Comparative Literatures and Cultures

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Run by Faculty of Arts
Awards available PhD, MPhil
Programme length MPhil: one year full-time;
two years part-time;
PhD: four years full-time (minimum period of study three years);
eight years part-time.
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Start date January 2022 September 2022 January 2023

Programme overview

MPhil: a standalone, one-year (full-time) research degree. Students will undertake their own research project, concluding in the submission of a 25,000 word dissertation. Students may have the option to audit units from our taught master's programmes if they are relevant to their research.

PhD: a research project undertaken across four years (full-time, minimum period of study three years), culminating in an 80,000 word thesis. As well as having the option to audit taught units, there may be the potential for PhD students to teach units themselves from their second year of study onwards.

Research in Comparative Literatures and Cultures at the University of Bristol sits within the School of Modern Languages and builds on two emerging areas which the School has actively developed in recent years: transnational studies and intermediality. By introducing new objects of study and innovative methodologies, we have forged interdisciplinary connections in and beyond the arts and social sciences via themes of global concern, from mental health to climate change.

Transnational studies emphasise cultural difference and diversity yet also interconnectedness and mutual influence. We explore cultural contact, migration and transfer within and beyond Europe in uneven colonial, pre-colonial, and postcolonial contexts, both vertically and transversally, while questioning persistent narratives of ‘West’ and ‘East’ or ‘North’ and ‘South’. 

Intermedial studies build on our excellence in word and image studies, film, and theatre, auditory culture, and the study of such cultural artefacts as video games, graphic novels, manga, the media, landscape design, and artwork from video installation to graffiti.

We also explore how the materiality of discursive genres (poetic form, the novel, ego documents and political rhetoric) shapes the message, and how literary and discursive practices interact with social, political and professional contexts. Comparative Literatures and Cultures draws on the extensive research specialisms of our staff. Each research student is assigned to an academic who works in their proposed area of research or related field, and benefits from the input of a second supervisor who will likely come from another department, depending on the transnational or interdisciplinary nature of the project. Supervisory teams can also include staff from other schools and departments within the Faculty of Arts and beyond, for example in Classics, English, Drama, History, or Philosophy. Our postgraduates are fully integrated in a professionally and personally supportive departmental and school community. We encourage you to attend and give papers at school and University research events, as well as national and international conferences. Funding is available to support field work and participation in external events. We support you in developing a full range of academic skills, including teaching.

Fees for 2022/23

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2022/23 are as follows:

UK: full-time
UK: part-time
Overseas: full-time

Following the recent changes to fee assessment regulation, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students will no longer be charged a separate tuition fee. From the 2021/22 academic year they will be charged the same fees as Home students.

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2022/23

The University of Bristol is part of the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP), which will be offering studentships for September 2022. For information on other funding opportunities, please see the Faculty of Arts funding pages.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Entry requirements

MPhil: An upper second-class degree or international equivalent.

Please note, acceptance will also depend on evidence of your readiness to pursue a research degree.

PhD: A master's qualification, or be working towards a master's qualification, or international equivalent. Applicants without a master's qualification may be considered on an exceptional basis, provided they hold a first-class undergraduate degree (or international equivalent). Applicants with a non-traditional background may be considered provided they can demonstrate substantial equivalent and relevant experience that has prepared them to undertake their proposed course of study.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile C
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement

Research groups


Graduates from our department go on to work in diverse professional contexts, including higher education and research,government, public and private sector organisations, international development, NGOs, and policy-making organisations.

Staff profiles

Further information about the school's research groups canbe found on the School of Modern Languages web pages.

Professor Marianne Ailes, (Senior Lecturer), Medieval French literature, especially the " chansons de geste" and early vernacularchronicles

Dr Ruth Bush, (Lecturer), Post-colonial studies publishing minority culturesthe francophone literature of Africa

Dr Rhiannon Daniels, (Senior Lecturer), Histories of reading manuscript and early printculture Medieval and Renaissance Italian culturethe reception of Boccaccio

Dr Steffan Davies, (Senior Lecturer), Classical modernism (especially Döblin) exileGerman history (19th and 20th centuries)German literature of the Classical Age (Goethe,Schiller)

Dr Connor Doak, (Lecturer), 19th and 20th-century Russian literature gender and sexuality and their relationship to war and political change

Dr Paul Earlie, (Lecturer), Modern and contemporary French thought, the relationship between intermediality and thought and on rhetoric as a theory and practice of communication, francophone Belgian culture

Dr Albertine Fox, (Lecturer), France and the Francophone world, soundstudies, queer studies, feminist queer theory,intersectionality, French and Francophonecinema and documentary film studies

Professor Susan Harrow, (Ashley Watkins Chair in French Language and Literature), Ekphrastics modern French poetry pastPresident of the Society for French Studies visualand literary cultures Zola

Dr James Hawkey, (Lecturer), Hispanic sociolinguistics language policy and language contact multilingual speech communities

Professor Martin Hurcombe, (Reader), 20th-century political cultures andrepresentations of war in France, and travelwriting

Dr Edward King, (Lecturer), Brazilian literary and visual culture (including the graphic novel) interconnections between culture and technology power dynamics connected to technological change science fiction

Dr Rebecca Kosick, (Lecturer), Intermedial translation and translation in the visual and plastic arts literary translation poetics and translation theories and philosophies of translation translation and material culture

Dr Paul Merchant, (Lecturer), 20th- and 21st-century Latin American film and visual culture, with a particular emphasis on the countries of the Southern Cone, Peru and Bolivia, ecological approaches to cinema and visual media, postcolonial and decolonial theory

Professor Catherine O'Rawe, (Professor), Film stars and performance Italian popular cinema masculinity studies the reception of Italian film in post-war culture

Dr Rachel Randall, (Lecturer), Latin American cultural studies, Hispanic Media and Digital Communications

Professor Andreas Schonle, (Professor), Issues of cultural identity (semiotics of space,perceptions of time and of modernity) Literaryand cultural theory Urban studies

Professor Siobhán Shilton, (Senior Lecturer), Francophone postcolonial studies the Arab Spring in visual culture visual-textual relations

Dr Clare Siviter, (Lecturer), French Theatre and Performance, Revolutionary period (c.1789-1815), censorship, propaganda,celebrity, and genre

Dr Bradley Stephens, (Senior Lecturer), Cultures of ' engagement' in the 19th and 20th centuries theories and practices of adaptation

Dr Rowan Tomlinson, (Lecturer), Renaissance literature and culture, particularly the poetics and politics of French vernacular writing in the 16th century

Dr Caragh Wells, (Senior Lecturer), Contemporary Spanish literature feminism and gender studies literary theory the concept of oneness women writers and urban fiction

Apply now

Find out how to apply

Application deadline

January 2022 start: 1 December 2021
September 2022 start: 1 August 2022
January 2023 start: 1 December 2022

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Watch on-demand recordings from November's virtual open week.

Get in touch

Faculty of Arts Postgraduate Admissions Phone: +44 (0) +44 (0)117 428 2296 Email:

Faculty of Arts
University of Bristol
7 Woodland Road
School website: School of Modern Languages

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