Postgraduate study

Comparative Literature PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

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.

A UK masters degree, or its international equivalent, in a related subject.

If you intend to undertake aspects of the programme in any languages other than English, you should be competent in those languages.

We may also consider your application if you have equivalent qualifications or experience; please check with your potential supervisor before you apply.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 61 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

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, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, 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.

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:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDComparative Literature3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhDComparative Literature6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

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, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Graduate School
  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • Room 1.13, 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH
Programme start dates Application deadlines
13 January 2020 30 November 2019
14 September 2020 31 July 2020
11 January 2021 30 November 2020

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.

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