Birkbeck, University of London

Birkbeck, University of London

Comparative Literature

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.

Entry requirements

Good 1st degree, or equivalent, in a humanities subject. 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.

Course modules

You take two 10-week core modules.

In each session of Reading Across Cultures, we take 2 or more texts from different cultures as our starting point and read them in relation to one another, focusing on a particular critical method and/or theoretical approach appropriate to the comparative study of literature.

Understanding Theory familiarises you with a variety of theoretical perspectives, allowing you to explore theoretical and literary-critical concepts, and enables you to work with them in your analysis of texts.

Option modules give you the opportunity to engage with specific aspects of comparative literature in more depth and/or to explore comparative literature in the context of a variety of different historical, philosophical or cultural frameworks.

You also take a 10-week research skills module and undertake a 15,000-word dissertation.

To find out more, read our programme handbook (2014-2015).
Core modules:

Reading Across Cultures;
Research Skills;
Understanding Theory .

Option modules (include the following):

Crisis and Disorientation in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century German Fiction;
Cultures of Sensibility;
Exhibiting the Pain of Others: Museums, Violence and Memory;
Film, Melodrama and the Family;
French for Postgraduates;
German for Postgraduates;
Negotiating Gender;
Notions of the Public Intellectual in France;
Reinventing the Family in Contemporary French Cinema;
The Uncanny;
Time, Memory and the Novel;
Urban Spaces in Modern Cultures .

MA Comparative Literature dissertation .

Assessment methods

The core course and the options are examined by 5000-word essays (assessment methods may vary if options are chosen from another MA programme). You will also write a dissertation of approximately 15,000 words.

Sponsorship information

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.

Qualifications

Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MA Full-time October 2016 GBP 5,375 per Year 1 (EU) 1 years
MA Full-time October 2016 GBP 5,375 per Year 1 (England) 1 years
MA Full-time October 2016 GBP 11,500 per Year 1 (International) 1 years
MA Full-time October 2016 GBP 5,375 per Year 1 (Northern Ireland) 1 years
MA Full-time October 2016 GBP 5,375 per Year 1 (Scotland) 1 years
MA Full-time October 2016 GBP 5,375 per Year 1 (Wales) 1 years
MA Part-time evening October 2016 GBP 2,975 per Year 1 (EU) 2 years
MA Part-time evening October 2016 GBP 2,975 per Year 1 (England) 2 years
MA Part-time evening October 2016 GBP 5,750 per Year 1 (International) 2 years
MA Part-time evening October 2016 GBP 2,975 per Year 1 (Northern Ireland) 2 years
MA Part-time evening October 2016 GBP 2,975 per Year 1 (Scotland) 2 years
MA Part-time evening October 2016 GBP 2,975 per Year 1 (Wales) 2 years
MA Full-time October 2017 - 1 years
MA Part-time October 2017 - 2 years

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
Bloomsbury Campus Bloomsbury WC1E 7HX South East

Get in touch

Remember to mention TARGETpostgrad when contacting universities.

Key information

Contact: 
Department of European Cultures and Languages
Telephone number: 
020 3073 8381