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Comparative Literature & Cultural Studies

The MA in Comparative Literature and Cultural offers students the opportunity to engage in the comparative study of a range of world literatures and cultural practices in a combination that is currently unique in Ireland. It aims to foster and develop critical inquiry into the function and social resonance of literature, art and culture (including popular culture). Successful completion of the course will provide you with an internationally recognised professional qualification, widely applicable research and communications skills, and a comprehensive understanding of current issues and debates in the comparative study of literature and culture.

Aims and objectives:
- To broaden and deepen students' knowledge of world literatures and cultural practices and their cultural, political and historical contexts

- To familiarise students with developments and current debates in the comparative study of literary and cultural practices

- To train students to carry out independent research in the field of comparative literary and cultural studies and to enhance their skills in critical analysis

- To enhance students' communication skills, in particular to deliver oral reports and to write well-informed essays with clarity and grace

- To enhance students' career opportunities, including the provision of the knowledge and skills required to proceed to doctoral degree studies

Programme Content
The MA consists of core and optional modules and requires the submission of a dissertation. Full-time students complete six taught modules of 9 ECTS credits each, two 3-ECTS credit modules (a research methodology module and a thesis writing module), and a dissertation in one year. They will take four modules in the first semester and four in the second. Part-time students normally take two modules in a semester as they work over a two-year course of study.

The programme combines lectures, seminars, guided reading, individual consultation with relevant lecturers, essays, guest lectures, student seminar presentations and individual library-based research. Students also undertake a research dissertation under the guidance of a supervisor on a topic of their choice in the area of comparative literature and cultural studies (ca 15,000 words, Summer Semester)

Entry requirements

A primary degree (with first or second class honours) (Level 8 -QQI) in an appropriate discipline e.g. Languages, Literature, Cultural Studies, European Studies, Media & Communication Studies etc. Applicants with an approved equivalent qualification will be considered. Good proficiency in English is required.

What to Include with your Application
•Qualification transcripts and certificates
•English language qualification if English is not your first language
•Certified English translations of your transcripts/certificates where the originals are in a language other than English.
•A copy of your birth certificate (long document)
•Personal Statement
•Two academic references

English Language Requirements
Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of either prior successful completion of a degree qualification taught through the medium of English or meet one of the criteria below (no longer than two years prior to application):

Acceptable English Language qualifications include the following:
•Matriculation examinations from European countries where English is presented as a subject and an acceptable level is achieved
•Irish Leaving Certificate English –Ordinary Level Grade D or above
•TOEFL – 580 (paper based) or 90 (internet based)
•IELTS – Minimum score of 6.5* with no less than 6 in any one component.
•English Test for English and Academic Purposes (ETAPP) – Grade C1
•GCE ‘O’ level English Language/GCSE English Language – Grade C or above
•University of Cambridge ESOL –Certificate of Proficiency in English - Grade C / Certificate in Advanced English Grade A
•GCE Examination Boards – Oxford Delegacy of Local Examinations – Grade C / Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate – School Certificate Pass 1-6 / University of London Entrance and School Examinations Council – School Certificate Pass 1-6

Results in examinations other than those listed above may also be accepted as meeting our English language requirements. Contact the International Education Division for advice.


1 year full time.

Careers or further progression

Graduate Profile
This MA equips students with strong communicative, analytical, organisational and research skills, which are transferable to a range of careers. Graduates have found employment in areas such as journalism, broadcast and electronic media, tourism, translation, publishing, education, culture and arts administration, business and politics. The programme also provides a sound basis for doctoral research.

Further enquiries

Course Director
Dr Gisela Holfter
Tel: +353 (0) 61 202395

Subjects taught

Full-time students complete six taught modules, including a research methodology module, and a dissertation in one year. They will take four modules in the first semester and two in the second. Part-time students normally take two modules in a semester as they work over a two-year course of study. Not all electives may be offered each year or each semester.

Autumn Semester
•CU6051 Literary and Cultural Theory (9 credits)
•CU6031 Comparative Literature: Cultural Constructions of the Past (9 credits)
•RM6021 Research Methodologies in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies (3 credits)
Electives – choose one of the following:
CU6011 Language and Culture (9 credits)
•CU6041 Literature of Migration (9 credits)
•SO6021 Theoretical Approaches to Gender, Culture and Society 1 (9 credits)
•EH6031 Literature, Film and Human Rights (9 credits)
•FR5161 The Question of the Universal in Modern and Contemporary Literature of French Expression (9 credits)**
•GE6021 Irish-German Cultural Connections (9 credits)**
•GE6001 German Culture in Europe I: Transcultural Theory and Textual Practice (9 credits)**
•SP6021 Cultural Transitions: Literature and Film in Spain 1970s- 1990s (9 credits)**
•At NUI Galway: Gendered Landscapes***
•At NUI Galway: Self Referentiality in Postmodern Media ***

30 credits

Spring Semester
•CU6032 Thesis Writing: Language, Literary and Cultural Studies (3 credits)
•CU6002 Textual Constructions of Cultural Identity (9 credits)
•CU6012 Utopian Theory and Texts (9 credits)
•Electives – choose one of the following:
CU6021 Culture and the Market (9 credits)
•EH6042 Feminist Literary Theory (9 credits)
•EH6022 Postcolonial Theory and Literature (9 credits)
•EH6062 Irish Americas in Literature and Culture (9 credits)
•FR5152 Modern French Language Literary and Cultural Production (9 credits)**
•GE6002 German Culture in Europe 2: German Literature in a Comparative European Context [MIC] (9 credits)**
•SP6022 The Culture of Memory in Spain and Latin America: Representing Horror (9 credits)**

At NUI Galway: From Division to Unification: Literary Texts and their Political Contexts***

At NUI Galway: Contemporary Literary Genres***

30 credits

Summer Semester
CU6003/CU6022: Research dissertation in the area of comparative literature and comparative cultural studies (ca 15,000 words; 30 credits)

*NB: Not all electives may be offered each year or each semester.

**To take this elective module students will need to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Course Director and the relevant module leader that they have sufficient French / German / Spanish language skills as relevant

*** These electives are offered in Galway as part of the Link-to-Learn agreement between UL and NUI Galway. They are part of the MA International Contemporary Literatures and Media at NUI Galway. For further information contact the course director, Dr Marieke Krajenbrink


Comparative studies are at the heart of international contemporary literature and cultural practices: Exploring the dynamics of cultural representations in today’s world, looking beyond national borders.

Application date

Taught Programmes - Application Process
All applicants apply through the online application system by choosing a programme from one of the five faculties. If Non-EU applicants wish to contact the International Education Division first before completing an online application, they can do by filling out the International Education Division Enquiry Form. For more information visit the International Office website.

International Office:
Tel: +353 61 202414
Fax: +353 61 213062

Visit the International Office website

What to include (upload) with your application
•Certified results for all examinations mentioned on your application form and/or confirmation of the award of your qualification(s).
•Evidence of English language proficiency.
•Certified translations of your award and transcripts if they are not in English
•A copy of your birth certificate or passport

Please note that certain programmes request additional documentation such as personal statements and/or references. Please check the programme entry requirements to ensure you have included the required information.

What happens after I apply?
Once you submit your application online, you will receive an email acknowledgement. It is important that you upload all your documents at the time of application as you will not be able to upload these at a later stage. If you do not have your documents at the time of application, you will need to mail them to the Postgraduate Admissions Office once they become available.
Your application will then be passed to the Course Director who will decide whether or not to offer you a place. Some programmes require interviews and you will be notified of the date, time and venue.

Decision Letter
You will receive one of the following letters from the Postgraduate Admissions Office:
•An unconditional offer. You satisfy all of the academic conditions required and we are offering you a place.
•A conditional offer. You do not yet satisfy the academic conditions required before entry but you propose to do so. The conditions are listed in the offer letter and may include English language tests as well as degree results.
•Letter of regret. We are unable to offer you a place.

Please note that a decision is authoritative and official only if it has been sent in writing from the Postgraduate Admissions Office.

Accepting a place at the University of Limerick
To accept your offer you must pay your acceptance deposit and send in the course acceptance form, stamped by the bank, to the Postgraduate Admissions Office. On receipt of this acceptance form/deposit, the Postgraduate Admissions Office will change the status of your application to Firmly Accepted. You will receive an orientation pack in August. The orientation pack will provide you with full details of orientation and enrolment.

Deferring your offer
You cannot defer a place on a taught postgraduate programme without the permission of the Course Director. If you are offered a deferral, you will receive a letter from the Postgraduate Admissions Office confirming that a deferral has been granted. You should then contact the Postgraduate Admissions Office before March of the following year to confirm that you will be accepting your place. If you are not offered a deferral, then you must re-apply for the programme the following academic year.

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Graduate School
Foundation Building
University of Limerick
Tel: +353 61 234377
Fax: +353 61 233287

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: 04/Sep/2017.

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