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Home > Courses > Courses for 2017 > Undergraduate > Comparative Literature and Culture and Drama
More in this section Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures

Comparative Literature and Culture and Drama BA

UCAS code Q2W4
Year of entry 2017
View 2018 entry »
Course Length
3 years full time
Department Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures »
Drama and Theatre »


A Joint Honours in Comparative Literature and Culture, and Drama allows you to combine the study of a wide spectrum of international literature and culture alongside drama and theatre, offering a broad eduction in literature, arts and culture. Choosing to study these complementary subjects at Royal Holloway means you will develop as a culturally-aware, creative and adaptable thinker with impressive communication and presentation skills.

Comparative Literature and Culture (CLC) offers you the opportunity to study global literature as well as to explore film, philosophy and visual arts. CLC combines a fascinating breadth of material with a focus on contexts – places, periods, and genres – to explore how key cultural shifts transform how we see, represent, and make sense of our changing world. CLC at Royal Holloway is a unique and intellectually stimulating degree which will develop you as a culturally-aware, creative and adaptable thinker.

We’ve developed this degree so that you can tailor it to suit your own evolving interests, choosing from our exceptionally wide range of fascinating options, ranging across continents and centuries, from antiquity to the present day, novels and poetry to philosophy, cinema and art. We will read, watch, and compare from Ancient Greece to contemporary New York, from Cuba to Korea, from epics to crime fiction, and from tragedy to the avant-garde. CLC enables you to study texts originally written in many languages, all translated into English.

Choosing to study Drama at Royal Holloway will put you at the centre of one of the largest and most influential Drama and Theatre departments in the world. You'll create performances, analyse texts, and bring a range of critical ideas to bear on both.  On this course the text and the body, thinking and doing, work together. There's no barrier between theory and practice: theory helps you understand and make the most of practice, while practice sheds light on theory. By moving between the two, you'll find your place as an informed theatre-maker, and by studying a variety of practices, by yourself and with others, you'll get knowledge of theindustry as a whole, and learn how your interests could fit into the bigger picture.

We are top-rated for teaching and research, with a campus community recognised for its creativity (rated 14th in the world, and 6th in the UK, for Performing Arts in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016). Our staff cover a huge range of theatre and performance studies, but we're particularly strong in contemporary British theatre, international and intercultural performance, theatre history, dance and physical theatre, and contemporary performance practices.

Core modules

Year 1

Comparative Literature and Culture: International Film 1 - Contexts and Practices

This module will introduce you to some key tenets of film theory and apply them to a selection of important pre- and post-war European and international films. It will familiarise you with the analysis of aspects of film style, genre and national and international contexts. The set films on the module will include canonical works from a century of cinema history, by filmmakers such as Joseph von Sternberg, Alfred Hitchcock and Pedro Almodovar, and significant examples of technique and style.

Comparative Literature and Culture: Reading Texts - Criticism for Comparative Literature

This module will introduce you to the theory and practices of textual analysis and comparative textual analysis as well as to the major debates about the theory and practice of comparative literature in a transnational context. You will be given extracts from a variety of historically, geographically, culturally, and stylistically diverse texts and introduced to a range of analytical techniques and approaches. In addition to developing close reading skills and acquainting yourself with key examples of classic and contemporary literature from across the world, you will encounter important critical issues, first in connection with practices of reading more broadly, and secondly, in relation to the history and practice of comparatism. All passages from non-English-language works will be given in English translation.

Comparative Literature and Culture: Tales of the City - Introduction to Thematic Analysis

This module will introduce you to a range of literary and filmic texts depicting different aspects of the city. The focus on a common thematic ground allows you to develop skills of comparison and analysis, while encouraging you to reflect on wider questions of urban space, public and private spheres, and alterity. The works to be studied on the city explicitly engage with three periods and aspects of the modern city: early twentieth-century modernity; post-war industrialisation and urbanisation; and the contemporary transnational metropolis and multiculturalism. Themes that run through the module include: money/poverty, technology, migration, crime, gender and sexuality.

Comparative Literature and Culture: Introduction to Literary Genre - Tragedy

Murder, passion, ambition, cruelty, suicide, jealousy, anguish: over the centuries, tragedy has explored the extremes of human experience and emotion. This module introduces you to a range of tragedies from ancient Greece onwards, exploring how dramatists have combined themes, characters, plot, stagecraft and emotion to produce some of the most compelling, enduring and powerful literary works we know.

The core modules in Drama and Theatre are:

Theatre and Performance Making

You will encounter a range of creative methods for work-shopping practice, and produce a 20-minute performance as a response to one company.

Theatre and Culture

This module looks at the ways in which theatre reflects, intervenes and questions the culture around it. It will expand your horizons and introduce you to a range of unfamiliar practices.

Year 2

Comparative Literature and Culture: Histories of Representation

Comparing short stories from different periods and geographical areas is a great way of exploring how literature evolves structurally and thematically in response to different ideas and contexts. In this module you will read short stories - and look at examples of visual art - from the eighteenth century to the present day to discover what structural and symbolic elements characterize major movements of Western art, including the Enlightenment, Romanticism, Realism, Modernism and Postmodernism. All non-English-language texts are in English translation.

Comparative Literature and Culture: Critical and Comparative Approaches

The module takes the form of a chronological account of the major trends and currents in post-war western literary and critical theory. It will show in clear, accessible terms, how critical and literary theory has evolved, from an essentially universalist notion of the author/work/critic relation to one informed by semiology, philosophy, psychoanalysis, questions of sexuality and gender, race, and the history of post-colonialism. The set text includes examples of different types of theory applied to literary texts, and further case-studies will be supplied by individual tutors. You will be encouraged to attempt different theoretical readings of chosen literary material through coursework and group presentations at the end of the module.

The core modules in Drama and Theatre are:

Theatre and Performance Making 2

You will choose an option that enables you to focus on a particular creative skill, such as acting for camera, dance, playwriting, physical theatre, site-based performance or scenography.

Theatre and Culture 2

You will choose an option that enables you to consider the ways in which theatre and culture reflect and resist each other within a particular context, including feminism, popular theatre, theatre for young audiences, dancing bodies and global culture.

Year 3

All modules are optional

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

French: The Visual Image in French Culture and Society


French: Introduction to French Literature - Critical Skills


German: German History and Culture


Spanish: Passion and Betrayal on the Spanish Stage


Spanish: Culture and Identity in Latin America


Spanish: Visualising Cuba - Text, Image and Representation


Italian: Fascist Italy


Modern Languages: Critical Analysis for Modern Linguists


Modern Languages: International Film 1 - Contexts and Practices


Modern Languages: Visual Arts 1 - An Introduction to Visual Media


Year 2

Comparative Literature and Culture: International Film 2 - Readings and Representations
Comparative Literature and Culture: A Special Theme in the Novel - Transgression
Comparative Literature and Culture: Visual Arts 2 - Genres and Movements
Comparative Literature and Culture: Deviance, Defiance and Disorder in Early Modern Spanish and French Literature
Comparative Literature and Culture: Gender and Clothing in Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture

Optional modules in Drama and Theatre include:

Theatre and Text 2


Theatre and Ideas 2


Year 3

Comparative Literature and Culture: Arthurian Romance - Chrétien de Troyes
Comparative Literature and Culture: Image, Identity and Consumer Culture in Post-War Fiction and Film
Comparative Literature and Culture: Text and Image in France - from Cubism to the Present
Comparative Literature and Culture: Ethics and Violence - Murder, Suicide and Genocide in Literature and Film
Comparative Literature and Culture: Wanton Women - Artists and Writers of the French Avant-Garde
Comparative Literature and Culture: Blindness and Vision in French Culture
Comparative Literature and Culture: Doubles, Devils, and Deadly Spiders - 19th-Century German Gothic Literature
Comparative Literature and Culture: Narrative and Identity - The German Novel from the 18th to the 21st Century
Comparative Literature and Culture: Dream Factories - Recent German Film
Comparative Literature and Culture: Dante - Divine Comedy 2
Comparative Literature and Culture: Of Women, Knights, Weapons and Loves - the Italian Chivalric Tradition
Comparative Literature and Culture: Shooting History - Dictatorship, Terror and Crime in Italian Film
Comparative Literature and Culture: Italian Fashion and Design
Comparative Literature and Culture: The Postmodern In Italian Literature - Pioneers, Practitioners and Critics
Comparative Literature and Culture: From Aestheticism to the Avant-Garde
Comparative Literature and Culture: The Gothic Mode in Spanish and English Fiction
Comparative Literature and Culture: Transnationalism, Diaspora and Globalisation in Contemporary Film
Comparative Literature and Culture: Humans and Other Animals in Twenty-First Century Fiction and Thought
Comparative Literature and Culture: Journeys of Discovery in Twentieth Century Spanish American Literature
Comparative Literature and Culture: Devotion, Deceit, Desire - Literature of the Spanish Golden Age
Comparative Literature and Culture: Horror Cinema in the Hispanic World
Comparative Literature and Culture: Dissertation

Optional modules in Drama and Theatre include:

Methods and Processes


Culture and Creativity


Asylum Seekers in the 21st Century - Theatre, Film and Activism


Love, Gender and Sexuality on Stage and Screen


Race Relations in Theatre, Film and Television




National and Folk Dance at the Boundaries


Modern European Directors


Research Seminar - Naturalist Theatre and Its Audiences


Research Seminar - Black British Playwriting


Research Seminar - Theatre & Globalization


The Birth of Experimental Theatre


A Violent Act - Women, Performance and Historiography


Contemporary British Theatre - Politics and Philosophy


Spectacle and Politics in International Performance


Race Relations in Theatre, Film and Television


Medicine and the Body in Performance


Final Year Project - Dissertation


Final Year Project - Group Performance


Final Year Project - Special Study


In Comparative Literature and Culture, you'll be taught through a combination of lectures and small seminar groups, where you'll be able to try out new ideas by giving presentations and taking part in lively discussions. You'll have access to online resources and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle, for your own study time. You'll be assessed in different ways, from online comprehension tests and individual and group presentations, to coursework and examinations.

Our drama courses are 50% critical work and 50% creative/practical work. For most course units in Drama, you'll be assessed on two pieces of coursework, one of which is usually an academic essay or a research presentation, and the other an assignment like a performance or installation. You'll always hear back from us on how you've done.

• You'll work individually and as part of a team. 

• You'll get practical skills working on model box set design, lighting design, acting, directing and stage management tasks, physical theatre and movement work, and work with schools and other community groups.

• You'll get more work-related skills in research, thinking and communication (written and verbal).

In your first year, you'll take a study skills course to equip you with the writing skills you'll need to make your degree count. Though the course doesn't count towards your final degree, you'll need to take it to pass on to your second year. In your final year you'll write a research-led dissertation.

Typical offers

Typical offers

The offer given will take into consideration:

  • subjects taken at A level
  • the educational context in which academic achievements have been gained
  • whether the Extended Project Qualification is being taken
Required/preferred subjects

At least five GCSE passes at grades A* to C, including Maths and English

Preferred subjects:

Drama & Theatre Studies, English Literature, English Language and Literature

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate

6,5,5 at Higher Level, including at least 5 at Higher Level in an essay-based subject with a minimum of 32 points overall.

BTEC Extended Diploma

Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in relevant subject.

BTEC National Extended Diploma

Distinction, Distinction in relevant subject plus one A level grade B in an essay based subject.

BTEC National Extended Certificate

Distinction plus A Level grades B, B, including B in an essay-based subject.

Welsh Baccalaureate

A non-subject specified A Level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate

Scottish Advanced Highers

AB including an essay-based subject plus Higher Level requirements.

Scottish Highers

AABBB plus Advanced Higher Level requirements.

Irish Leaving Certificate

H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level including an essay based subject at Higher Level.

Access to Higher Education Diploma

Pass with at least 30 level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit. The Access to Higher Education Diploma is only acceptable if you've had a considerable break from education.

Other UK qualifications

Please select your UK qualification from the drop-down list below

Please select a qualification

Please select a qualification

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language

IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in each remaining subscore. For equivalencies please see here.

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

On completion of your Comparative Literature and Culture and Drama degree at Royal Holloway you will have proven analytical skills and be an adaptable thinker with impressive communication and leadership skills. Having made the most of the performance opportunities, you’ll have considerable experience, be confident in performance situations and have technical, intellectual, imaginative, and practical skills.  All of these skills and the experience gained will appeal to future employers.

Your degree not only gives you the directly relevant knowledge to enter the creative, media and arts sectors, but also a range of valuable transferable skills, thereby lending itself to roles in a diverse range of careers. You may also choose to continue your studies by means of a postgraduate degree.

We’re committed to helping you enhance your employment and prepare for the choices ahead.  Some of the tailored opportunities you are encourage to take up include work placements, specialise training workshops, networking events and our annual festival of culture.  Our industry links will help you to pursue work experience with theatres and creative arts agencies.

  • Recent Comparative Literature and Culture graduates have launched careers in diverse roles as film, content writing, photographic editorial, journalism, sales and marketing, teaching, publishing and retail buying.
  • Recent graduates in the Department of Drama & Theatre have gone into careers in acting, writing, broadcasting (including at the BBC), literary agency, arts management, sound design, marketing/PR, teaching and community theatre work, as well as postgraduate study in different fields. Lots of our graduates also start their own performing arts companies. 

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year 2017/18**: £15,600

Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs with studying this course greater than £50 per item. It is a requirement to purchase a pair of safety boots in the first year, for which a range of cost options are available. Ticket costs for mandatory theatre trips are capped at £10.

How do I pay for it? Find out more.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year. This amount is subject to the UK Parliament approving a change to fee and loan regulations that has been proposed by the UK Government. In the future, should the proposed changes to fee and loan regulations allow it, Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for UK and EU nationals annually. If relevant UK legislation continues to permit it, Royal Holloway will maintain parity between the tuition fees charged to UK and EU students for the duration of their degree studies.

**Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for international fee paying students annually. Tuition fees are unlikely to rise more than 5 per cent each year. For further information on tuition fees please see Royal Holloway’s Terms & Conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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