.

Start dates are set by both the supervisor and the department. As such some PHD options will have fixed start dates (likely January/October) and others have a rolling intake. For more details please contact the relevant department.

Information for international students

Please see the English Language requirements if your first language is not English. Please also see the international page.

Fees and funding

  • College of Arts Graduate School funding opportunities

AHRC Doctoral Training Programme Scotland 2018/19

Funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to support postgraduate studentships and training in the Arts and Humanities in Scotland.

College of Arts PhD scholarship competition 2018/19

We offer a number of scholarships for students undertaking a doctoral programme in the College of Arts Graduate School. These scholarships will include around four hours per week of internship duties.

Qualification and course duration


part time
60 months
full time
36 months

MLitt by research

part time
36 months
full time
24 months


part time
24 months
full time
12 months


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details