Comparative Literature (M.Phil.)

NFQ Level 9
M.Phil.:1 year full-time/3 years part-time / PG.Dip.: 1 year full-time/2 years part-time / PG.Cert.: 1 year part-time
20 Places


Course Overview

Comparative Literature is an interdisciplinary field of study that allows you to explore the relationships between literature, culture, and history. It provides students with the opportunity to compare and contrast different perspectives and to gain a deeper understanding of how literature can shape and reflect the world around us. Comparative Literature can help you develop a critical eye, enabling you to make connections between texts and to think critically about how different works of literature can influence our understanding of the world.

Is This Course For Me?

Comparative Literature at Trinity College Dublin is defined as the study of world literatures through the medium of cultural theory and as a reading of literature in comparison with other disciplines. If you are a traveller between cultures and eager to cross boundaries to expand your horizons, our M.Phil. in Comparative Literature may be for you.

Career Opportunities

Graduates have pursued careers in publishing, editing, project management, cultural outreach, research, as well as academia.

Course Structure

Students on the M.Phil. will enrol in two year-long core modules to be trained in the use of theory, criticism, and various possibilities of comparison ranging from the application of imagology to interdisciplinary approaches. These core modules are complemented by two term-long option modules with more specific literary and cultural content. M.Phil. students are also required to complete a dissertation in order to be recommended for the award.

Students on the Postgraduate Diploma will enrol in two year-long core modules. These core modules are complemented by two term-long option modules with more specific literary and cultural content. No dissertation is required.

Students on the Postgraduate Certificate will enrol in one year-long core module. This core module is complemented by one term-long option module with more specific literary and cultural content.

Course Content

This course is designed to provide an understanding of Comparative Literature as a subject of study and a critical practice.

The core modules — Theory and Methodology, and Moving Between Cultures — provide the theoretical and methodological basis for comparing texts of various genres and artefacts of different media at an advanced level.

Optional modules enable the further development of these competencies and offer opportunities to develop and apply this knowledge and these skills to a range of primary texts from a wide range of languages, cultures, epochs and other contexts.

In the final phase of the course, students complete a dissertation of 15,000-20,000 words. A substantial body of academic work, it offers students the opportunity to explore a subject of their choosing in some detail under the supervision of a subject specialist.

Click here for further information on modules/subjects.

Study Comparative Literature (M.Phil.) at Trinity

This course video is designed to provide an understanding of the Comparative Literature programme at Trinity College Dublin as a subject of study and a critical practice.

Course Details


NFQ Level 9

Number of Places

20 Places

Next Intake

September 2024

Course Director

Dr. Peter Arnds

Closing Date

28th June 2024

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Admission Requirements

Applicants must hold a minimum 2.1 (upper-second class) Honours Bachelor’s degree from an Irish university or its international equivalent in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include but are not limited to the following: Languages, Literature, History, Cultural Studies, Comparative Literature, Human Geography, Sociology, Religious Studies, Gender Studies, Textual and Visual Studies, Visual Arts, Art History, Economics, Political Science.

All candidates who are not native English speakers and have not completed a degree through the medium of English are required to prove their proficiency with the language. Trinity prefers IELTS, but will accept alternative tests provided by international organisations, such as TOEFL.

Application and next steps

Applications are normally open from November until June and you may apply at any point. Places are offered to the best applicants on a first-come first-served basis. Places are limited, and for that reason, it is recommended that you apply as early as possible. The deadline for applications is June 30th.

Required Materials

For this course, you will need to submit the following materials to apply:

A) Sample of Academic Writing: As part of your application, you also need to submit a sample of no more than 2,500 words (excluding bibliography) of your best academic writing in English.

When we assess your application, we will pay particular attention to your ability to:

  • Build and present a logical, cohesive argument.
  • Analyse and evaluate the arguments of others.
  • Adhere to the norms of academic writing (referencing, quotation, avoiding plagiarism* and other forms of academic misconduct, and bibliography).
  • Use academic English.

We make use of Turnitin and other software to check for plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct in the samples submitted. An application may be rejected if samples of work submitted are found to include instances of such misconduct.

B) English Language Qualifications: Unless you have completed a degree through the medium of English or are a native speaker, you are required to prove your proficiency with the language. Please upload your certificate as part of your application. We highly encourage you to submit IELTS results that have at least a 6.5 score in each category of proficiency. 

C) Degree Certificate(s): You will need to provide degree certificates (in PDF format) that prove you have completed all of the degrees you mention in your application. If you haven’t yet completed your degree, you can still apply and supply these documents when you have them. If your certificates are not in English, and are not issued by Trinity, please obtain an official translation into English and upload both the translation and the original to the system.

D) Degree Transcripts: You will need to provide official transcripts (in PDF format) showing all of the components you have completed as part of your degree(s). If your transcripts are not in English, and are not issued by Trinity, please obtain an official translation into English and upload both the translation and the original to the system.

E) Two Reference Letters: You will need to provide reference letters from two referees who can provide references written in English, explaining why you would be a strong candidate for the course. It is the responsibility of the applicant to contact their referees and inform them of their intention of applying for this programme. Referees listed by the applicant on Trinity's online application system will automatically receive an electronic reference request, providing them with a Trinity reference template and a link to upload their references.

Course Fees

Click here for a full list of postgraduate fees.

Get in Touch

Telephone Number

+353 (0)1 896 1501

Dr. Peter Arnds (course director)


Register Your Interest

Register your interest in studying at Ireland’s leading university, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin.

Register Your Interest

A once in a lifetime opportunity to be introduced to a rich range of literatures and academic traditions by lecturers from around the world. The Master's in Comparative Literature is about so much more than comparing great works; it enables one to truly gauge to what extent national boundaries can be arbitrary, becoming conscious of how much cultures are in constant dialogue with each other.

Louise Sampagnay


Studying Comparative Literature at Trinity was a very meaningful experience for me. The programme is a perfect transition between the undergraduate study that has just been completed and the career that has not yet begun. The program aims to equip students with a solid theoretical and methodological basis, on which they are able to conduct research effectively and efficiently, comparing texts of various genres and cultural products of different media from an interdisciplinary and intercultural perspective. Meanwhile, I also enjoy the process of exploring how cultures differ from one another through analysing primary texts from different languages and epochs, so as to pursue a global vision of literary and cultural study. In addition to the improvement of academic competence, the programme also helps students to get themselves qualified for the employment of future jobs. Indispensable skills such as academic writing, critical analysis and communication will put you in demand within the job market. I believe these transferrable skills will enable me to handle my work more confidently and efficiently in the future.

Chenxi Tnag


I've always gravitated towards the subjects of literature and history, and I love to explore the distinct literary approaches of different cultures. Through Trinity's Comparative Literature program I got to do just that: I had the privilege of meeting many professors who each covered topics through an expert cultural lens, allowing me to view many different viewpoints and ideas on a common subject. Through this style of teaching I was able to further branch out into more regional studies and take a more diverse and interdisciplinary approach to my writing.

Olayinka Gbonegun


Comparative Literature is an interesting course to study. It is comprehensive as we learn not only literature, but also its connection with other subjects. The lecturers and staffs are helpful and inspiring. I’ve had a great time studying Comparative Literature in Trinity College Dublin.

Yifan Zhao


This course enabled me to gain access to the skill of applying cultural theory to world literature, sharpening my critical and analytical skills, doing research and writing essays (forming a hypothesis; structuring an argument and building an essay; referencing outside sources), doing research and presenting a paper (forming a hypothesis; structuring an oral presentation; maintaining and sustaining relations with the listeners; giving an overview of sources). These skills guarantee, in a large sense, the qualification of a researcher in further comparative literature studies. I have realised throughout my learning process the importance of an international and multicultural perspective for the mastery of the multidisciplinary subject. Besides, going abroad offers a brand-new perspective both for the diverse cultures through being submerged in cultures utterly different from my home culture and for the status quo of the rapidly changing world through gaining an insight into a variety of world affairs from different channels.

Yimeng Man


Some of the greatest writers and thinkers have walked the campus of Trinity College Dublin, so studying here was a true honour and a privilege. The Comparative Literature programme not only exceeded my expectations but also proved me to never stop questioning and appreciating cultures and societies the world over, and also to never stop reading great literature!

Sophie Morris