Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature - BA (Hons)

UCAS code QV29

This is an archived page and for reference purposes only


What do we mean by ‘culture’ and why are its many forms so hotly contested? Why is it so important to our sense of identity and belonging? Cultural Studies at Kent is an innovative subject with distinctive perspectives on all forms of present day culture. We explore connections between popular culture, the arts and everyday life by crossing social sciences/humanities boundaries. 


Taking Cultural Studies with Comparative Literature enables you to benefit from the Cultural Studies modules offered by the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research and those by the Department of Comparative Literature in the School of European Culture and Language. This enhances your knowledge of European culture through analysing literary texts from all genres.

Comparative Literature broadens the study of literature to transcend national boundaries to consider works from other countries and cultures.  The modules in Comparative Literature cover literature from the classics to the modern age. We investigate literary movements, genres and themes including, classical literature, romanticism, realism, modernism and postmodernism. 

Genres studied include the novel, the short story, science fiction, tragedy and the epic, with a particular emphasis on how literary forms have evolved in different cultures, and linguistic traditions. For example, what makes a tragedy by Sophocles so different from one written by Shakespeare? How has the genre of science fiction developed across Europe? What are the similarities and differences between a novel by Charlotte Brontë and one by Gustave Flaubert?

This degree programme is ideal for those wanting to engage with an understanding of culture from a variety of disciplines and perspectives.

Independent rankings

Sociology* at Kent was ranked 11th in The Times Good University Guide 2019 and 15th in The Complete University Guide 2019.

In the National Student Survey 2018, over 95% of final-year Comparative Literature students who completed the survey, were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

Of Sociology students who graduated from Kent in 2017 and completed a national survey, over 93% of were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

*Cultural Studies is included in Sociology.

Teaching Excellence Framework

All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

TEF Gold logo

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Teaching and assessment

Cultural Studies

We use a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, case study analysis, group projects and presentations, and individual and group tutorials. Many module convenors also offer additional ‘clinic’ hours to help with the preparation of coursework and for exams. Assessment is by coursework and examination.

Comparative Literature

In most modules, you attend a weekly one-hour lecture and a two-hour discussion seminar. Your final-year dissertation is based entirely on your private research but is supervised by a tutor and includes workshops and the chance to participate in an undergraduate conference. Assessment varies from 100% coursework to a combination of examination and coursework.

Contact Hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • develop in students the knowledge to undertake critical analysis of culture, especially literatures of the world
  • provide teaching informed by current research and scholarship in the field of cultural studies and comparative literature
  • offer a flexible and progressive curriculum which includes options from a wide range of disciplinary areas particularly in the study of culture, especially national and world literatures
  • promote an understanding of cultural identities, differences and transitions and the historical, political and economic contexts of their emergence and change
  • provide a broad knowledge of relevant concepts, debates and theoretical approaches in the study of culture and literature
  • facilitate the personal development of students as independent, life-long learners capable of collating and analysing information and producing new knowledge
  • provide opportunities for the development of personal, communication, research and other key skills appropriate to graduate employment in a range of cultural, media, education and arts-related spheres, and for further research in the fields of cultural and literary studies
  • produce graduates with an informed, critical and analytical approach to understanding culture society and the arts
  • enhance students’ awareness of sensitivity to the context of the production and reception of the cultural forms over a range of historical periods
  • develop a critical and analytical approach to interpreting art and contexts of artistic production and consumption
  • provide students with an informed knowledge of the literary traditions from Ancient Greece to modern times.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the role the media and cultural institutions play in society
  • cultural forms as sources of popular knowledge and ideas
  • how people engage with cultural texts and practices
  • the relation between cultural texts, such as artistic, literary, media, social, political and scientific, and the historical contexts of their production and reception
  • the modes of modern global, international, national and local cultural experience
  • how cultural texts and products shape contemporary life
  • the nature of the cultural impact of new technologies
  • literary forms and genres from a range of historical periods and national origins and the way they can be interpreted and evaluated
  • the works of a range of significant authors from Ancient Greece through the Renaissance to the present day
  • critical theories and concepts deployed in analyses of culture and literature.

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual abilities:

  • analyse a wide range of cultural forms
  • critical evaluation of scholarship and ideas, classical and contemporary
  • represent in language the views and ideas of others
  • application of cultural theory and literary theory to familiar and unfamiliar cultural material, phenomena and contexts
  • express your own ideas in oral and written communication
  • identify, evaluate and construct arguments.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in the following:

  • conception and application of cross-disciplinary strategies of investigation of cultural issues, themes and topics
  • the ability to identify and analyse ethical and political subject matters represented in all kinds of media culture
  • account for and criticise the interrelation of aesthetic cultural practices and forms, and the social and political contexts of their emergence and affect
  • evaluate theoretical models and paradigms of cultural production, consumption and reception
  • integrate diverse sources of cultural information and produce new knowledge
  • analysis and interpretation of literature of all kinds, especially in translation
  • effective deployment of terms and concepts and techniques specific to the study of literature from the comparativist perspective.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • gather and collate, retrieve and synthese information from a variety of sources, such as library, IT, press, textual, visual, popular and academic, in traditional formats as well as electronic
  • work independently on the design and execution of research projects
  • the ability to reflect on and understand the accumulation of knowledge about cultural practices diversely understood
  • the ability to be adaptable, creative and self-reflexive in producing output for a variety of audiences
  • self-directed project planning, development and execution of work to  deadlines
  • effective communication: express yourself in written and oral forms, represent the ideas of others as well as your own, and argue for, and justify, your own views.


Cultural Studies

School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research graduates are adaptable and flexible in their thinking and approach tasks in a rigorous, ethical, yet creative and reflective fashion. They develop key transferable skills including: communication, organisational and research skills; the ability to analyse complex information and make it accessible to non-specialist readers, write reports and use data analysis computer programs, and can take on positions of leadership in addition to working effectively and considerately in teams. These skills and attributes are valued in a wide range of professions.

The School has excellent links with local outside agencies, such as the probation and youth justice services, the police and social services.

Cultural Studies graduates work in advertising and design, journalism, broadcasting, teaching, arts administration, publishing, public relations, research, information services, leisure industry management, tourism and heritage, personnel, local government, and the organisation of social and community projects.

Comparative Literature

Throughout your studies, you learn to think critically and to work independently; your communication skills improve and you learn to express your opinions passionately and persuasively, both in writing and orally.

The range of literatures studied, and the contexts in which they were produced, enables you to develop a global cultural perspective. These key transferable skills are essential for graduates as they move into the employment market.

Recently, our graduates have gone into careers such as teaching, publishing, marketing, radio, journalism, television and film, the Civil Service, advertising, graphic design and copywriting.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level



5 GCSEs grade C or above.

Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 15 points at HL

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country. 

However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.


The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.


University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.


General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either mathematics or a modern foreign language. Please review the eligibility criteria.



The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact