Comparative Literature and Culture

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Undergraduate study

Comparative literature is about making connections between literatures and cultures from around the world, and between literature and the other arts, such as music, film, photography, and fine art. It's all about expanding your literary and cultural horizons. You could be exploring modern fairytales, postmodern novels or short stories from Europe, Latin America and Japan; or discovering more about movements such as Romanticism as well as a host of themes ranging from madness to migration.

Comparative literature at Queen Mary offers choice and flexibility: you can select modules from a wide range, including some creative options such as script-writing. It also supports breadth of approach and keeping an open mind.  

Why study comparative literature at Queen Mary?

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. Comparative literature is taught in the thriving School of Languages, Linguistics and Film, you will be taught by people who are breaking new ground in their fields, who will be able to pass on their passion and knowledge to you.

Then there is the exciting range of option modules. Not only can you choose modules from all the language departments and Film Studies, but you can also venture into other humanities departments. You will be assigned an adviser, so you will be able to discuss your module choices with them.

Finally, 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. 

Undergraduate degree programmes

The links below will take you to the main Queen Mary website for more details


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 carryout independently an in-depth piece of research on a subject of your own devising. 

Our 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. You will typically have eight hours of lectures and seminars per week, with class sizes ranging from 20 to 70 students. For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete a further 5 to 6 hours of independent study.  

What can I do afterwards?

Comparative literature will develop an impressive set of transferable skills highly valued by today's graduate employers, including:

  • analytical ability: all that high-level sleuthing for links and differences will make you highly logical, while also developing your intuitive skills
  • highly sophisticated reading skills: you will be able to read lengthy pieces without being sidetracked by 'fluff', and then summarise and precis with accuracy
  • the ability to put things in context,and a well-developed awareness  of the world around you
  • presentation skills: you will produce high-quality written work and give presentations, both essential in the world of work
  • team-working skills. 

Graduates in comparative literature are likely to be attracted to fields such as the media and PR, where their interest in broad culture will provide an invaluable background.Writing skills are useful in journalism, advertising, marketing and so on. You could also go into professions such as law (by taking the one-year conversion course) or teaching.

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