Navigation

MA in Comparative Literary Studies

  • Length
    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
  • Department
    English and Comparative Literature
Patrick Tomasso

Course overview

This exciting, intellectually rigorous programme gives you the opportunity to develop the study of literature from a variety of perspectives through a number of flexible pathways.

The pathways you can take are:

These enable you to combine theoretical angles with the close reading of a wide range of texts, from different media (literary, filmic, visual), periods, and cultural, geographic and linguistic backgrounds – though all texts will be studied in English, in English translation, or with English subtitles.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Maria Macdonald

Modules & structure

Overview

Each of the seven pathways centres around a core module which will ground you in the specific features of the period/region/theoretical discipline covered.

Pathway

Core Module

Pathway in Comparative Literature & Criticism Studies in Comparative Literature & Criticism
Pathway in Modern Literary Theory Theories of Literature & Culture
Pathway in Modern Literature Modern Literary Movements
Pathway in Literature of the Caribbean & its Diasporas Literature of the Caribbean & it Diasporas
Pathway in American Literature & Culture American Literature & Culture: Critical & Theoretical Concepts
Pathway in Romantic and Victorian Literature & Culture Nineteenth-Century Literature: Romanticisms
Pathway in Shakespeare: Early & Modern Shakespeare and the Early Modern

A Study Support Workshop will run a number of sessions throughout the year, including sessions on, for example, resources, essay-writing at Master's level, planning and developing dissertation projects.

You will also be able to take part in GLITS, the department's weekly research seminar; in LINKS, the London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies; and in the many activities organised by the Graduate School and other Goldsmiths departments.

Option modules

Around the core module you choose three option modules from the wide range of options taught in the Department to reflect your own particular interests. You may also take the core module of another pathway as one of your options.

In addition, you also undertake a dissertation.

For core and option module details, see the pathway pages.

Assessment

Extended course essays; dissertation of 15,000 words.

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Department

English at Goldsmiths is ranked:
18th in the UK for the quality of our research**
In the world’s top 150 universities for English language and literature***

English and Comparative Literature

Cervantes. Bukowski. Dostoevsky. Self. From classical literature and linguistics, to creative writing and contemporary fiction, we take a critical and creative approach to the discipline.

As a department we’re interested in a field of enquiry that extends from Old English to 21st-century literatures in English, French, Spanish and Italian. So you can study texts and films across a variety of periods and genres.

We’re engaged

We have a dedicated Writers’ Centre that encourages new writing and stimulates debate about all forms of literature. And we award the annual Goldsmiths Prize (for “fiction at its most novel”), which brings critically acclaimed writers like Ali Smith and Eimear McBride to campus.

We’re nurturing

We may be one of the largest departments at Goldsmiths but that doesn’t mean you won’t get personal support. Learn from our approachable team of academic staff and become part of the student-run English Society.

We’re vibrant

As one of the first departments in the UK to offer creative writing, you’ll be part of a hub of literary excellence – our graduates have gone on to win prestigious awards from the Orange Prize for Fiction to the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year.

Find out more about the Department of English and Comparative Literature

**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
***QS World University Rankings by subject 2015

Skills & careers

Skills

You'll develop transferable skills, including:

  • enhanced communication and discussion skills in written and oral contexts
  • the ability to analyse and evaluate different textual materials
  • the ability to organise information; the ability to assimilate and evaluate competing arguments

Careers

Graduates of this programme have gone on to pursue careers in:

  • publishing
  • journalism
  • public relations
  • teaching
  • advertising
  • the civil service
  • business
  • industry
  • the media

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Student profiles

Mark Grist

Poet, rapper and Youtube sensation.

Mark Grist is a poet and rapper based in Peterborough. He studied American and English literature at UEA before becoming an English teacher and later completed an MA at Goldsmiths. He began using rap techniques to teach his students about poetic devices and other elements of the English language, and formed Dead Poets, a double act with fellow Peterborough MC Mixy in 2008, touring the UK.

Grist's rap battle with one of his students, MC Blizzard, had three million internet views. His poem ‘Girls Who Read’ was produced by the Roundhouse and published on their Youtube channel.

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant/related subject. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 7.0 (including 7.0 in the written test)

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online

          Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
  • An essay (written in English), as an example of your academic writing

When applying, please indicate your preferred pathway.

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Selection process

Please submit an essay (written in English) together with your application, as an example of your academic writing.

Find out more about applying.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

The Department of English and Comparative Literature sometimes offers fees waivers for this programme.

Related content links