Comparative literature is the study of literature across cultural and national frontiers, time periods, languages and genres, even across the boundaries between literature and the other arts.
This programme gives you the opportunity to include the study of a foreign language (even as a beginner) as part of your curriculum.
The comparative or cross-cultural study of literatures assumes that people from different cultures, times, places and languages can communicate with each other, understand (if not fully share) each other’s traditions, and benefit from such contacts.
Initially you will read a wide variety of texts under the theme of heroes. You will analyse works representing different types of hero: classical, tragic, popular, traditional, comic, anti-heroes and others and also explore the notion of heroism, its absence in our lives and our longing for it as this finds expression in various historical contexts and cultures. The notion of female heroism in contrast to male heroism is also explored.
You will also study two other subjects of your choice in year 1: see Degrees in Arts, Science and Social Sciences.
In the second year the theme of frontiers will focus on the depiction of various forms of discovery and borders: geographic, scientific, psychological, gender-orientated and cultural. You will study a variety of ‘crossings’ and look at the exploration of otherness, secrets, mysteries and taboos. You will also focus on various literary and cinematic depictions of the search for identity and the meaning of self through a series of challenging texts and films from a variety of cultures.
You will also study two other subjects in year 2: see Degrees in Arts, Science and Social Sciences.
Years 3 and 4
If you successfully complete the Comparative Literature courses in years 1 and 2, you may progress to Honours in years 3 and 4. Comparative Literature may only be taken as a Joint Honours Degree, meaning that you will also study another subject from a wide range.
In your Honours years you will take these core courses (one in each year):
- Intercultural readings
- Theories of reading.
These courses will introduce you to major concepts in literary and cultural theory and intercultural approaches to literature. They offer you the opportunity of studying culturally different texts within multiple frameworks, so you can reflect critically upon different approaches. You will also gain an awareness of issues of language and translation as they relate to the reading of texts from different cultures.
Our Comparative Literature students have studied abroad at universities in Canada and the USA for a semester or longer.
Our graduates have gone on to pursue rewarding careers in business and commerce, marketing, media, teaching (both at home and abroad), translating and interpreting, and the civil service.
Academic entry requirements
for entry in 2014
Highers: AAAA or AAABB (including English and a humanities subject or a language (including Gaelic) at grades A/B or B/A) in first sitting = unconditional offer.
Applicants who achieved AAAB or AABBB (including English and a humanities subject or a language (including Gaelic) at grades A/B or B/A) at their first sitting WILL receive an offer from the University. This offer may be conditional (on second sitting results) or unconditional, depending on how many applications are received from students who have attained these grades.
Additional offers, either conditional or unconditional, MAY be made to applicants who achieved AABB or ABBB at their first sitting. A decision re these applications will be made in March 2014 once all applications have been reviewed.
IB: A minimum of 34 points is required to be considered for an offer. Actual offers will specify subjects and grades to be attained at Higher Level.
English language requirements
For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):
- overall score 6.5
- no sub-test less than 6.0
- or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)
Common equivalent English language qualifications:
- ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 20
- CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): B minimum
- CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): C minimum
- PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the Language Centre Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:
What do I do if...
my language qualifications are below the requirements?
The University's Language Centre offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.
my language qualifications are not listed here?
Please contact the Recruitment and International Office: Elaine.Shortt@glasgow.ac.uk
If you require a Tier 4 student visa, your qualification must be one of the secure English language tests accepted by UK Border Agency:
my academic qualifications are below the requirements?
Glasgow International College offers Foundation courses to upgrade your academic qualifications.
Visa requirements and proof of English language level
It is a visa requirement to provide information on your level of English based on an internationally recognised and secure English language test. All test reports must be no more than 2 years old. A list of these can be found on the UK Border Agency website. If you have never taken one of these tests before, you can get an initial idea of your level by using the Common European Framework self-assessment grid which gives you a level for each skill (e.g. listening B1/writing B2 etc.) However, please note that this is not a secure English language test and it is not sufficient evidence of your level of English for visa requirements.
For further information about English language, please contact the Language Centre.
How and when you pay tuition fees depends on where you’re from: see Tuition fees for details. If you’re from outside the EU, please see International students for more information.
We offer a wide range of scholarships to our undergraduates, including both home/EU and international students. The University is committed to supporting students and rewarding academic excellence. That’s why we’ve invested more than £1m in additional scholarship funding over the last year.
For a full list of scholarships including eligibility criteria and how to apply, please see: