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Comparative Literature transcends national and cultural boundaries, offering students a global view of literature. You investigate literary movements, genres and themes in literature from the classics to the modern age.
Our programme offers modules on 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?
Themes explored in our modules include freedom and oppression, film adaptations of literary works, gender and sexuality, travel, the body, childhood and adolescence, and vampires in literature and film.
You do not need to be able to read a foreign language to take a Comparative Literature degree as we study translations into English of a great range of major literature from other countries alongside literature originally written in English. On this programme you also spend a year abroad, studying (in English) at one of our partner universities and gaining different perspectives on the literature you are studying.
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 Comparative Literature students who graduated from Kent in 2017 and completed a national survey, 100% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).
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.
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.
Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally. You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.
On this programme, you spend a year abroad between Stages 2 and 3 at one of our partner universities. For a full list, please see Go Abroad. Places are subject to availability, language and degree programme.
You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stages 1 and 2 to proceed to the Year Abroad. If the requirement is not met, you will be transferred to the equivalent three-year programme. The Year Abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification.
A foreign language is not required as the teaching language is English, but tuition in the language of the host country will be offered if possible and it is recommended that you take advantage of your stay abroad to learn and/or practise a foreign language.
Teaching and assessment
For most modules, you have one two-hour seminar per week. The 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, usually in the ratio 50:50 or 40:60.
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.
The programme aims to:
- offer an opportunity to study literature within a strongly multidisciplinary and modular context
- widen participation in higher education by offering a variety of study routes
- produce graduates with a good knowledge of a comprehensive range of literary works from across Europe and beyond, from the Classics to the present day
- teach the comparatist approach to literary studies
- give students the ability to approach any text in a critical and analytical manner
- produce intellectually independent and self-motivating graduates
- give students the skills and abilities generic to study in the humanities
- offer students the opportunity to develop more general skills and competences so they can respond positively to the challenges of the workplace or postgraduate education
- provide the opportunity to experience another culture’s approaches to Comparative Literature
- develop the ability to communicate in another language, for those studying in continental Europe, in part through the provision of language modules at host university.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- a wide range of authors and texts from different periods and cultures, from Ancient Greece to the present day
- the cultural and historical contexts in which literature is written, transmitted and read
- concepts such as genre, theme or literary movement
- the problems inherent in interpreting 'the translated text'
- traditions in literary criticism
- critical theory and its applications, understood within its historical contexts
- the study of literature in its relation to other disciplines
- approaches to Comparative Literature in another culture.
You gain the intellectual abilities to:
- listen to and absorb the oral transmission of complicated data
- engage in careful reading of literary works and theoretical material
- reflect clearly and critically on oral and written sources, using power of analysis and imagination
- marshal a complex body of information
- remember relevant material and recall it when needed
- construct cogent arguments
- formulate independent ideas and defend them in a plausible manner
- present arguments in written form in a time-limited context, such as examinations.
You gain subject-specific skills in the following:
- close critical analysis of literary texts
- informed understanding of the variety of critical and theoretical approaches to the study of literature
- the ability to articulate knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories relating to literary studies
- sensitivity to generic conventions in the study of literature and the problems of translation and cultural differences
- well-developed language use and awareness, including a grasp of standard critical terminology
- the ability to articulate responsiveness to literary language
- scholarly practice in the presentation of formal written work, in particular bibliographic and annotational conventions
- understanding of how cultural norms, assumptions and practices influence questions of judgement
- appreciation of the value of collaborative intellectual work in developing critical judgement.
You gain transferable skills in the following:
- communication: producing focused, cogent written presentations, summarising information and assessing arguments, giving presentations with visual aids where appropriate
- problem-solving: identifying problems, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of different solutions, defending the preferred solutions with cogent arguments
- improving your learning, identifying your strengths and weaknesses, assessing the quality of your own work; managing your time and meeting deadlines, and learning to work independently
- working with others, participating in seminar discussions, and responding to the views of others and to criticisms of your own views without giving or taking offence
- using information technology effectively, such as word-processing essays, using online information sources and responding to communications by email
- in the case of students studying in continental Europe, enhanced working knowledge of and ability to communicate in another language.
Studying Comparative Literature you learn to think critically, develop the skills of close reading and effective communication, and gain confidence and experience in expressing your ideas. These key transferable skills are essential for graduates as they move into the job 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.
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|
|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.
34 points overall or 15 points at HL
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:
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.
Fees for Year in Industry
For 2019/20 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,385.
Fees for Year Abroad
UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2019/20 academic year pay £1,385 for that year.
Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status.
General additional costs
Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details.
You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.
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.