Comparative Literature MSc
Study modes: Full-time, Part-time
Programme website: Comparative Literature
Learning about the interplay between various cultures and the literatures that they produce in a melting pot like Edinburgh has been one of my favourite parts of the MSc in Comparative Literature. The incredible staff and community of international students made me feel at home right from the very beginning, and I could not have made a better choice for my higher education!
As the first UNESCO World City of Literature, and a major cultural hub, Edinburgh is the ideal place for the comparative study of literature and the relationship of literature to other art forms.
Our one-year taught Masters programme (formerly known as the MSc in Comparative and General Literature) draws on world-class teaching and research expertise across literatures, languages and cultures, from Scotland to Asia, Scandinavia to the Middle East. It can also be completed part-time over two years.
Bringing together an international community of learners, we live comparative literature in the classroom, where you’ll sharpen your critical, analytical and methodological skills, and explore a range of literary works from different linguistic and cultural systems.
You’ll also be encouraged to develop your own area of interest and expertise, with specially-designed option courses offering a detailed focus on literary themes, genres, and historical periods, critical theory and translation, and the relationship of the written word to other arts, such as music, painting and film. This leads to a final dissertation, pursuing your research interests further and developing your research skills.
Based in a world-leading festival city, our MSc draws on the expertise of research-active teaching staff from across the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC). Literature has been taught here for over 250 years and we offer one of the widest variety of languages of any UK university.
You’ll be part of a friendly, international community of staff and students from a range of disciplines and backgrounds, each with their own perspective on literature and the arts, with lots of opportunities to discuss and present your work. LLC has excellent links with other Schools in the University of Edinburgh, as well as cultural partners in the city.
Combining core courses with optional courses, training in research skills, methods and problems, and a dissertation, will help you understand the practice and context of Comparative Literature, as well as developing your independent research skills to publication standard. Many of our graduates have gone on to complete PhDs.
You’ll typically have access to a wide range of resources, including The University of Edinburgh Library, the National Library of Scotland, Scottish Poetry Library, and numerous theatres and cinemas, including the Traverse Theatre, National Galleries of Scotland, and Filmhouse.
You can take the MSc in Comparative Literature over one year, full-time, or two years, part-time.
Over the duration of the programme, you’ll take four core courses, and two optional courses. Each course is worth 20 credits.
The core courses introduce you to Comparative Literature as a discipline and practice, and to relevant theories and methods in literature and cultural studies. They will also help you develop your research skills, moving from general research methods to specific research problems, thereby preparing you for your dissertation.
We make recommendations for optional courses based on their comparative element, but there are a broad range of subjects to choose from every year.
The final element of the programme is your dissertation, a piece of independent research - 15,000 words (worth 60 credits) - written with the advice and support of a designated supervisor.
Find out more about compulsory and optional courses
We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.
|MSc||Comparative Literature||1 Year||Full-time||Programme structure 2023/24|
|MSc||Comparative Literature||2 Years||Part-time||Programme structure 2023/24|
On completion of the programme you will have gained:
- a thorough understanding of Comparative Literature, as a subject and as a practice
- knowledge of a number of literary theories and different approaches to literary study, and the ability to use them for literary analysis
- the ability to focus in detail on literary themes, genres and historical periods from a comparative perspective
- transferable skills such as critical thinking, analytical and interpretative ability, communication and writing skills
This interdisciplinary programme will give you the skills and experience to develop your independent research interests in a broad range of fields.
You may decide to concentrate on an academic career, or apply your learning in industry, from publishing to cultural heritage.
The discipline and confidence you’ll develop from a range of activities - from evaluating, comparing and analysing texts, to writing and speaking about your work - are invaluable in a range of professional roles.
At Edinburgh I learned to properly discuss literature. Before that, even during my first degree, my relationship to books was quite a solitary one, just reading alone and writing essays. Whereas in Edinburgh it was all about small group discussions. This taught me a lot about arguing but also questioning, looking critically both at fiction as well as literary theory and criticism. All this made me into a much more careful and independent reader.
Cristina Sandu, prize-winning writer and translator. MSc in Comparative and General Literature, 2015.
Meet our graduates
These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.
A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant subject.
Students from China
This degree is Band C.
Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:
English language requirements
Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.
English language tests
We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:
- IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
- TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
- C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
- Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
- PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.
Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
Degrees taught and assessed in English
We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:
We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).
If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.
Find out more about our language requirements:
UK government postgraduate loans
If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.
The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:
- your programme
- the duration of your studies
- your tuition fee status
Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.
Other funding opportunities
Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:
- School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
- 50 George Square
- Central Campus
- EH8 9LH
Select your programme and preferred start date to begin your application.
MSc Comparative Literature - 1 Year (Full-time) (Full-time)
MSc Comparative Literature - 2 Years (Part-time) (Part-time)
|Programme start date||Application deadline|
|9 September 2024||1 July 2024|
Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.
Please be aware that applications must be submitted and complete, i.e. all required documents uploaded, by the relevant application deadline in order to be considered in that round. Your application will still be considered if you have not yet met the English language requirement for the programme.
Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2024/25:
|Round||Application deadline||Places awarded by|
|1||06 November 2023||21 December 2023|
|2||15 January 2024||14 March 2024|
|3||11 March 2024||02 May 2024|
|4||20 May 2024||18 July 2024|
|5||01 July 2024||08 August 2024|
(Revised 19 October 2023 to update application deadlines and selection dates)
You must submit one reference with your application.
The online application process involves the completion of a web form and the submission of supporting documents.
Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:
- School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
- 50 George Square
- Central Campus
- EH8 9LH