Literature in a Globalised World
In this programme, we approach literature as a cultural medium from a comparative, theoretical perspective. How do different cultures and societies think about the present, remember the past, and imagine the future in and through literature? And how has literature itself been understood and theorised across historical periods and geographical boundaries? In this programme, you will have the opportunity to explore these and related questions. At Utrecht, we focus on modern and contemporary literature from different language areas. What sets the Utrecht programme apart is a strong focus on literary and cultural history and memory, literary theory and criticism, and world literature.
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 a 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?)
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.
After successfully completing the Research Master’s programme in Comparative Literary Studies, you will be able to formulate a research proposal for a PhD project in your specialism within the field of literary studies.
The No. 1 Master's programme in comparative literature in the Netherlands
The RMA Comparative Literary Studies was again voted the top Master's programme in the field in the Netherlands by the Keuzegids Master's Selection Guide 2018.
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 analyzing 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.
After successfully completing the Research Master’s programme in Comparative Literary Studies, you will be able to formulate a research proposal for a PhD project in your specialism within the field of literary studies. Furthermore, you will have an overview of the place that your own research plan occupies in the context of international research in literary studies.
In the past, around 40% of the programme’s graduates were awarded fully-funded PhD positions at the following universities:
Utrecht University (The Netherlands)
Leiden University (The Netherlands)
Justus Liebig University Giessen (Germany)
Max Planck Institute Berlin (Germany)
Rachel Carson Center (Germany)
Ghent University (Belgium)
Queen’s University of Belfast (Ireland)
Norwich University (United Kingdom)
Ludwig Maximilian University (Germany)
University of Sao Paulo (Brazil)
University of Boğaziçi (Turkey)
City University of New York (United States)
University of Stockholm (Sweden)
The high rate of acceptance into PhD programmes at reputable universities abroad shows that graduates of the Utrecht programme are competitive in the extremely selective granting of PhD positions.
Alumnus Kaspars Reinis has found a PhD position in Toronto; Peter Maurits is a PhD candidate at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, and alumna Maria Zirra is a PhD candidate at Stockholm University.
Careers Outside Academia
Graduates of Comparative Literary Studies have gone on to senior-level careers in publishing (Elsevier, Oxford University Press), text editing, higher and middle education, governmental consultancy, and management. Students who do not go abroad in their second year may opt to do an internship.
Alumnae Yael van der Wouden en Thalia Ostendorf have founded their own publishing company, Uitgeverij Chaos. Alumna Loes Singeling - van der Voortworks as a reporter at de Volksrant.
Other graduates found jobs as:
Policy Advisor at Higher Education and Languages, NRTO
Editorial assistant at Oxford University Press
Policy Advisor at the Ministry of Defense
Editor at Elsevier
French teacher at HVC
Application date: 1-October-2020
Deadlines: 1-April-2021 (non-EU)/ 1-June-2021 (EU/EEA)
Start date: 1-September-2021
Tuition fee (2021-2022)
Full-time EU/EEA, Surinam or Swiss students: € 2168
International students: €17,280
Notes for British applicants:
Utrecht University is not yet sure which implications Brexit will have on the tuition fees and visa requirements for British Citizens. Any updates and information you can find on this website