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Comparative Literature and Culture and Philosophy

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  1. Royal Holloway's institution code: R72
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    • Comparative Literature and Culture and Philosophy BA - QV25
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Comparative Literature and Culture and Philosophy

BA

Key information

Duration: 3 years full time

UCAS code: QV25

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

The course

Comparative Literature and Culture and Philosophy (BA)

This Joint Honours course enables you to study Comparative Literature and Culture and Philosophy in equal parts. It willl provide you with the opportunity to combine the study of global literature, film and art, with philosophy, developing you as a culturally-aware, creative and adaptable thinker, with impressive communication and presentation skills.

Comparative Literature and Culture offers you the opportunity to study 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.

You can choose from an exceptionally wide range of fascinating options, spanning continents and centuries, from antiquity to the present day, covering novels, poetry, philosophy, cinema and art. You will read, watch, and compare texts from Ancient Greece to contemporary New York, from Cuba to Korea, from epics to crime fiction, and from tragedy to the avant-garde. Comparative Literature and Culture also enables you to study a varety of foreign texts originally written in many languages, all translated into English.

At Royal Holloway we have a unique approach to Philosophy that looks beyond the narrow confines of the Anglo-American analytic or the European tradition of philosophy focus on both traditions, their relationship and connections between them. The result has been the creation of a truly interdisciplinary and collaborative course that brings together academic staff from departments across the university.

With the opportunity to examine (amongst other things) the mind and consciousness, aesthetics and morals, the self and others, the range of subjects available to Philosophy students at Royal Holloway guarantees that there will be something on offer that really engages you during your time with us.

You will be taught by world-class experts who genuinely want to get to know you. We create a supportive environment, often using group work so you can try out new ideas and participate in lively discussions. Throughout your studies, you will receive personal guidance to ensure your course is aligned to your strengths, interests and career plans. As part of our close-knit international community you will be able to get involved with an array of cultural initiatives that take place on campus, and make the most of being within easy reach of London and its many events and attractions.

  • Compare texts and philosophies from the ancient to the contemporary.
  • Tailor your studies to your own interests.
  • All Comparative Literature and Culture texts are translated into English.
  • Combine both subjects in the study of world philosophies.
  • Examine how diff erent philosophical traditions intersect.

From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

Core Modules

Year 1
  • This module introduces students to the theories and practices of textual analysis and comparative textual analysis as well as to the major debates about theories and practices of comparative literature in a transnational context. Students will read a small number of core literary texts - influential within comparatism and diverse in cultural, temporal and linguistic origin - alongside a range of historically, geographically, culturally, generically and stylistically varied textual extracts. The core literary texts will be read in their entirety, with particular attention to: the construction and interpretation of genre; transnationalism and translation; cultural and historical context; and questions of authorship, influence and canonicity.

  • The ‘new philosophy’ of the seventeenth century set the modern philosophical agenda by asking fundamental questions concerning knowledge and understanding and the relation between science and other human endeavours, which subsequently became central to the European Enlightenment. This module aims to familiarise you with the origins of empiricist and rationalist/idealist thought, focussing on the work of Descartes and Locke. The module will enable you to develop your close reading skills, and will give you the opportunity to see how arguments are developed across the length of philosophical texts.

  • Knowledge is often thought to be the highest achievement of rational creatures, the thing that distinguishes us from other animals and is the basis of our ability to predict and control our environment. Beginning with the most Platonic of questions—‘what is knowledge?’—this course introduces you to basic topics in contemporary epistemology. Among the questions it goes on to address are: why is knowledge valuable?; how do we acquire knowledge and how do we pass it on to others?; how do we become better knowers?; is there such a thing as collective knowledge?; do animals have knowledge?; is there such a thing as knowledge at all?

     

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of ancient philosophical ideas and the ways in which philosophical arguments are presented and analysed. You will look at the thought and significance of the principal ancient philosophers, from the Presocratics to Aristotle, and examine sample texts such as Plato's 'Laches' and the treatment of the virtue of courage in Aristotle, 'Nicomachean Ethics' 3.6-9.

You will also take one of the following:

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the formal study of arguments through the two basic systems of modern logic - sentential or propositional logic and predicate logic. You will learn how to present and analyse arguments formally, and look at the implications and uses of logical analysis by considering Bertrand Russell’s formalist solution to the problem of definite descriptions. You will also examine the the broader significance of findings in logic to philosophical inquiry.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the relationship between the mind and the brain. You will examine the key theories, from Descartes' dualist conception of the relationship between mind and body through to Chalmers's conception of consciousness as 'the hard problem' in the philosophy of mind. You will also consider some of the famous thought experiments in this area, including Descartes's and Laplace's demons, the Chinese Room and the China Brain, Mary and the black-and-white room, and the problem of zombie and bat consciousness.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the central problems and debates within moral philosophy and aesthetics. You will look at questions relating to both metaphysical and ethical relativism, including the ways we view our moral commitments within the world, how the individual is related to society, and the value and nature of the work of art. You will also examine approaches from the history of philosophy, including the Anglo-American tradition and recent European philosophy.

Year 2
  • 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 we 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. These are explored both individually and in comparison, developing skills in close reading and comparative critical analysis and the ability to recognize and contrast different features of fiction and to situate evolving literary aesthetics in their historical context.

  • This module provides an account of some of the major theoretical trends and currents which inform our thinking and practice of Comparative Literature and Culture. Reading canonical and contemporary texts alongside each other, students will ask questions such as: How should we understand and respond to art in the twenty-first century? Who counts as a subject and how should we understand racial, sexual and species difference? And, how should we conceptualise culture in a globalised world?

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the major debates in European and some Anglo-American philosophy. You will look at the key texts by eighteenth and nineteenth-century philosophers Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, examining the continuing significance of their ideas. You will consider the major epistemological, ethical and aesthetical issues their idea raise, and the problems associated with the notion of modernity. You will also analyse the importance of the role of history in modern philosophy via Hegel's influence.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of how the rationalist and empiricist traditions in philosophy influence contemporary thought in the philosophy of mind. You will look at the continuing relevance of the mind-body problem to the question of what it is to be a human being and consider the connections between the analytic and European traditions in philosophy with respect to language, subjectivity, and the phenomenology of experience. You will also examine the importance of consciousness to contemporary debates in philosophy, psychology and cognitive science.

Year 3

 

  • All modules are optional

Optional Modules

For more information on optional modules available as part of the CLC part of your course, please see the list here.

The course has a modular structure. You will take 120 credits’ worth of modules each year. Some course units are compulsory while others are elective thereby offering flexibility and choice.  

We use a range of assessment models to suit different learning styles, from online comprehension tests and individual and group presentations, to coursework and examinations. You will be expected to prepare material for lectures and seminars; you will also be able to try out new ideas by giving presentations and participating in lively discussions in a supportive environment. What is more, in your final year you will have the opportunity to write a research-led dissertation. 

You will also have your own Personal Advisor, an academic who helps you through your studies and guides you in tailoring your course. And when you arrive at Royal Holloway, you will take specially designed courses to help you develop the academic and writing skills that will benefit your university career and beyond.

A Levels: ABB-BBB

Required subjects:

  • At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9-4 including English and Mathematics.

Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required. For students who are from backgrounds or personal circumstances that mean they are generally less likely to go to university, you may be eligible for an alternative lower offer. Follow the link to learn more about our contextual offers.

T-levels

We accept T-levels for admission to our undergraduate courses, with the following grades regarded as equivalent to our standard A-level requirements:

  • AAA* – Distinction (A* on the core and distinction in the occupational specialism)
  • AAA – Distinction
  • BBB – Merit
  • CCC – Pass (C or above on the core)
  • DDD – Pass (D or E on the core)

Where a course specifies subject-specific requirements at A-level, T-level applicants are likely to be asked to offer this A-level alongside their T-level studies.

English language requirements

All teaching at Royal Holloway (apart from some language courses) is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.

The scores we require
  • IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
  • Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.

Country-specific requirements

For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here.

Undergraduate preparation programme

For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, for this undergraduate degree, the Royal Holloway International Study Centre offers an International Foundation Year programme designed to develop your academic and English language skills.

Upon successful completion, you can progress to this degree at Royal Holloway, University of London.

As a culturally-aware, creative and adaptable thinker, graduating from Royal Holloway will help you stand out in a crowded global marketplace.

Students of Comparative Literature and Culture are attractive to employers because they think quickly and flexibly, communicate effectively, have a rich cultural and transnational awareness and the ability to analyse closely and range broadly.

Choosing to add philosophy into your studies at Royal Holloway not only prepares you well for postgraduate study it also equips you with the skills and qualities that employers are looking for.  Philosophy degrees are well-regarded by employers because they give you the capacity to think through issues and problems in a logical and consistent way and to develop critical and transferable skills which can be applied in almost any area of employment.

By the time you graduate, you will have:

  • developed your critical and analytical thinking and expression
  • learned to analyse, evaluate and process effectively many different kinds of information
  • honed impressive written and oral communication skills
  • enhanced your ability to solve problems in sophisticated and flexible ways
  • developed independent research skills
  • acquired teamwork and leadership skills that are highly valued by prospective employers
  • gained a critical appreciation of cultural life and cultural diversity

We work closely with Royal Holloway’s Careers and Employability Service to provide tailored events which get you thinking about life after you graduate. These range from one-to-one advice from our subject consultant, to a variety of talks and industry-themed careers weeks.

Our highly-successful micro-placement scheme will help you to fine-tune your job-seeking skills and boost your careers by enabling you in your second year to compete for a prestigious two-week internship, offering you the chance to gain invaluable experience and network with prospective employers.

You may also like take advantage of other work experience opportunities, for example by participating in Royal Holloway’s Community Action volunteering programme or by becomign a Student Ambassador. Your Personal Advisor will be on hand to support you as you decide on your career path.

On graduation you will be ready to pursue a career in a wide range of areas including publishing, marketing, the media, arts administration, fashion, international management, the civil service, accountancy or teaching.  Alternatively you may choose to continue your studies by means of a postgraduate degree.

Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,250

EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £23,800

Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course.

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students who have already taken out a tuition fee loan for undergraduate study should check their eligibility for additional funding directly with the relevant awards body.

*The tuition fee for UK undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations. For students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25, the fee is £9,250 for that year.

**This figure is the fee for EU and international students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25

Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees annually for overseas fee-paying students. Please be aware that tuition fees can rise during your degree. The upper limit of any such annual rise has not yet been set for courses starting in 2024 but will advertised here once confirmed.  For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2024/25 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

Comparative Literature and Culture Undergraduate Admissions

Admissions office: +44 (0)1784 414944

Study texts

from around the world translated into English

Source:

Develop

cross-cultural awareness and a valuable, critical edge

Source:

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