This multidisciplinary, flexible course will give you a thorough grounding in comparative literature and cultural studies in the context of modern languages. It also allows you to explore the cultures of a variety of language-speaking areas: French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Brazilian, and Spanish and Latin American. You can take a broadly comparative pathway through the degree or choose to engage with one or more specific language-speaking areas.

The course brings together a team of renowned academic experts in cultural studies, visual studies, linguistics, comparative literature and cultures, history and thought. We will help you steer a pathway through the programme that reflects your specific interests, career and personal ambitions, and language knowledge. You will be able to choose whether you study texts in the original language(s) or in English translation; if you work in the original language(s) this will be reflected in the final degree title (eg MA French and Spanish).

If you are interested in pursuing further research, we offer an associated MPhil/PhD Comparative Literature.

Study Details:

MA 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Module Details:


  • Studying Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies in Modern Languages


  • Research Skills Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies (Modern Languages) Part 3
  • Research Skills Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies (Modern Languages) Parts 1 & 2


  • Imagining the Nation
  • Interrogating the Self
  • Memory and History


  • Dissertation MA Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies (Modern Languages)


In order to be awarded a degree that reflects a specialisation, assessment for at least 90 credits of the degree must be related to the area reflected in the degree title. Examples of degree titles include:

  • MA French and German Studies
  • MA German and Japanese Studies
  • MA Italian and Spanish and Latin American Studies
  • MA Japanese and Italian Studies
  • MA Portuguese and Brazilian Studies
  • MA Spanish and Latin American Studies.

Student Destinations

Graduates go in to careers in international organisations or businesses, translating and teaching, research and journalism. Possible professions include teacher, researcher, journalist, or translator. This degree may also be useful in becoming an academic librarian, writer, arts administrator, or advertising copywriter.


Part-time home/EU students: £4175 pa Full-time home/EU students: £8350 pa Part-time international students: £7600 pa Full-time international students: £15200 pa

Entry Requirements

Our standard postgraduate entry requirement is a second-class honours degree (2:2 or above) from a UK university, or an equivalent international qualification.

We will review every postgraduate application to Birkbeck on its individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

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