student rating of the RMA programme
Keuzegids Master's Selection Guide 2021
No. 1
University in the Netherlands
Shanghai Ranking 2020
Our students & alumni share their experiences with the RMA programme with you

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 comparison between literary phenomena along four principal axes:

  1. Transculturality (how does literature reflect and negotiate cultural differences and operate across national borders?)
  2. Mediality (how does literature work as a medium and how does it interact with other media? how are literary phenomena adapted to other media? )
  3. Memory (how do stories and cultural forms survive across generations and how are they transformed across time?) 
  4. Discursivity (how does literature function as a m ode of knowledge production and how does it relate to other forms of knowledge, both scientific and creative?)

Read more about our teaching and research environment, including our teaching staff.

After graduation

Comparative Literary Studies prepares you for a range of different careers, both academic and non-academic, that require advanced research skills along with expertise in the fields of literary and cultural analysis. The programme features a strong research ethics and methods component. Students are trained to design and carry out their own original research project, to gather and evaluate sources, and to communicate their ideas and findings in a professional manner and a variety of formats. Students also receive training in academic writing, editing, presenting and discussion leading, as well as digital methods. Read more about career development and possible career prospects.


Comparative Literary Studies is a selective Master’s programme. Do you want to know if you are eligible for this Master? Check the entry requirements.

Best Master's Thesis Award for CLS student Laureanne Willems
Laureanne Williams on winning the Award for Best Master's Thesis

During the opening of the Academic Year, Rector Magnificus Henk Kummeling presented the Student Awards. The Award for Best Master's Thesis went to Laureanne Willems and her research into anorexia nervosa. Willems analysed how the lived experience of anorexia nervosa is illustrated in different autobiographical illness narratives. 

  • Profile picture Kaspars Reinis, alumnus Comparative Literary Studies
    "I feel that the Comparative Literary Studies programme is a great preparation for a future in the academic community."
  • Profile picture Roos Wijnants, alumna Comparative Literary Studies
    "The classes are small and thus the discussions really intense and efficient."


Degree: This Master's programme is officially registered under its name in the Central Register of Higher Education Study Programmes
  • Title: MA
  • Master's degree in: Literary Studies (research)
  • Programme: Comparative Literary Studies
Accredited by the NVAO
Croho code:
Language of instruction:
Part- or full-time status:
2 years
Credits: 60 credits equals one year full-time study load (European Credit Transfer System, ECTS)
Start of studies:
Application deadline:
  • Dutch & EU/EER students: 1 April
  • Non-EU/EEA students: 1 April
Tuition fees:
Graduate school: