Master of Western Literature (Leuven)


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

The Master in Western Literature is an initial Master’s program aimed at an in-depth, intercultural, and comparative study of literature from different Western traditions and periods. Through a range of contemporary theoretical and methodological perspectives, you will learn to understand literature as a complex cultural phenomenon in constant interaction with society and other media.

What is the 'Master of Western Literature' all about?

As one of the world's oldest universities, located in a multilingual society and at the heart of Europe, KU Leuven is a unique location for a program that focuses on the dynamic interactions between various literature, languages, and cultures, as well as on the intercultural and international contexts in which literature travels.

Neither the notion of ‘The West’ nor that of ‘literature’ is self-evident. This program interrogates the histories and affordances of these terms to investigates the multiple ways in which these phenomena interact with key challenges in our globalized world. We explore the relations between literature, nation, language and territory and how this relationship has changed in contexts of decolonization, globalization, and shifting relations between East and West.


This master's program stands out both nationally and internationally for its advanced degree of specialization, its broad range of study trajectories and its sustained intercultural and multilingual perspective.

Specialists in literature in different languages and in a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives collaborate to ensure the high level and quality of the courses. You can freely combine courses from almost a dozen national literature to design a curriculum tailored to your own interests and ambitions. The program’s combination of an advanced level of specialization and a sustained comparative perspective provides you with a multifaceted understanding of the ways Western literature interacts with social, political and cultural contexts, both historically and in the present.

Is this the right program for me?

  • You have an interest in literature and literary analysis and in the larger social and cultural debates about culture and literature. In your undergraduate studies, you have gained a thorough understanding of at least one language and the literature written in that language.
  • You are familiar with the methods of literary study and with the theoretical background of literary analysis.
  • You are motivated to conduct preliminary research within the field of literary studies and to report on this research in a clear and scholarly language.

Career opportunities

As a graduate of the Master of Western Literature program, you will have acquired a wide range of skills that you will be able to apply in a large number of professional contexts. Your greatest asset will be your ability to reflect on complex cultural phenomena and your insight into and facility with plurilingual and intercultural contexts, and your ability to communicate these insights in an effective, elegant, and sophisticated way. The combination of analytical skills, a capacity for abstract thought, and an appreciation of the complexity of cultural phenomena are much sought after in a range of professions. 

Through their advanced insight in intercultural relations, our graduates are well placed to work in an international, multicultural context such as embassies, European institutions, translating services, and international companies. Because of their extensive knowledge of literature and the accompanying skill to critique it, many of our graduates take up important roles in the publishing world, the media, academia, and journalism.

After taking an additional teacher training program, you would also be able to start teaching literature.

Start your career, during your studies

The Student Career Center is happy to put you on the right track towards your first work experience. The center also coaches you in the search for an interesting job and helps you with job interviews. For students wanting to start their own business KU Leuven also has Lcie, the KU Leuven community that encourages students with innovative and entrepreneurial ideas.

Don’t know where to start? The Student Career Center's databases contain offers for jobs, volunteer work, innovation projects, and student jobs. You can also visit one of the events organized by the Career Center.

Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

KU Leuven is an institution for research and education with international appeal. All programmes at this University are based on the innovative research of its scientists and professors and are ranked ... Read More

KU Leuven is an institution for research and education with international appeal. All programmes at this University are based on the innovative research of its scientists and professors and are ranked among the top 100 in the world. Read less
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