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.
You can study Comparative Literature alongside a whole range of other subjects and you may want to consider studying it with a foreign language.
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.
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. An optional pathway involves the study of heroism in Russian and Central European cultures.
In the second year the theme of frontiers will focus on the depiction of various forms of discovery and borders: geographic, scientific, psychological, gender-oriented 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. There is also the opportunity to explore the theme of frontiers in Slavonic cinema.
You will study two other subjects alongside Comparative Literature in years 1 and 2: see Flexibe degrees.
Years 3 and 4
If you progress to Honours (years 3 and 4) Comparative Literature may only be taken as a Joint Honours degree, meaning that you will also study another subject.
In your Honours years you will take courses that deepen your knowledge and understanding of literary and cultural theories and you will read texts from an intercultural perspective. In addition to this, you will learn how to reflect critically upon the different approaches you take to texts. You will also gain an awareness of issues of language and translation as they relate to the reading of texts from different cultures.
Our international links
Our Comparative Literature students have studied abroad at universities in Europe and the USA for a semester or longer.
Academic entry requirements
for entry in 2018
- Standard academic entry requirements: AAB.
- Minimum academic entry requirements: BBB.
- Other mandatory requirements: One A-level arts, humanities or language subject.
- Standard academic entry requirements: S5 entry requirement = AAAA or AAABB.
- Minimum academic entry requirements: S5 minimum requirement = ABBB. S5 & S6 cumulative requirement = AAAAAB.
- Other mandatory requirements: Higher English AND a Higher humanities OR language subject at grade A/B or B/A.
We adjust these entry requirements for eligible applicants, from AABB at S5/S6, based upon completion of a pre-entry programme. For pre-entry programme eligibility and adjusted grade requirements, see Access Glasgow.
Higher applicants to Arts MA degrees must attain, or have attained, grades A/B or B/A at Higher in English Higher and another humanities/language/social science Higher subject at their first sitting to have their application considered. The accepted humanities/languages/social science Higher subjects are listed below:
- Business Management
- Classical studies
- English for Speakers of Other Languages
- Modern Studies
- Religious Education
- Religious Moral and Philosophical Studies
- Standard academic entry requirements: 36 points.
- Minimum academic entry requirements: 34 points.
- Other mandatory requirements: Must include three HL subjects at 6,6,5 including English AND a humanities subject (or language). While HL6 is preferred for English and Humanities/Language subjects, SL6 will be considered for ONE of the subjects.
Typical entry requirements for European qualifications: Arts European Requirements [pdf]
A-level and IB applicants can expect offers to be between the minimum and standard entry requirements depending on demand for places on the degree.
Please note: all A-Level, International Baccalaureate, and other EU entry requirements must be achieved in first sitting.
Glasgow International College
International students with academic qualifications below those required should contact our partner institution, Glasgow International College, who offer a range of foundation certificates.
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*: 90; no sub-test less than: Reading: 20; Listening: 19; Speaking: 19; Writing: 23
- CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
- CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
- PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
- IGCSE: English language: B minimum
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests
* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.
For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years for admission to this programme.
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit 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 School of Modern Languages and Cultures 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:
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 see School of Modern Languages and Cultures: English for Academic Study.
Our graduates have gone on to pursue rewarding careers in the media, teaching (both at home and abroad), journalism, tourism, translating and interpreting, the civil service, as well as business, commerce and marketing.
When applying you will need to know the UCAS code for the subject or subject-combination that you wish to apply to:
Comparative Literature/Business & Management: QN22
Comparative Literature/Central & East European Studies: RQ28
Comparative Literature/Classics: QQF8
Comparative Literature/Economics: LQC2
Comparative Literature/English Language: QQF3
Comparative Literature/English Literature: Q290
Comparative Literature/Film & Television Studies: PQ32
Comparative Literature/French: QRF1
Comparative Literature/German: QRF2
Comparative Literature/History: QVF1
Comparative Literature/History of Art: QVF3
Comparative Literature/Italian: QRF3
Comparative Literature/Music: QWF3
Comparative Literature/Philosophy: QVF5
Comparative Literature/Russian: RQT2
Comparative Literature/Scottish Literature: Q291
Comparative Literature/Theatre Studies: QWF4
Gaelic/Comparative Literature: QQ5F
Spanish/Comparative Literature: RQ42
Theology & Religious Studies/Comparative Literature: VQ62
Comparative Literature is only taken as a Joint Honours degree.
How and when you pay tuition fees depends on where you’re from: see Tuition fees for details.
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 in recent years.
For a full list of scholarships including eligibility criteria and how to apply, please see:
The deadlines for applications to Medicine, Vet Medicine and Dentistry is 15 October each year. The deadline for applications to all other degree programmes is 15 January each year.
The University of Glasgow does not usually accept any applications after these UCAS deadlines. It is the applicants' responsibility to ensure the accuracy of their application prior to submission, and requests from applicants to correct erroneous application content, change degree programme or change college of entry, will not be accepted after these UCAS deadlines. This policy is in place to ensure fairness and consistency to all applicants, and no exceptions will be made.
- 15 October: if including Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or applying to Oxford or Cambridge
- 15 January: all other UK/EU applicants (unless otherwise stated on the UCAS website)
- 30 June: international (non-EU) students.
Apply at www.ucas.com or through your school or college.
Contact UCAS on 0871 468 0468.
UCAS tariff points
The University does not frame its offers in terms of UCAS tariff points.
How soon will I receive a decision?
We will usually respond before the end of March.
If your qualifications meet our requirements and we believe you could benefit from study at Glasgow, you will receive an unconditional offer.
If you haven’t yet gained the necessary passes for entry to your chosen subject(s), we may look at the qualifications you are taking when you apply and make you a conditional offer.
Will I be interviewed?
An interview will be part of the selection process for: Community Development, Dentistry, History of Art & Art-world Practice, Medicine, Music, Nursing, Teaching, and Veterinary Medicine & Surgery. You may also be interviewed if you’re applying for entry into Year 2 in any subject.
Is deferred entry available?
For Dentistry, Nursing and Veterinary Medicine programmes we are unable to consider applications for deferred entry. In other cases deferring may be possible but it’s not granted automatically.
Transfers from another University to the University of Glasgow will only be considered under the following circumstances:
- The applicant has a genuine personal circumstance (illness, bereavement or other family situation) which requires the student to move back to their home town to be closer to family; AND
- The applicant would have met the University of Glasgow entrance requirements at the time he/she went to the other institution. In exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted if he/she was marginally below the University of Glasgow entrance requirements, and they have performed above average at the other institution.
We want to help talented applicants from all backgrounds to study at Glasgow. See our range of widening access pre-entry programmes at Widening Participation.
British Sign Language
UCAS has launched seven new videos using British Sign Language, including details on how to apply and a Parents' Guide.
Apply at www.ucas.com or through your school or college.
Contact UCAS on 0871 468 0468.