Comparative Literature - BA (Hons)

Cross the boundaries between literature and film, visual arts and popular culture, and explore civilizations through their own artistic traditions. Study in the vibrant and inspiring city of Canterbury with an extraordinary literary history and links to some of the world’s greatest writers.

Overview

Discover works ranging from the ancient classics of Greece and Rome to the modern age. Develop an understanding of historical and cross-cultural literary traditions and the ways in which they interact, and explore what literature can tell us about different social, cultural and historical periods.

Why study Comparative Literature at Kent?

  • Your course, your way: Tailor your degree and inspire your curiosity with modules exploring childhood and adolescence, vampires in literature and film, women writing and gender, morality in literature, and film adaptation.
  • Global perspective: all the benefits of a traditional literature degree combined with the study of literatures from around the world, including Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.
  • Unearth hidden treasures: Gain access to the Canterbury Cathedral Library and our Special Collections archive containing manuscripts, historic records, photographs, maps and printed books dating back to the late 8th century.
  • Explore historic Canterbury: Our city is steeped in literary traditions from Chaucer to Dickens, from Marlowe to Conrad. In the heart of Kent, you can travel to London in under an hour by train, and coastal beaches are a short bus ride away.
  • Join a welcoming community: Kent was first institution in the UK to teach Comparative Literature. Take advantage of our experienced, world-leading lecturers, working at the cutting edge of their fields and providing excellent support.
  • Get career-ready: develop 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.

Did you know?

You do not need to be able to read in a foreign language to study Comparative Literature. The global texts studied will be provided in full translation, alongside literature originally written in English.

What you'll learn

Throughout your course you will explore questions such as: What can a book say that a film cannot? What makes a tragedy by Sophocles so different from one written by Shakespeare? 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 may explore include politics, testimony and power; the fairy tale; crime fiction; Latin American fiction, postcolonial literature; literature and seduction and creative writing.

See the modules you'll study

In addition to lectures and seminars, you can take part in events including literary readings, guest lectures and seminars. We offer workshops that provide a range of valuable skills that will enable you to apply your knowledge in the wider world and make you attractive to employers in a range of professions. At the end of your course, you could even add a year in Computing, Data Analytics, Journalism or a Language to your degree to increase your employability.


What our students say

“(Doing Comparative Literature at Kent) I was exposed to literature I never would have picked up, ideas that shape the modern world we now live in and new ways of looking at things I thought I already knew a lot about.”

– Kuba Shand-Baptiste, graduate and commissioning editor at The Independent.

“The variety on my course has made me adaptable and I think I’ve gained a lot of transferable skills. I visited other universities but none stuck in my mind as much as Kent. I think it was the atmosphere and the attitude towards learning that people have here.”

– Naomi Gilad, graduate and Academic Instructor.

Flexible tariff

Make Kent your firm choice – The Kent Guarantee

We understand that applying for university can be stressful, especially when you are also studying for exams. Choose Kent as your firm choice on UCAS and we will guarantee you a place, even if you narrowly miss your offer (for example, by 1 A Level grade)*.

*exceptions apply. Please note that we are unable to offer The Kent Guarantee to those who have already been given a reduced or contextual offer.

Entry requirements

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. All applications are assessed on an individual basis but some of our typical requirements are listed below. Students offering qualifications not listed are welcome to contact our Admissions Team for further advice. Please also see our general entry requirements.

  • medal-empty

    A level

    BBB

  • medal-empty Access to HE Diploma

    The University welcomes applications from Access to Higher Education Diploma candidates for consideration. A typical offer may require you to obtain a proportion of Level 3 credits in relevant 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

    30 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.

  • medal-empty T level

    The University will consider applicants holding T level qualifications in subjects closely aligned to the course.

If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes. Please note that international fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

Please note that meeting the typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee that you will receive an offer.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you do not meet our English language requirements, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. 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 2022/23 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £13000
  • International full-time £17400
  • Home part-time £4625
  • EU part-time £6500
  • International part-time £8700

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.

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.

Apply for this course

If you are from the UK or Ireland, you must apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not from the UK or Ireland, you can choose to apply through UCAS or directly on our website.

Find out more about how to apply

All applicants

Apply through UCAS

International applicants

Apply now to Kent

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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