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Comparative Literature MA

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Study literature from six different continents covering over 2,500 years, comparing literatures from across the world, written in many different languages, in different cultures from antiquity to the present day.

You can choose from a unique range of options from classical Greek and Latin right up to twenty-first century European, Asian, Middle Eastern, African, and American literature as well as the opportunity to develop your language skills.

Key benefits

  • Exceptional geographical and historical range of literature options.
  • Learn from staff who are leading experts in European and World Literatures.
  • Ability to take thematic approaches across literature.
  • Opportunity to study modules from across the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.
  • Located in the heart of London, close to libraries and cultural institutions.

Key information

Application status Closed

Duration One year FT, two years PT, September to September

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Credit value UK 180/ECTS 90

Course intake Approximately 18

Course leaders Dr Sebastian Matzner -

Further details

Course contact for further information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 7000 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200

Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Department Department of Comparative Literature



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Course detail


Our Comparative Literature MA provides an introduction to the practice, methodology and theory of comparative literary studies through our required module. You will then focus on more specific aspects of literary themes, genres, and historical periods, and choose a subject for your dissertation that also has a comparative focus. This flexibility means that you can pursue your own academic interests and develop a specialism of your choosing. In addition, our Modern Language Centre provides modules at all appropriate levels to support your study of foreign language texts.

This course is ideal for students who want to look beyond conventional literary canons and engage in comparative study across a wide range of cultures.

Further literature

Course format and assessment

If you are a full-time student, we will provide you with at least six hours of teaching a week through lectures and seminars, and we will expect you to undertake 33 hours of independent study.

If you are a part-time student, we will provide two to four hours of teaching each week through lectures and seminars, and we will expect you to undertake 17.5 of independent study.

For your dissertation, which you will focus on over summer, we will provide four hours of supervision and you will undertake 594 hours of independent study. If you are a part-time student, we will provide this supervision in your second year.

Your performance will be assessed through a combination of coursework and written/practical examinations.  Forms of assessment may typically include coursework and assessed presentations.  Coursework contributes approximately 98% and assessed presentations approximately 2% to your final mark. The exact percentages will vary depending on which modules students choose.

This course is primarily taught at the King’s College London Strand Campus. We are located right in the heart of London, meaning you will have easy access to the huge number of cultural opportunities in one of the world’s most vibrant cities, as well as its multiple world-class libraries. You will also have access to our own extensive collections and resources.

Regulating body
King’s College London is regulated by the Office for Students.


Year 1

Courses are divided into modules. You will normally take modules totalling 180 credits.
Required Modules

You are required to take:

  •  Theorizing Literature across Cultures: Contemporary Debates (20 credits)
  •  Dissertation (60 credits)     
Optional Modules

In addition, you are required to take five modules totalling 100 credits from a range of options from within the Faculty of Arts & Humanities. At least 60 of these should be from the list of comparative literature modules that may typically include:

  • The World Novel (20 credits)
  • Culture, Dissent & the Arab Spring (20 credits)
  • Melancholia & Hypochondria (20 credits)
  • CP Cavafy: the Making of a Modernist (20 credits)
  • Queer Connections: Male-Male Desire & the Classical Past (20 credits)
  • Translation, Colonialism, Postcolonialism (20 credits)
  • Myth after Slavery (20 credits)
  • Reading Emotions (20 credits)
  • Polyglot Literatures of Modern Egypt: 1900-2000 (20 credits)

If you are a part-time student, you will take Theorizing Literature across Cultures: Contemporary Debates in your first year and your dissertation in your second. If you are a part-time student, you will take 60 credits of optional modules in your first year, and a further 40 in your second.

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant programmes of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates.

Entry requirements & how to apply

Comp Lit MA Entry Requirements
Minimum requirements  2:1

2:1 undergraduate degree in an appropriate subject, such as English, Modern Languages, Classics, Cultural Studies, History, Politics or International Relations. Applicants without a literature degree should demonstrate academic engagement with literary study in their application.

In order to meet the academic entry requirements for this programme you should have a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree with a final mark of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme. If you are still studying you should be achieving an average of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme.

International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band C Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements. 


Application procedure

We aim to process all complete applications within four to six weeks, although turnaround may be quicker during less busy periods. Applications will usually be assessed on the basis of the materials submitted. Very occasionally an applicant may be called to interview in person or online. You should include one essay as a sample of your written work with your application.

Applications must be made online using King’s online application portal and a non-refundable application fee of £70 applies.


Personal statement and supporting information

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Personal Statement  Yes

A personal statement is required. This can be entered directly into the online application form (maximum 4,000 characters) or uploaded as an attachment to the online application form (maximum 2 pages). Within your personal statement, you should include full details of the optional modules you wish to take, together with a paragraph on your proposed dissertation topic.

Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes One academic reference is required. A professional reference will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago. In some cases, we may request an additional reference from you.
Writing Sample Yes You should also include one essay (between 2,000 to 4,000) as a sample of your written work with your application. It should show engagement with primary and secondary sources. Please contact the MA Convenor if you wish to discuss your situation.
 Other Optional Applicants may wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of their application.

Application closing date

 We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. Our first application deadline is the 26th March 2021. After this date, the programme will remain open only if places are still available and will be closed as soon as it is full.

For programmes that remain open beyond this date, the final application deadlines for the following fee statuses are listed below:

  • EU or overseas (international) fee status: 30th July 2021
  • Home fee status: 27th August 2021

Please note, you will not be eligible for an application fee refund if you apply after the first application deadline in March, and we are unable to process more offers as places are filled before the final application deadlines above.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

  • Full time Home fees: £10,500 per year (2021/22)
  • Full time overseas fees: £23,460 per year (2021/22)
  • Part time Home fees: £5,250 per year (2021/22)
  • Part time overseas fees: £11,730 per year (2021/22)

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.


When you receive an offer for this course you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure your place. The deposit will be credited towards your total fee payment.

The UK deposit is £500.

The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000. 

  • If you receive an offer on or before 31st March, payment is due by 30th April 2021.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st April and 30th June, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st July and 31st July, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1st August, payment is due within one week of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer from late August onwards, payment is due within 2 days of receiving the offer.

If you are a current King’s student in receipt of the King's Living Bursary you are not required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the programme. Please note, this will not change the total fees payable for your chosen programme.

Additional costs/expenses

In addition to your tuition fees, you can also expect to pay for: 

  • Primary texts and other key books
  • Library fees and fines 
  • Personal photocopies 
  • Printing course handouts 
  • Society membership fees 
  • Stationery 
  • Travel costs for travel around London and between campuses 
  • Graduation costs
  • Entrance to relevant galleries, exhibitions and events (optional)

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

For many of our graduates this course is a springboard to further research. However, others transfer the skills and knowledge they develop with us to pursue careers in arts administration, teaching, journalism, tourism, and the voluntary and financial sectors.


Blue box with King's College London rankings. Starting with, 7th in the UK for research quality. Followed by, 6th in the UK for research power. Concluding with, 4th among multi-faculty universities for research Impact. The source is research excellence framework 2014

Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's.

View guide

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