Study at St Andrews

Comparative Literature (MLitt) 2017 entry

The MLitt in Comparative Literature explores the transnational understanding of literature and culture, providing students with a critical evaluation of theoretical approaches combined with the intensive study of an extremely broad range of European texts and their relations to other literatures.

2016 entry

Course type

Postgraduate; leading to a Master of Letters (MLitt)

Course duration

One year full time

Entry requirements

A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline. If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements

One language taught at the School of Modern Languages (Arabic, French, Italian, German, Persian, Russian or Spanish) to Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Level 7, Common European Framework Level B1, or equivalent.

English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications.

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Tuition fees

UK and EU: £7,500
Overseas: £17,090

Application deadline

Applications are accepted until shortly before teaching starts in September. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Application requirements

  • CV
  • sample of academic written work (2,000 words)
  • two original signed academic references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • English language requirements certificate.
  • letter of intent (optional).

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes. 

Apply for this course

Course information

The MLitt in Comparative Literature is a one-year taught programme run by the School of Modern Languages. The programme explores the transnational understanding of literature and culture. It aims to provide training in traditional and new research techniques.

Highlights

  • Students receive training in traditional and new research techniques and have the opportunity to broaden their language portfolios.
  • Small class sizes of no more than 20 students provide a close-knit postgraduate community and friendly environment. 
  • A wide range of optional modules provides the opportunity to take modules from other disciplines or to learn a third language.

Teaching format

The taught portion of the course consists of four compulsory modules and a range of optional modules held over two semesters, plus a 15,000-word dissertation. Classes are delivered through a mixture of lectures (with around 20 students) and seminars (which vary from individual one-to-one teaching up to ten students). Modules are assessed through coursework; there are no final exams for this programme.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.

Modules

Each module typically comprises:

  • two hours per week of lectures, seminars or practical classes
  • coursework assessment 100%

For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2016–2017 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2017 entry.

Compulsory modules

  • Literary and Cultural Theory 1: explores a range of literary and cultural theories through which texts of all sorts may be conceptualised, criticised and analysed.
  • Apples and Oranges: Issues in Comparative Literature: explores the most pressing questions which arise when different texts are put in contact, using pairings of texts to reflect on different kinds of relations.
  • Research and Professional Skills: introduces students to a range of skills which are essential to advanced researchers and key to many other non-academic workplaces.
  • The Contemporary Canon: Why Books Sell: analyses the meaning of the word 'contemporary' as applied to literary texts based on three disciplines (including, but not limited to, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Persian, Russian, Spanish).

Optional modules

  • Research and Professional Skills: introduces a range of skills which are essential to advanced researchers including analytic and critical skills; oral skills; group work; and IT research skills.
  • French Literary Revolutions: explores contexts that have shaped literature and culture in the French-speaking lands from the Renaissance to the present day.
  • German Literary and Cultural Contexts: examines contexts that have shaped literature and culture in the German-speaking lands from the Middle Ages to the present day.
  • Italian Literary and Cultural Contexts: investigates the issue of Italian identity through seminal works by Italian writers from the thirteenth century to the present day.
  • Middle Eastern Literary and Cultural Contexts: studies the key elements of classical and modern Arabic and Persian literatures and cultures from pre-Islamic times to the present.
  • Generations in Russian Literature and Culture: investigates issues in Russian culture and history through the lens of genealogy, drawing on the expertise of researchers in the Department of Russian.
  • Patterns in Hispanic Literature and Film: a high-level introduction to research areas of Hispanic literature and film
  • Specialised research in French, German, Italian, Middle Eastern, Russian, or Spanish and Latin American Studies: offers students the opportunity to develop their skills of literary and textual analysis through directed reading on a topic of their choice.

The modules listed ran in the academic year 2016–2017 and are indicative of this course. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2017 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Dissertation

You will spend the summer months focusing on researching and writing a final dissertation of no more than 15,000 words. Student dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise on an agreed topic covering at least two different inter- or intracultural areas and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation must be submitted by a date specified in August.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there are exit awards available that allow suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of a MLitt.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at an open day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

Next visiting day
Wednesday 8 March 2017

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Conferences and events

The School of Modern Languages hosts an annual seminar programme which promotes integration across the language departments. In addition, the School hosts a number of conferences and events, including guest speakers and workshops for the discussion of ideas and issues in a thought-provoking but relaxed and supportive environment. 

Find out more about current postgraduate seminars. 

Funding

Santander Universities scholarships

The School of Modern Languages is offering two £5,000 scholarships, awarded on the basis academic merit and financial need, to those applying for an MLitt programme in Modern Languages.

Forum for Modern Languages Studies Scholarship

The School of Modern Languages is offering two £7,500 scholarships in an open competition to applicants who have been admitted to any one of the MLitt programmes offered by the School.

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships.

After the MLitt

Research degrees

In addition to the MLitt, the School offers a two-year residential Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree option in Comparative Literature.

Many of our graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews. 

Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% reduction in postgraduate tuition fees for students who have graduated during the last three years and are now starting a postgraduate programme.

AHRC
The Arts and Humanities Research Council offers scholarships which cover fees and stipend at RCUK rates for students applying for research degrees in the Arts and Humanities in Scotland.

PhD in Modern Languages

Careers

Modern Language postgraduates go on to careers in the academic field or in other areas, for example as cultural advisors, translators, or in the public or civil service.

Recent graduates have secured posts such as:

  • university teacher
  • research assistant
  • postgraduate recruitment officer at GCHQ
  • professional translator
  • adviser to the CBI
  • television subtitler.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills. 

Contact

School of Modern Languages
Buchanan Building
Union Street
St Andrews
KY16 9PH

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3670
Email: pgmodlangs@st-andrews.ac.uk

Modern Languages website


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our Admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online. (PDF, 84 KB)