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Comparative Literature (Literary Studies)
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Study programme

The Master's in Comparative Literature is a one-year programme in which you analyse and critically reflect on literature, texts, films, visual art and music. The first semester comprises three core courses and electives . The second semester contains more elective space and your Master's Thesis.

Programme overview

The programme courses engage with topics such as gender, the posthuman, environmental humanities, cultural memory, global literacy and the state of the Humanities in the 21st century. Although students follow three compulsory core courses, and are required to choose 12 ECTS from the core elective list, it is also possible to combine courses from other specialisations (e.g. English Literature and Culture; Literature and Education; Literature, Culture and Society; other MA courses in and outside the humanities; and even from other Dutch universities) and thereby carry out comparative research projects.

Core courses

You will first enroll in three core courses: Politics of the Contemporary 1 and 2, and the thesis seminar. The former courses are dedicated to literature, the arts, and theory in relation to a specific issue that enjoys a particular political relevance, urgency, or actuality for the present. The latter prepares you for your MA thesis in the second semester.


You can then choose one elective from the core elective list. This list is updated each year, so please consult the course catalogue for the current offering. The following courses have been part of the list for several years: Bodies and the Posthuman, Il/Literacy Matters, Narrative and Globalization, Cultural Memory and Trauma. Other electives may be chosen from a wide array of options offered by the Faculty of Humanities.


Internships are not obligatory, but MA students may conduct an internship (maximum 6 ECTS) in either semester. An internship provides work experience, puts classroom theory into practice, and can assist you to get your ‘foot in the door’.


In the first semester you take the Thesis Seminar that prepares you for your Master's Thesis. This independent project reports on research carried out by the student under the supervision of an academic staff member involved with our programme.

The Master's programme Comparative Literature comprises 60 ECTS credits: 12 ECTS Comparative Literature core courses: Politics of the Contemporary 1 and 2; 24 ECTS electives, 12 ECTS of which are chosen from the core elective list; 6 ECTS Thesis Seminar; 18 ECTS Master’s thesis.

  • Politics of the Contemporary
    Period 1
  • Texts in the 21st Century: Forms of Writing and Reading
    Period 1
  • Gender and Feminism across Literatures
    Period 2
  • Thesis Seminar Comparative Literature
    Period 3
  • Mobilities and Decolonization: Reading the Planetary
    Period 4
  • Free-choice electives
    Period 1
    Period 2
    Period 4
    Period 5
  • Master's Thesis Comparative Literature
    Period 4
    Period 5
    Period 6
Compulsory course
UvA Course Catalogue: Comparative Literature

Credit transfer

Students who show exceptional promise during the one-year Master's programme are encouraged to continue their studies in the Research Master's in Literary Studies. Once students are admitted to the research programme, they can transfer credits earned during their previous course of study towards their Research Master's degree. Please note that you will need to apply again for this programme and that you are not automatically accepted.

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.