Utrecht University

Comparative Literary Studies, M.A.

  • Application Deadline
  • 24 months
  • English
Utrecht's University Master of Arts in Comparative Literary Studies is distinguished by its comparative approach and its concern with the relations between literature and other forms of culture. The main focus is on literature written in West-European languages in the modern period, but attention is also paid to world literature in translation.


Utrecht's University Master of Arts in Comparative Literary Studies involves the transnational study of literature from a theoretically informed perspective. 

This Research Master’s programme from Utrecht University offers you an excellent balance between linguistic variety and general theoretical perspectives on the nature of literature, its past and its future. As a student in this programme, you will learn to analyse the ways in which literature interacts with (and reflects on) its cultural and social environment against the background of globalisation and new media technologies.

A Comparative Approach

The ‘comparative’ approach characteristic for Utrecht is understood to involve comparison between literary phenomena along three principal axes:

  • transculturality (how does literature reflect and negotiate cultural differences and operate across national borders?)
  • mediality (how does literature work as a medium and relate to other forms of cultural and knowledge production? how are literary phenomena adapted to other media? )
  • memory (how do stories and cultural forms survive across generations and how are they transformed across time?)
  • After Graduation

    As a graduate of this programme, you will have:
    • Advanced knowledge of literary studies, particularly in the literary cultures of the modern period.
    • Thorough knowledge in a specialism within the field or at the interface with another field.
    • The academic skills to independently identify, formulate, analyse, and suggest possible solutions to theoretical and conceptual problems in the field of literary studies.
    • The academic skills to conduct original research in the field of literary studies.
    • The ability to communicate your literary research findings in a manner that meets the standards of this discipline.
    • The skills to apply your knowledge in a professional academic manner.
    • The qualifications to obtain a career as a literary researcher or to acquire a PhD position in this field.

    Comparative Literary Studies prepares you for a range of different careers that require advanced academic skills along with expertise in the field of literature and knowledge of the contemporary media landscape. Graduates of the programme are fully equipped to pursue a Phd in the international field of literary studies. Your training also makes you equipped to pursue alternative career paths requiring advanced skills in analysing and managing textual information or specific knowledge of literature in an international context (publishing, cultural and educational policy, heritage institutions). Graduates who have specialised in one language area may also find employment in international organisations.


    Accredited by the NVAO - Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders.

    Programme Structure

    Courses included:

    • Core Theories And Current Debates
    • Humanities Today
    • Thinking Literature: Creative Forms Of Knowledge
    • Cultural Memory And Citizenship
    • Literature Across Cultures: Transculturality And New Comparativism
    • Media Materialities
    • Distant Reading. Digital Tools And Textual Analysis
    • Aesthetics of the Posthuman
    • Ecologies of Curation
    • Piety and Violence
    • Urban Interfaces
    • Corporeal Literacy
    • Rules of Play
    For more information please visit the programme website.

    Detailed Programme Facts

    English Language Requirements

    You only need to take one of these language tests:

    • Minimum required score:


      The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

      Book IELTS
    • Minimum required score (Grade B):


      The CAE test – or the Cambridge Advanced English – is an exam for applicants who wish to get a Certificate in Advanced English. To receive the Advanced certificate, test-takers must score between 142 and 210 on the Cambridge English: Advanced test. Read more about CAE.

      Note: degree programmes and applications may require a more specific minimum score for admission.

    • Minimum required score:


      The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).

    Academic Requirements

    Besides TOEFL, IELTS and CAE, also Cambridge Proficiency in English (CPE - at least Grade C) is accepted as a proof of English Proficiency.

    You will be considered for admission to the Research Master’s programme in Comparative Literary Studies if you have a Bachelor’s degree from a Dutch university (or foreign equivalent) and can demonstrate the following knowledge, insight, and skills:

    • Familiarity with the academic study of culture, shown by the fact that you have taken 45 EC of relevant courses in your Bachelor, including at least 30 EC relating to literature.
    • Knowledge of the methods and theories applied in the study of culture in general, and literature in particular (as acquired in specific courses taken in your Bachelor).
    • An excellent level of academic achievement (as shown in your grades).
    • Intellectual curiosity and highly developed analytical skills (as demonstrated in your letter of motivation and writing sample).
    • Strong motivation to pursue further training in literary research from a comparative perspective (as demonstrated in your letter of motivation).
    • You are able to express yourself in proficient English, both orally and in written text, as evidenced by your motivation letter and/or writing sample, and the interview that is part of the selection procedure.

    Tuition Fee

    • International Applies to you

      15575 EUR/year
      Tuition Fee
      Based on the original amount of 15575 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
    • EU/EEA Applies to you

      2060 EUR/year
      Tuition Fee
      Based on the original amount of 2060 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
    We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

    For more information about tuition fees and exemptions have a look at the programme website.

    Living costs for Utrecht

    • 900 - 1450 EUR/month
      Living Costs

    The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


    Scholarships, fellowships, and grants offered by Utrecht University, the Dutch government, and other organisations can help fund your studies at the university.  You can begin your search for funding by reviewing the list below, which contains some of the scholarships and loans available to international students:

    • Utrecht Excellence Scholarships
    • Holland Scholarships
    • Orange Tulip Scholarships
    • Canadian student loans
    • Fulbright / NAF
    • US Federal Loans
    • Erasmus+ Master loans

    StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

    The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

    Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, StudyPortals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.