Comparative Literature

Studying Comparative Literature at St Andrews gives you the opportunity to explore a range of literatures from around the world translated into English (including Arabic, Persian, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish). You will gain an exceptionally broad perspective on different literary genres (including the novel, poetry, drama, film and works of non-fiction), periods (from medieval to the 21st century), themes and movements as they have evolved both within and beyond national and cultural boundaries.

Classes led by subject specialists in the School of Modern Languages give you insight into national and transnational texts and trends, and into the importance of translation work and the formation of national and global canons. As well as close textual analysis, modules introduce you to a range of comparative theories and methodologies. Students with reading ability in a particular foreign language will be invited to read texts in the original language where appropriate and to share the additional insights that this type of comparison brings.


Undergraduate - 2020 entry

While St Andrews does not offer a single Honours degree in Comparative Literature, you can study this subject as a joint degree with a wide range of other subjects. Find out more about studying Comparative Literature at undergraduate level at St Andrews.

International Foundation programmes - 2020 entry

International Foundation programmes prepare international students for undergraduate study in the UK and at the University of St Andrews in particular.

Social Sciences and Humanities September Foundation
Social Sciences and Humanities January Foundation 

Postgraduate - 2020 entry


Comparative Literature MLitt
Crossways in Cultural Narratives Erasmus Mundus MLitt
German and Comparative Literature MLitt

Research degree

The School of Modern Languages offers a Master of Studies by Research (MSt (Res). Find out more about the MSt (Res)


Please contact a supervisor in your research area, or the convenor of Comparative Literature, to inquire about PhD opportunities.

Visit St Andrews


If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day or talk and tour to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 1 April 2020
  • Wednesday 8 April 2020
  • Wednesday 15 April 2020

Visit us


Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 11 March 2020

Sign up

Comparative Literature research areas

The Comparative Literature scholarship at St Andrews is housed in the Institute for Contemporary and Comparative Literature (ICCL). Research in this area takes a transnational, interdisciplinary and intermedial approach. The ICCL invites reflection upon the definition and practice of comparative literature.

Careers for graduates in Comparative Literature

Students with a degree in Comparative Literature are highly prized by employers and typically pursue a wide variety of careers around the world.

As a graduate in Comparative Literature, you will have:

  • a rich knowledge of other cultures and identities
  • highly sophisticated reading and analytical skills
  • outstanding language and communication skills in English
  • the ability to put information in context
  • excellent team-working and presentation skills from class work and group projects
  • the capacity to process and assimilate complex material from a range of cultures.

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

Funding opportunities

The University of St Andrews offers a variety of funding opportunities at all levels of study.


St Andrews offers a number of funding opportunities for undergraduate study.

Undergraduate scholarships


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 four £9,000 scholarships in an open competition to an applicant who has been admitted to any one of the MLitt programmes offered by the School.

Postgraduate taught scholarships

PhD students

Find out more about funding opportunities for PhD study.

Funding for PhD students


University league tables

The School of Modern Languages as a whole was ranked top in Scotland by the Guardian University Guide 2020.


In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), the School of Modern Languages was ranked first in Scotland on the quality of publications, with over 70% of research work rated as world-leading and internationally excellent.


Department of Comparative Literature
School of Modern Languages
University of St Andrews
Buchanan Building
Union Street
St Andrews
KY16 9PH

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2953

Comparative Literature website

Modern Languages research portal