COMPARATIVE LITERATURE

The study of the literatures of the world from antiquity to today and of the role of literature in our society.

Introduction

This programme is only offered in Danish.

When you study comparative literature, you immerse yourself in classic works of literature. You learn to analyse literary works, and you learn to understand and interpret them in a historical, cultural and social context.

Diverse worlds

Comparative literature is Gothic horror, villains, heroes, tragedies, children’s literature, family chronicles and true romance. It’s Shakespeare and airport lit, print and digital media, advertising and book covers. You explore many varieties of literature, and you investigate psychological, historical, political and philosophical issues as expressed in literary works.

Studying on the comparative literature programme

The teaching on the Bachelor’s degree programme in comparative literature is a mix of lectures and classroom instruction in small groups, where you do presentations, participate in discussions and work with your study group. You work with translation, comparing different editions of the same work and with communicating about literature. You read texts in Danish, English and a third non-Scandinavian foreign language.

Career opportunities

As a graduate of the Bachelor’s degree programme in comparative literature, you are eligible for admission to a number of different Master’s degrees. For example the Master's degree programme in comparative literature, which is an advanced studies programme which builds on the Bachelor's degree programme. This can open doors to a career in education, in publishing, at cultural institutions or in communication, advertising and marketing.

Admission requirements

To be eligible for admission to this degree programme, you must fulfil the following requirements:

qualifying examination as well as the following specific admission requirements (A, B and C refers to the subject level in the Danish upper secondary school with A being the highest level possible):

  • Danish A
  • English B
  • History B or History of Ideas B or Contemporary History B
  • An additional language at A level (or B level in case of an advanced language).

 

If there are any subjects you have not completed at the required level, you can take them as supplementary courses or as a summer supplementary course (conditional Admission).

The admission requirements must be met and documented by 5 July in the year of application unless you apply for conditional admission.

Quota 2

Like quota 1 applicants, quota 2 applicants must have passed a qualifying examination, and they must also fulfil the specific admission requirements above.

Quota 2 applicants are individually evaluated on the basis of: 

  1. a grade average calculated on the basis of the particularly relevant subjects (Quota 2 subjects), listed below
  2. other particularly relevant documented qualifications.

Read more about Aarhus University's quota 2 criteria.

Quota 2 subjects:

  • Danish A
  • English B
  • History B or History of Ideas B or Contemporary History B
  • An additional language at A level (or B level in case of an advanced language).

Programme structure

The courses on the comparative literature programme give you insight into the history of literature from antiquity to the present. You learn about the most important literary genres and literary theories, and you learn to analyse literary texts in a wide variety of genres.

Academic regulations

In the academic regulations , you can read more about the content of the individual courses, the structure of the degree programme and the demands the programme places on you as a student. You can also read about the types of exams and the exam requirements.

In the diagram below, you can see how the programme is structured. You can click on the various courses to read the individual course descriptions.


 

Student life

Academic life on the comparative literature programme

At lectures in comparative literature, the assigned reading for the week is reviewed and analysed by your teacher for your entire year group. Your year group is divided into smaller classes for classroom instruction, which gives you an opportunity to participate actively in discussing your reading with your fellow students. You will also be part of a study group, where you will work on presentations together and discuss your subject. 

Here is an example of a typical week in the first semester of the BA programme in comparative literature. As you can see, you spend a lot of your time preparing for lectures and classroom lessons. This is why comparative literature is a full-time degree programme, even though you may not have scheduled classes every day. As a consequence, you will learn how to structure your time in the course of your studies. 

Monday:
8:00-17:00 Independent study

Tuesday:
8:00-13:00 Independent study
14:00 - 16:00 Lecture: Introduction to Comparative Literature

Wednesday:
8:00-17:00 Independent study

Thursday:
8:00-13:00 Independent study
11:00 - 14:00 Student teacher: Text Analysis and Textual Theory

Friday:
8-10 Lecture: Comparative Literature I
10:00-15:00 Study group
15:00 - 17:00 Friday bar

Social life on the comparative literature programme

As a student on the comparative literature programme, you will spend much of your time at Kasernen, a former barracks that has been recently renovated. Here, you’ll rub shoulders with students from related degree programmes, including dramaturgy, art history, musicology and rhetoric. There are a lot of social events for all of the degree programmes at Kasernen, which creates a unique interdisciplinary environment with a wide variety of associations and clubs for you to participate in: 

Standard
The literary journal Standard is based at the comparative literature programme at Aarhus University.  

Visir
The Kasernen student magazine is called Vizir, and it’s a forum for student from all of the degree programmes at Kasernen. Anything goes, and the magazine contains everything from poems and short stories to articles and essays. 

Fællesæstetisk Fredagsbar
The aesthetics degree programmes at Kasernen have a joint Friday bar where you can enjoy drinks, live music and the company of your fellow students every Friday. 

Fæstetik
Fællesæstetisk Festudvalg (Fæstetik) is a social committee that organises parties for the aesthetics degree programmes. 

Studying abroad

Doing a semester abroad is an excellent idea for students on the comparative literature degree programme. It can give you an impression of the latest developments on the literary scene in other countries while you develop your language skills. During the last year of your BA programme, you can take advantage of one of the many exchange agreements between Aarhus University and partner universities all over the world. Get inspiration, guidance and travel lust here.

Follow the student life at Aarhus University

-experienced, photographed and filmed by the students themselves.

With thousands of pictures #yourniversity gives insight into the everyday life as a student at AU; the parties, procrastination, exams and all the other ways you’ll spend your time at university.

 

The photos belong to the users, shared with #Yourniversity, #AarhusUni and course-specific AU-hashtags.

Career

Job functions for MA/MSc grads

The diagram shows the kinds of jobs and job functions available to graduates of the corresponding MA/MSc programme, based on the 2013/14 AU employment survey.

As a comparative literature graduate, your career options depend a lot on what you’ve chosen to focus on during your studies, along with your choice of supplementary subject and Master’s degree programme. 

As an expert in comparative literature, you are familiar with the history of literature from antiquity to the present, and you have a contextual understanding of literary works. Through your extensive experience in analysing literary works, you become skilled at structuring and comprehending complex material. 

Many graduates of the comparative literature programme work in communications or administration. Many also work in education, for example at upper secondary schools, and folk high schools, while others work in publishing or at cultural institutions. 

Supplementary subjects

As a Bachelor’s degree student on the comparative literature programme, you are required to take a supplementary subject in your third year. You have many options. Here are some examples of subjects other students on the programme have chosen:

 

  • Supplementary subject in English
  • Supplementary subject i dramaturgy
  • Supplementary subject in visual arts and visual culture 

 

Master’s degree programmes

When you have completed the Bachelor’s degree programme in comparative literature, you are eligible for admission to a variety of Master’s degree programmes. However, you should be aware that admission to some programmes requires specific subsidiary subjects. Here are some of the options: 

  • The Master’s degree programme in comparative literature, where you continue to expand your knowledge of literature and become more skilled at literary analysis and at evaluating the literary theories you use.
  • The Master’s degree programme in aesthetics and culture, where you learn to analyse the aesthetic dimensions of our culture and everyday life.
  • The Master’s degree programme in digital design, which provides you with the analytical tools and creative skills you need to design digital solutions.
  • The Master’s degree programme in journalism, where you learn journalistic skills while continuing to build on your linguistic skills.