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
  • 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

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 23 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • 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 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
PhD3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhD6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

There are a number of scholarship schemes available to eligible candidates on this PhD programme, including awards from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.

Please be advised that many scholarships have more than one application stage, and early deadlines.

*(Revised 27 November 2020 to update featured funding information.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH
Programme start dates Application deadlines
13 September 2021 31 July 2021
10 January 2022 31 October 2021

If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

*(Revised 11 November to remove contradictory deadline information.)

You must submit two references with your application.

The online application process involves the completion of a web form and the submission of supporting documents.

For a PhD programme, you should include:

  • a sample of written work of about 3,000 words (this can be a previous piece of work from an undergraduate or masters degree)
  • a research proposal - a detailed description of what you hope to achieve and how

You will also need to supply two references.

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

Further information

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