Comparative Literature MA (joint degree) 2021 entry
Comparative Literature at St Andrews opens up literary study across boundaries of culture and language. It offers students the chance to read texts of any genre, of any period, and written in a multitude of languages, all in English translation. Drawing on expertise from across modern languages and beyond, the programme considers the relationships that exist between literatures around the world, allowing students to push at the boundaries of textual analysis and read without borders.
As well as exploring the different cultural, socio-political, and historical forces that have helped form national and transnational canons, the course also focuses on close reading and introduces you to comparative methodologies and literary theories, 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, clarity and creativity.
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.
Master of Arts (joint degree)
Four years full time
- Start date: 6 September 2021
- End date: 30 June 2025
Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
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.
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 comparative literature 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.
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.
Comparative literature at St Andrews was ranked first in Scotland by the Complete University Guide 2021. The School of Modern Languages as a whole was ranked first in Scotland by the Guardian University Guide 2021.
The School of Modern Languages has a reputation for innovative research in an exceptionally broad range of areas including:
- literature (Arabic, Persian, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Russian) from the medieval era to the 21st century
- theories and methodologies of comparative literature
- gender and identity studies
- transnational studies and contemporary studies.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2020 as 92.7% of St Andrews final-year students gave the University top marks for the quality of the learning and teaching experience.
In the most recent (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.
The University has secured a TEF Gold Award for the quality of teaching and the undergraduate experience.
Find out more about studying comparative literature at St Andrews.
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 of Adultery: introduces the study of comparative literature through 19th-century novels from France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and the UK.
- Political 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.
- 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.
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
- Great Works and their Adaptations
- 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 appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.
Joint Honours degrees
You can take Comparative Literature as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following listed subjects.
“With texts from a wide range of countries and a variety of genres (novels to movies to paintings), Comparative Literature is perfectly suited to an increasingly globalised and intermedial world. The focus on contemporary cultural discourses has proved to be very useful in my joint course with Modern History, as well as helping me secure internships in museums and research institutes.”
Zoe (Bad Fischau, Austria)