Postgraduate study

Comparative Literature

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: Comparative Literature

Part of our European Languages & Cultures research area, Comparative Literature involves the study of literary works of different linguistic and cultural systems, and encourages exploration of the interrelations between literature and the other arts. In the course of your research, you will be focusing on literary themes, genres and historical periods from the perspective of comparative study.

Our research options embrace a range of languages and cultures within Europe, North America, South America and Asia.

We can provide you with supervision on a wide range of topics within the School, including European and world literature, word and image, word and music, and film.

Further expertise is available from the extensive pool of specialists researching across the University.

In addition to individual supervision, research students have access to specialised research training and postgraduate seminars.

You will have ready access to the National Library of Scotland, a leading research library, as well as the University’s Main Library, which provides a wealth of primary and secondary texts and journals and is home to our Centre for Research Collections. Edinburgh’s many museums and art house cinemas are a further rich resource.

Our usual entrance requirement is a masters degree in a related subject, however, you may be admitted if you have other qualifications or work experience that are deemed comparable. You should contact your potential supervisor to discuss.

Students working in any languages other than English should be competent in those languages.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 61 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)

If you completed a CAE or CPE before January 2015 please contact the Admissions Office for the accepted grades.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • Graduate School
  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • Room 1.13, 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit two references with your application.

Before you apply, we strongly recommend that you discuss your research proposal by email with a prospective supervisor.

In addition to the supporting documents requested on the application form, you should include a research proposal and a sample of written work of about 3,000 words (this can be a previous piece of work from an undergraduate degree).

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Graduate School
  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • Room 1.13, 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH