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.
You have the option to take this programme with a year abroad.
In the National Student Survey 2017, over 95% of final-year Comparative Literature students who responded to the survey were satisfied with the overall quality of their course. Comparative Literature at Kent was ranked 1st for overall satisfaction.
Comparative Literature students who graduated from Kent in 2016, were the most successful in the UK at finding work or further study opportunities within six months (DLHE).
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.
The programme aims to:
- offer an opportunity to study literature within a strong 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 competencies so they can respond positively to the challenges of the workplace or postgraduate education.
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.
You gain the following intellectual abilities:
- listen to and absorb the oral transmission of complicated data
- a careful reading of literary works and theoretical material
- reflect clearly and critically on oral and written sources, using the power of analysis and imagination
- to marshal a complex body of information
- remember the 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:
- the close critical analysis of literary texts
- an 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 judgment
- appreciation of the value of collaborative intellectual work in developing critical judgment.
You gain transferable skills in the following:
- communication: produce focused, cogently 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 offense
- use information technology effectively, such as word-processing essays, using online information sources and responding to communications by email.
Comparative Literature at Kent was ranked 2nd in the UK for the percentage of students who found professional jobs after graduation in 2015 (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey).
Our recent 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.
Program taught in: