Comparative Literature - BA (Hons)

Described as "literature without borders", Comparative Literature discovers different cultures through their own artistic traditions and literature. Can literature ever be truly global? What can a book say that a film cannot? What makes a tragedy by Sophocles so different from one written by Shakespeare? Comparative Literature asks these questions, and many more.

Overview

Comparative Literature crosses the boundaries between literature and film, visual arts and popular culture. You will discover works from the ancient classics of Greece and Rome to the modern age, developing an understanding of historical and cross-cultural literary traditions and the ways in which they interact.

Choose Comparative Literature at Kent because:

  • You'll study in the vibrant and inspiring City of Canterbury with its extraordinary literary history and links to some of the world's greatest writers
  • a Comparative Literature degree gives you important skills to prepare you for tomorrow's world, leading to a wide range of careers including journalism, broadcasting, PR, teaching, marketing, publishing and writing
  • You'll join a friendly and supportive learning environment and student community.
  • Our flexible courses allow you to pursue your own interests and choose from a wide variety of modules
  • Broaden your horizons by taking the opportunity to study abroad at one of our partner institutions worldwide.

Your course

Discover works from Europe and the Americas, Asia and Africa, looking at genres including the novel, the short story, poetry, autobiography, drama, and the epic, with a particular emphasis on how literary forms have evolved in different cultures and linguistic traditions.

Explore questions such as: How have writers such as James Joyce engaged with Greek mythology? What is the evolution of the fairy tale from Charles Perrault to Walt Disney? In what ways might an English nineteenth-century novel of female adultery relate to a French, German, or Russian one?

Themes and areas you will explore include fiction and power; sex and gender; childhood and adolescence; crime fiction; literature and testimony; literature and seduction and creative writing.

You do not need to be able to read a foreign language to study Comparative Literature. While we encourage you to engage with foreign languages, you study translated works alongside literature originally written in English.


Michael talks about his Comparative Literature course at Kent.

Your future

Our graduates work in all kinds of professional roles including education, publishing, PR and journalism. This is due to the excellent analytical, writing, organisational and presentation skills they gain through their studies, as well as our structured programme of employability events.

You could broaden your horizons by spending a year studying at one of our many partner institutions around the world. This chance to immerse yourself in another culture not only enriches your literary studies but is also a wonderful opportunity for personal and career development. See Kent's Go Abroad pages for more information. Alternatively, you could spend a year on a work placement, gaining valuable experience and enhancing your employability.

Student life

The Department of Comparative Literature at Kent was one of the first of its kind in the country. Our research feeds into our teaching, so you are taught by experts, in a welcoming and friendly community.

In addition to lectures and seminars, you can take part in events including literary readings, guest lectures and seminars. You can also join student societies such as the Creative Writing, Literature, Poetry and Comparative Literature societies. The Gulbenkian has a theatre hosting work by theatre companies and a cinema showing contemporary, classic and independent films.

Flexible tariff

You are more than your grades

At Kent we look at your circumstances as a whole before deciding whether to make you an offer to study here. Find out more about how we offer flexibility and support before and during your degree.

Entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

  • medal-empty

    A level

    BBB

  • medal-empty 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.

  • medal-empty BTEC Nationals

    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. A typical offer would be to achieve DDM.

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 15 at HL

  • medal-empty International Foundation Programme

    Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 60% overall average including 60% in Academic Skills Development.

International students should visit our International Student website for further specific information. International fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot study part-time due to visa restrictions.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

If you need to improve your English language standard as a condition of your offer, you can attend one of our pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes before starting your degree programme. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.

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Course structure

Duration: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time

Modules

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.

Fees

The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £12600
  • International full-time £16800
  • Home part-time £4625
  • EU part-time £6300
  • International part-time £8400

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.

Additional costs

General additional costs

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

Funding

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.

Scholarships

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 A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

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 by module, from 100% coursework to a combination of examination and coursework, usually in the ratio 50:50 or 40:60.

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:

  • 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.

Learning outcomes

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.

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual abilities:

  • listen to and absorb the oral transmission of complicated data
  • careful reading of literary works and theoretical material
  • reflect clearly and critically on oral and written sources, using power of analysis and imagination
  • to 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.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in the following:

  • the 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
  • understanding of how cultural norms, assumptions and practices influence questions of judgement
  • appreciation of the value of collaborative intellectual work in developing critical judgement.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • communication: produce focused, cogent written presentations, summarise information and assess arguments, give 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
  • improve your learning, identify your strengths and weaknesses, assess the quality of your own work; manage your time and meet deadlines, and learn to work independently
  • work with others, participating in seminar discussions, responding to the views of others and to criticisms of your own views without giving or taking offence
  • use information technology effectively, such as word-processing essays, using online information sources and responding to communications by email.

Independent rankings

Of final-year Comparative Literature students who completed the National Student Survey 2021, 91% were satisfied with the feedback on their course.

Careers

Graduate destinations

Our graduates have gone on to work in areas including:

  • advertising
  • the Civil Service
  • copywriting
  • graphic design
  • journalism
  • marketing
  • publishing
  • teaching
  • television and film.

Help finding a job

The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service, which offers advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

Work experience

We offer a number of modules with direct relevance to the world of work, including options that focus on teaching.

Career-enhancing skills

Alongside specialist skills, you also develop the transferable skills graduate employers look for, including the ability to:

  • think critically
  • communicate your ideas and opinions
  • work independently and as part of a team.

You can also gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

Applications

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2021/22 academic year. Please visit the 2022 entry course pages.

Contact us

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

Enquire online for part-time study

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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