Skip to content

Breadcrumbs navigation

Comparative Literature

Studying Comparative Literature at St Andrews gives you the opportunity to explore a range of literatures (including Arabic, Persian, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish) translated into English, giving you 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 not only into national, and, increasingly, transnational texts and trends, but also into the importance of the work of translation 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.



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 others. Find out more about studying Comparative Literature at undergraduate level at St Andrews.



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


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 an open day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.


Booking for our autumn visiting days will open in early September 2017.

  • Wednesday 27 September 2017
  • Wednesday 4 October 2017
  • Wednesday 18 October 2017
  • Wednesday 25 October 2017
  • Wednesday 1 November 2017



  • November 2017 - date to be confirmed.

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.

Research staff

The following members of staff are affiliated members of the ICCL.

Arabic Department

French Department

German Department

Italian Department

Persian Department

  • Dr Saeed Talajooy: changing patterns of Iranian identity in Persian literature and Iranian theatre and cinema. 

Russian Department

  • Dr Emily Finer: comparative literature and literary reception. 
  • Dr Katharine Holt: Russian modernism; Soviet cultural production under Stalin; the depiction of Russia's "Eastern" peripheries from the 19th century to today. 
  • Dr Claire Whitehead: comparative French and Russian literature in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Spanish Department

Comparative Literature research group

Institute for Contemporary and Comparative Literature
The ICCL explores current conceptions and practices of both contemporary and comparative literature, and works towards definitions of these fit for the 21st century.

Modern Languages research portal

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.


Faculty of Arts scholarships
The Dr Lawrence M Wodehouse Scholarship provides financial assistance for students studying in the Faculty of Arts who are academically gifted but would otherwise struggle with the cost of studying at St Andrews. 

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 a £7,500 scholarship 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 was ranked top in Scotland by the Guardian University Guide 2017.

Comparative Literature was ranked first in the UK in the 2016 National Student Survey.


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