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Comparative Literature (Literary Studies)

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Grounded in literary and cultural theory, the one-year Master's Comparative Literature trains you to analyse cultural objects (both Western and non-Western) within an interdisciplinary theoretical framework and a globalised context.

Comparative Literature in the broadest sense

The Master's programme in Comparative Literature is theoretical in character. You will learn to use methods such as textual analysis, deconstruction and close-reading to examine politically urgent matters in the fields of post/de-coloniality, global literacy, environmental humanities, cultural memory, race,  and gender. If you want to gain a better understanding of the dynamics between the literary and the political, this programme suits you.

Why study Comparative Literature in Amsterdam?

The Comparative Literature programme at the University of Amsterdam offers you:

  • Situated in the heart of Amsterdam, the programme draws inspiration from the lively literary culture in this international urban hub. We have connections to and partnerships with publishers, theatres, poetry stages, and museums including the Stedelijk Museum, Perdu, De Balie and the Goethe Institut.
  • Our education is research based and you will benefit from the national and international research networks and activities of our staff members.

Unique strengths of this programme include: 

  • A world-class education
  • Situated in the heart of Amsterdam
  • Interdisciplinary context
  • Diverse cultural partners including Stedelijk Museum

The character of the Comparative Literature programme:

The program offers you the chance to study contemporary literature and theory in an interdisciplinary context, approaching literature from a perspective grounded in literary and cultural theory, encouraging you to think about film, visual art, performance and music in addition to literary texts. The MA program consists of a mandatory theoretical course that is closely aligned with the research profile of the teachers. You are free to choose from a wide range of electives and have the opportunity to organize your own internship.

After graduation

After graduation you are prepared for a career in any sector of cultural life, education, publishing, the arts, journalism, media, communications and civil service. If you want to pursue an academic career you can apply to a closely aligned research MA program within the first year (please note that this entails a new application). 

Student profile

As a student in the Master’s programme in Comparative Literature you will be expected to have the following knowledge, insight and skills:

  • You have an awareness of basic theoretical notions in critical theory, cultural studies, philosophy or literary theory. Bachelor's degrees in language and literature and in philosophy will in most cases provide that basis.
  • You are able to conduct research independently and know how to formulate research questions, collect material, apply theory, and write a thesis.
  • You are familiar with or interested in political and cultural questions and the role of literature in the world.
  • You are ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural landscape in Amsterdam with its many different cultural offerings.
  • In class you contribute to an engaged (international) classroom by participating actively.

Comparative Literature in part-time mode

The programme is also offered in part-time study mode at the UvA, in which case it takes 2 years.  As a part-time student you will follow the programme together with full-time students. You will prepare your study plan for the part-time programme in consultation with the Master’s programme coordinator.

Degree certificate

Comparative Literature is an accredited degree programme of Literary Studies. After successful completion of this programme, you will receive a legally accredited Master’s degree in Literary Studies and the title Master of Arts (MA).

Facts & Figures
Degree programme MA Literary Studies
Mode Full-time, part-time
Credits 60 ECTS, 12 months
Language of instruction English
Starts in September
CROHO code 60813