Comparative Literature MA (joint degree) 2020 entry

Comparative Literature at St Andrews gives you the chance to explore a range of literatures: Arabic, Persian, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish in English translation, as well as texts from the UK and US. You will gain insight into the different cultural traditions, socio-political and historical forces that have helped to form national and transnational canons.

The course focuses on close reading and introduces you to issues surrounding literary translation as well as comparative methodologies, developing your analytical, descriptive, and evaluative skills. You will have the opportunity to read, discuss, and present reasoned arguments, and work on writing with precision and clarity.

Whilst St Andrews does not offer Comparative Literature as a single Honours degree, you can take it in combination with a wide variety of other subjects as part of a joint Honours degree.

If you are taking Comparative Literature with a modern language, you will have the opportunity to take an integrated year abroad between second and third year in a country in which the language you study is spoken. 

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Course type

Master of Arts (joint degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

  • Start date: 7 September 2020
  • End date: 30 June 2024

If you started this programme in 2019, you can find information about 2019 entry on the 2019 Comparative Literature MA page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Entry requirements

These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.

    • Standard entry grades: AAAB
    • Minimum entry grades: AABB
    • Gateway entry grades: BBBB
    • Standard entry grades: AAB
    • Minimum entry grades: ABB
    • Standard entry grades: 36 (HL 6,6,5)
    • Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5)

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes, please see our entry requirements for more information.

For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.

International applicants

If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.

How to apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No previous knowledge of this subject is required.

General entry requirements

All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.

Other qualifications

More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.

Timetables

St Andrews students must meet with their Adviser of Studies at the beginning of Semester 1 in September to complete advising – a compulsory part of the matriculation process. After module choices have been decided, a timetable will be allocated indicating the dates and times of classes.

Course information

The Comparative Literature element of the four-year joint Honours degree course is run by the School of Modern Languages.

In the first two years, you will gain awareness of different genres and themes as they appear in a range of literatures (typically including Arabic, French, German, Italian, Persian, Russian, Spanish, Latin American, British and North American) and address the issue of how to study literature comparatively, especially when reading in translation. This will equip you with the range of literary experience and critical skills necessary for more in-depth study of specialist subject areas at Honours level.

Specialist subject areas include:

  • adaptation and intermediality
  • cultural memory
  • digital humanities
  • cultural studies
  • Postcolonialism
  • influence and reception
  • literary translation
  • world literature.

Alongside Comparative Literature, in the first year of your studies you will be required to study an additional two subjects. In the second year, you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about how academic years are organised.

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure webpage.

Find out more about studying Comparative Literature at St Andrews.

Modules

In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in Comparative Literature along with modules from your chosen joint subject.

Typically, you will take one Comparative Literature module per semester during your first two years, and two modules per semester during your third and fourth year (known as Honours). Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Students are required to take the following compulsory modules in their first year:

  • The Nineteenth-Century Novel: introduces the study of Comparative Literature through 19th-century novels from France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and the UK.
  • Drama in the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries: introduces the study of Comparative Literature through plays written in the 20th and 21st century from a range of literatures including France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Russia, Spain, the UK and the US.

Students are required to take the following compulsory modules in their second year (all texts are read in English translation): 

  • Good and Evil: examines a broad range of texts from a number of national literatures, periods and genres in which the theme of good and evil is explored in different literary, social, political and historical contexts. Work on comparative theories and methodologies and on the importance of translation prepares students for Honours modules.
  • Journeys: explores a broad range of texts from different national literatures, periods and genres offering variants on the theme of journeys, explored in a range of literary, social, political and historical contexts. Work on comparative theories and methodologies is pursued, as is an exploration of the importance of translation.

If you decide to take Comparative Literature in your third and fourth years, as well as advancing your theoretical engagement with the discipline, you will choose from a wide variety of advanced options, each based on at least three national literatures and taught by a team of experts from Modern Languages.

Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years:

  • Autobiography and the Visual Arts
  • Crossing the Mediterranean
  • Cultural Memory and Literature
  • Experiences of Exile
  • Folk and Fairy Tales
  • Issues in Cultural Studies
  • Literature and the Bible
  • The Literary Canon
  • The Short Story.

In fourth year, students may also choose to undertake a 5,000 or 10,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice, with individual supervision. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.


The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours-level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules available for the current academic year can be found in the module catalogue

Teaching

Teaching format

Comparative Literature modules involve traditional lectures supported by small discussion seminars. Lectures provide information, stimulate thought, and suggest directions for further reading and personal study. Small group seminars allow you to work together with each other and with your tutors to discuss texts, theories and methodologies in detail.

Sub-honours Comparative Literature modules are delivered through lectures (100 to 150 students) and small-group tutorials (10 to 15 students). At Honours level, lectures are replaced by tutorials of 5 to 15 students.

When not attending lectures and tutorials, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:

  • reading set primary and secondary texts
  • working on individual and group projects
  • undertaking research in the library
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations
  • preparing for examinations.

You will be taught by leading researchers in the field with an emphasis on research-led teaching. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of tutorials and seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

You can find contact information for all Comparative Literature staff on the School of Modern Languages website.

In addition to your studies in the School of Modern Languages, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University.

The University’s student services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long-term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities webpage.

Assessment

Comparative Literature sub-honours modules are assessed by 50% coursework and 50% written examination. Assessment at Honours level varies, with most modules being assessed entirely by coursework.

Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.

The Department aims to provide feedback on every assessment within three weeks to help you improve on future assessments.

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please visit the common reporting scale webpage.

Visit St Andrews

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

Undergraduates

Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 23 October 2019
  • Wednesday 30 October 2019

Fees

Tuition fees for 2020 entry

Scotland and EU Tuition fees for Scottish and EU applicants have yet to be set for 2020 entry.
Rest of the UK Tuition fees for applicants from the rest of the UK have yet to be set for 2020 entry.
Overseas £23,910

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Your future

Careers

The skills you gain through studying Comparative Literature are marketable in many career areas and your capacity to process and assimilate complex material from a range of cultures will make you highly employable.

Recent graduate career paths include:

  • business and commerce
  • civil service
  • IT development
  • journalism
  • marketing
  • media and the arts
  • publishing.

Graduates may also go into postgraduate study, either at St Andrews or to other universities.

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

Study abroad

Comparative Literature students may participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. You may also have the opportunity to participate in the School Abroad exchange programme. For information about study abroad options, please see the Study Abroad site.

Student life

From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

Students of Comparative Literature may be interested in joining the following student societies:

  • Book Club holds regular meetings to discuss books and create a welcoming society for all. 
  • Inklight is a creative writing society which runs poetry slams, open mic nights, workshops and an annual journal of student writing.

The School of Modern Languages is situated at the very centre of St Andrews in the Buchanan Building on Union Street.  

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As University buildings are located throughout the town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland.

Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.

Contact

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

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2953
Email: complit@st-andrews.ac.uk    

Department of Comparative Literature website

Policies

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).