Bachelor in Literary Studies


Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

How do we distinguish literary texts from non-literary ones? What role does literature play in society, and what role did it use to play? Students taking Utrecht University’s Bachelor programme in Literary Studies will take a comparative look at the literature of all eras, ranging from antiquity to the present time, focusing both on literature in itself and on its relation to other art forms and types of media. This programme takes in everything from epic poems to novels, and from novels to fan fiction.

Without Borders

Walk into a random bookshop and you will find literature written by authors from all over the world. In fact, the chances are that you read all sorts of literature yourself, be it European or Japanese literature, recent works or novels written in the past, poetry, fan fiction, what have you. Our Literary Studies programme will similarly allow you to cross such borders, as literature comes in many languages and represents many different cultures.

Of All Ages

Why are certain stories exciting, while others fail to excite us? How does one recognize a good plot, and what types of plots recur in different guises throughout the ages? How do literature and society affect each other? By comparing texts from various ages and languages, students will uncover principles that go well beyond the confines of language.

For Literary Omnivores

Do you love reading in multiple languages (English, French, and German as well as Dutch)? Are you interested in any type of literature, no matter the genre? If so, Utrecht University’s Literary Studies programme will be right up your alley, because it is designed for literary omnivores. It is essential that you are a critical reader, though, and that you are always looking for the story behind the story.

An Ongoing Debate

As a Literary Studies student, you will never be lost for words. Literary scholars never stop debating. For this reason, we will teach you to have opinions and to defend these opinions.

Judged best in the field

Our Literary Studies programme was voted the cream of the crop in the 2018 edition of the Selection Guide for Universities (Keuzegids Universiteiten 2017). The content of the programme, the lecturers and the workload, in particular, came in for a lot of praise.

Career Prospects

Various Fields of Employment

After a Bachelor's most students go on to take a follow-on Master’s programme. A Master’s allows you to work in various fields of employment. It all depends on the direction you followed in your specialisation.

As a graduate literature scholar, you can take on roles such as a literary critic or an editor at a publisher, or you can work in education (preparing course materials and literary documentation). You can also conduct scientific research, organise cultural activities or work in policy sectors of the government.

Literary Critic

With your expertise in literature, you write reviews, articles and columns, and conduct interviews about old or new literature. You are up to date on new works and use your knowledge to critique them.

Publishing House Staff Member

You scout literary talent and provide authors with guidance about writing their books and putting them on the market. You also edit manuscripts.


You edit (news) publications for various media outlets, such as newspapers, radio/television and the Internet. In doing so, you make use of your knowledge about social developments.

PhD Comparative Literary Studies

As a PhD candidate in Comparative Literary Studies, you'll carry out research in the field of literary studies under the supervision of a professor after your studies.

Your research will focus on the role of literature in the European community, but can also focus on North or South America. As a PhD candidate, you are aware of developments in literary studies and use these a basis for creating a socially and scientifically relevant research plan. Your research will be your primary activity, but you will also supervise students and take advanced lessons.

You will conclude your doctoral research by writing and defending a doctoral thesis. This earns you a doctorate degree, abbreviated as Dr.

Project Staff Member in the Arts and Culture Sector

You contribute to cultural projects such as festivals and exhibitions. You do this by, for example, writing press releases, organising events or raising funds.

Museum Staff Member

You work together with the board and the curator of the museum to facilitate exhibitions and the maintenance of the collection in the best possible way. You also help to set up new exhibitions and guided tours. In doing so, you use your knowledge and carry out research on the subject of the exhibition.

Last updated May 2020

About the School

Founded in 1636, Utrecht University is an esteemed international research university, consistently positioned number one in The Netherlands, 14th in continental Europe and the worldwide top 100 of int ... Read More

Founded in 1636, Utrecht University is an esteemed international research university, consistently positioned number one in The Netherlands, 14th in continental Europe and the worldwide top 100 of international rankings, and member of the renowned European League of Research Universities. Read less