English and Comparative Literature BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2025
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
AAB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBB at A Level including English and pass Access to Leeds.
Full entry requirements

Course overview


This degree combines the study of English literature with different literatures from around the world.

You’ll choose from the whole range of options in the School of English, including writers from Africa, Asia, Australasia, Canada and the Caribbean. You’ll also study texts (from translations) in Ancient Greek, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, taught by literature specialists from the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies.

Studying English and Comparative Literature allows you to learn about how literature circulates globally and how it intersects with aesthetics, cultural studies, economics, ethics and politics. It also enables you to think about the relationship between literature and other arts, including cinema, graphic novels, music, painting and videogames.

Compulsory modules will introduce you to the concept of world literature and issues such as adaptation, genre, narratology and reception. You’ll choose from a wide range of optional modules to pursue topics that interest you.

Your tutors will provide diverse expertise to help you gain a deeper understanding of literature from around the world and develop analytical skills that are valuable to employers. You’ll study well-known writers and will also be exposed to writers that you won’t have heard of before. The course allows you to pursue different themes as you develop your confidence in textual analysis.

Specialist facilities

Leeds has fantastic facilities for English and Comparative Literature students.

The Centre for World Literatures promotes the study of literature from around the world, exploring the intersections between literature and cultural studies, history, sociology, performance, politics, translation studies and other art forms, such as music and the visual arts.

The world-class Brotherton Library has an array of archive, manuscript and early printed material in its Special Collections, alongside other extensive library resources. All of this will be valuable for your independent research. The University library offers training courses to help you make the most of our resources.

Take a look around our libraries:

Course details

Year 1

You’ll take two compulsory modules in English. Reading Between the Lines and Writing Matters will enable you to develop the essential skills for degree-level literary analysis. You’ll also take the compulsory module Worlds of Literature, introducing you to key areas of comparative literature through the study of novels, plays, poetry and short stories from around the world. Optional modules are available in areas such as intercultural studies, linguistics, world histories, world politics or audio-visual culture. You can also take further optional modules such as Modern Fictions in English or Race, Writing and Decolonization, or choose from a wide range of discovery modules.

Year 2

You’ll take a compulsory module on Reception, Transmission and Translation, which introduces you to the theory and practice of global literary circulation and culminates in the production of an edited anthology. This module is complemented by two compulsory modules in English: Writing Environments: Literature, Nature, Culture, and Body Language: Literature and Embodiment. You'll also choose from a wide range of optional modules from the Schools of English and Languages, Cultures and Societies, or take a further discovery module or a module focusing on developing skills for your future career.

Year 3

You’ll apply the critical and research skills you’ve developed to your final year project, where you’ll independently research a topic which draws on your knowledge of English and literature from other cultures, such as the myth of Odysseus from Homer to Derek Walcott, global dystopias, comparative postcolonialisms, or the ways in which foreign-language detective fiction has been received in the English-speaking world. You’ll also study optional modules covering an array of topics, such as postcolonial literature, American literature, decolonial approaches, Shakespeare, writing the Holocaust, and contemporary world literature; a module where we investigate why authors such as Elena Ferrante have become so successful.

The course information shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Most courses consist of compulsory and optional modules. There may be some optional modules omitted below. This is because they are currently being refreshed to make sure students have the best possible experience. Before you enter each year, full details of all modules for that year will be provided.

For more information please read BA English and Comparative Literature in the course catalogue

Year 1
Compulsory modules

Worlds of Literature (20 credits) - This module challenges you to think critically about your own perspectives of literary cultures, raise your awareness of the intellectual, cultural and ethical questions in the study of literature, and introduce you to some of the concepts and approaches that will help you to negotiate the reciprocities and complexities of the interactions between literary traditions. We’ll make use of examples drawn from the wide range of cultures taught in our school, and a wide range of languages and periods, as well as on the different research specialisms of lecturers.

Writing Matters (20 credits) - Writing and communication skills are vital to most professional careers, but they are especially valuable in the field of English studies. This module explores debates around a canonical literary text, examining theoretical approaches and rhetorical strategies used to write about literature. Students will hone their own writing skills by engaging ethically with the text and the ideas of others, developing structured arguments, expressing ideas clearly and concisely, working with feedback, and practising writing as a process. As a result, students will cultivate a deeper understanding of how writing works, learn how to share insights with greater efficacy and sophistication, and practice how to transfer this knowledge to future workplace contexts.

Reading Between the Lines (20 credits) - How do we read, and how might we read at university? This module equips you with the tools for sophisticated literary study, introducing the creative, exciting discipline of English Studies. Through close analysis of texts across a range of periods and forms, you’ll encounter some of the theories that have shaped and continue to underpin the discipline. You’ll discover how reading critically can change the way we see the world and engage with others.

Optional modules

Modern Fictions in English (20 credits) - In this module you’ll study a rich array of modern fictions, by significant writers of the period, that will be used to illustrate a variety of narrative techniques. You’ll be introduced to major literary movements in fiction in the 20th and early 21st centuries, as well as learning a variety of critical strategies appropriate for analysis of this work. You’ll attain a clear view of some of the most important transformations of fiction in English and understand why these transformations mattered, in terms of ethical and cultural revolution.

Drama: Reading and Interpretation (20 credits) - You’ll be encouraged to think critically about drama as a genre of literature, as well as performance, drawing on a range of plays from different cultures, theatrical traditions and historical periods. By approaching the plays thematically (eg the body and gender, place and space, language and voice), you’ll explore how dramatic texts work on both page and stage. You’ll develop skills in close reading and a basic understanding of the mechanics of the theatre, such as the relationship between actor and audience, the layout of the stage, the use of lighting, costuming, props and so on.

World Histories (20 credits) - You’ll be introduced to the complexity and diversity of human perspectives of, and attitudes to, history. Drawing on theories and case studies from around the world, you’ll raise a critical awareness of the culturally inflected assumptions we bring to our study of the past, and that shape the ways history is written and interpreted in different contexts. The precise syllabus varies each year, but will include opportunities to compare the writing of history in “Western” and “non-Western” cultures, and to look at a series of historical questions from diverse cultural, national and/or regional perspectives.

Poetry: Reading and Interpretation (20 credits)
Race, Writing and Decolonization (20 credits)
Introduction to Audio-Visual Culture (20 credits)
Language: Structure and Sound (20 credits)
Intercultural Competence: Theory and Application (20 credits)
Politics, Culture and Society (20 credits)
Discourse, Culture and Identity (20 credits)

Year 2
Compulsory modules

Reception, Transmission and Translation: The Global Circulation of Literature (20 credits) - This module introduces you to the major theories of literary reception, transmission and translation, with references to examples from the wide range of cultures taught in our School. It also explores different views of the concept of world literature, showing how the theory of literature is mutually informed by the practice, both artistic and commercial. You’ll create an anthology, working in small teams, which will familiarise you to the skills of drafting, revising, editing and publishing. You’ll choose your own topics and develop research questions that will help you to prepare for your final year project.

Writing Environments: Literature, Nature, Culture (20 credits) - This module examines what it means to live as human beings on a more-than-human planet. We’ll investigate how literary texts from different times and places have understood the relationship between nature and culture. We’ll address human impacts on the environment in relation to historical phenomena such as colonialism. And we’ll explore the insights that literature can offer at a time of concern about climate change and other environmental issues.

Body Language: Literature and Embodiment (20 credits) - This module explores the relationship between embodiment, language and representation across a range of literary forms, genres, and periods, addressing questions such as: what does it mean to be ‘human’? Can technology change who we are? How do we navigate the relationship between the body and the mind? It examines how critical theorists and creative writers and life writers have treated and imagined this relationship between material bodies and literary representation, in order to better understand both the possibilities and limitations of literary expression.

Optional modules

Black Europe (20 credits) - This module will introduce you to debates surrounding European identity in relation to race. It will examine the presence of Black populations within Europe at various important moments from the classical period to the present day, examining how they have been represented, described and exhibited. It will also analyse the work of black writers, musicians, film makers and activists to understand how they have constructed and negotiated a Black Europe identity.

Trauma Narratives in the Contemporary Sinophone World (20 credits) - You’ll understand trauma from an interdisciplinary perspective and explore how different forms of cultural production represent individual and collective trauma in the contemporary Sinophone world. You’ll approach trauma narratives in different thematic areas, including war-related trauma, Chinese diaspora, ethnic oppression and gender oppression.

The Spaces of Russian Literature (20 credits) - You’ll be acquainted with a broad selection of Russian literature from the 19th to the 21st century and explore what spaces authors write about, how do they represent them and how does this affect our understanding of Russian culture and society in different periods of history? You’ll be introduced to several theoretical concepts and approaches of literary and cultural studies that are associated with the notion of space, such as the imagined city, centre and periphery, empire, national identity, the gendering of space.

Global Environmental Humanities (20 credits) - You’ll explore ways in which humans have responded, and are responding, to the environment in which they live through diverse forms of cultural expression. You’ll be introduced to the concept of Environmental Humanities and its importance in global understandings, practices and debates about humanity’s relationship with the environment in which it lives. You’ll gain a thorough understanding of how factors such as lived environmental context, ethnicity, race, gender, class, language and technology can influence cultural responses to the environment.

Homer's Iliad (20 credits) - This module introduces you to Homer’s Iliad and its cultural significance. You’ll gain a thorough knowledge of the poem, its theme and structure, and of issues surrounding its composition and transmission. You’ll explore topics such as the presentation of the gods, religious ritual, female characters, family and social underpinnings and the influence on later Greek morality.

Virgil's Aeneid (20 credits)
Renaissance Literature (20 credits)
Towards the Future: Skills in Context (20 credits)
Modern Literature (20 credits)
Postcolonial Literature (20 credits)
The World Before Us: Literature 1660-1830 (20 credits)
Other Voices: Rethinking Nineteenth-Century Literature (20 credits)
American Literature (20 credits)
Contemporary Literature (20 credits)
Medieval and Tudor Literature (20 credits)

Year 3
Compulsory modules

Final Year Project (Dissertation, Textual Editing Project, or Podcast) (40 credits) - You’ll create a project, either in the form of a written dissertation, textual editing project, or digital documentary (podcast), that combines the skills you’ve gained in your first two years of study. You’ll carry out in-depth research into an agreed topic and present your findings, showcasing your ability to work independently, your vast research skills and your competence at communicating data.

Optional modules

Contemporary World Literature (20 credits) - You’ll analyse contemporary international works of literature in English translation, with a focus on authors who have gained critical and/or commercial success in recent years. You’ll explore the theories underlying the concept of 'world literature' and discuss why certain texts enter today’s global field, with references to publishing, reception and literary prizes. These discussions will reflect diverse contemporary interests in themes including culture, families and communities, gender and sexuality, globalisation, philosophy, politics, posthumanism, religion and spirituality, and science and technology. The module will also consider concepts such as exoticism, 'highbrow' vs popular culture, mimesis, Orientalism and postcolonialism.

Postcolonial Literature (20 credits) - You’ll study the literature of both indigenous peoples and the settlers who stole their lands; those who fashioned new postcolonial nation states and those who migrated to others; and those who continue to suffer and contest the inequities of globalisation. You’ll explore themes such as Colonialism and Postcolonialism, Settlers and Indigenous Peoples, Nations and Disaporas, and Globalization and the New World Order. You’ll gain an in-depth understanding of some of the most powerful literature there is today, examining some of the ways in which contemporary writers from across the world have adopted, adapted and transformed the traditions of 'English' literature.

Representing the Holocaust: Transgression and the Taboo (20 credits) - In this module you’ll engage critically with the history of theoretical literature on Holocaust representation, in particular identifying and evaluating the various taboos, norms, canons and transgressions created. You’ll contextualise this reading and critical engagement within contemporary debates on transnationalism, tolerance and intercultural communication. You’ll apply close reading and interpretational skills to a challenging interdisciplinary body of work dealing with the genocide of European Jewry, and will reflect on ways of engaging with the public on these debates.’

Digital Englishes (20 credits) - In this module, you’ll explore how we use English language online and the ways that technology and society shape, and are shaped by, our choices in communication. You’ll compare early digital innovations (the 1990s world wide web, text messaging) with more recent platforms (Instagram, Twitter), using sociolinguistic frameworks to assess lexical innovation, orality markers, narratives, and multimodality (emojis, hashtags), evaluating their significance for English language practices. You’ll develop your skills in digital communications, creating a podcast that reports your research into an area of digital communication, for part of the module assessment.

Current Practice in Creative Writing (20 credits) - This module will introduce you to a specific approach to creative writing that draws upon a recent writing interest, or current practice, of the module leader. You’ll develop your creative writing and critical skills and your ability to read as a writer in relation to this specific approach. You’ll read exemplary published texts ‘as a writer’, dialogue with tutors and peers, draft and re-draft, write critically on relevant texts, and locate your own work in relation to those texts. Guidance and writing exercises from the tutor, a published writer, will help you develop new creative writing in an academic, professional context.

States of Mind: Disability, Neurodiversity and Mental Health in Contemporary Culture (20 credits) - You’ll gain a solid awareness of the representation of cognitive impairment and disability in contemporary film and fiction and develop your knowledge of general social ideas surrounding disability in the contemporary world. You’ll learn to critically examine forms of discourse, operating as subtle readers of current disability theory.

Gender, Culture and Politics: Readings of Jane Austen (20 credits)
Disposable Lives? (20 credits)
Queens, Vikings, Poets and Dragons: Old English and Early Medieval Britain (20 credits)
Shakespeare (20 credits)
American Danger (20 credits)
Refugee Narratives (20 credits)
Folklore and Mythology (20 credits)
Angry Young Men and Women: Literature of the Mid-Twentieth Century (20 credits)
Lost in Fiction: The Metafictional Novel from 'Don Quixote' to 'House of Leaves' (20 credits)
Religion and Violence (20 credits)
Introduction to Dante's Comedy (in Translation) (20 credits)
Contemporary World Literature (20 credits)
Material Cultures and Cultures of Consumption (20 credits)
Adventures of the Imagination: Crime and the Fantastic Across Continents (20 credits)
Decolonial Approaches (20 credits)
Social Movements across Cultures (20 credits)
Minoritised Languages, Dialects and Cultures from Past to Present (20 credits)

Learning and teaching

We use a variety of learning and teaching styles to help you benefit from our tutors’ expertise. Lectures, seminars and tutorials are most commonly used, but workshops may also be involved in some modules.

Independent learning is also a vital part of the degree, allowing you to conduct your own research and think critically about what you find. The University library runs excellent training courses to help you make the most of our resources.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers and professors to trained postgraduate researchers. You'll benefit from a wide range of different approaches and techniques.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Common types of assessment include exams and essays, but oral presentations and group work may also be included in some modules. We offer plenty of support throughout your time at Leeds, including extra classes on issues such as structuring essays, public speaking or exam technique.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB including A in English (Language, Literature or Language and Literature).

Other course specific tests:

Where an applicant is taking the EPQ in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A Levels, this would be ABB at A Level including A in English and grade A in the EPQ.

We welcome applications from mature students with Access qualifications, and from students with a wide range of qualifications.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. The Access course must include English modules. An interview and a piece of written work may also be required.


We will consider the level 3 QCF BTEC at Subsidiary Diploma level and above in combination with other qualifications. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

D3, M1, M2 including D3 in English.

International Baccalaureate

35 points overall including 16 at Higher Level with 6 in English at Higher Level.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3 including H2 in English

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AB in Advanced Highers including A in English and AABBB in Highers, or A in English in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers.

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course. If you choose to undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate we would strongly encourage you to draw upon these experiences within your personal statement, as your qualification will then be taken into account both when your application is initially considered by the selection panel and again when reviewed by the admissions tutor at the time your A-level results are passed to us.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 80% including 8.5 in English.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is a contextual admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and contextual admissions.

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

This course is designed for students whose backgrounds mean they are less likely to attend university (also known as widening participation backgrounds) and who do not currently meet admissions criteria for direct entry to a degree.

The course will give you the opportunity to be taught by academic staff and provides intensive support to enable your development of academic skills and knowledge. On successful completion of your foundation year, you will progress to your chosen degree course. Find out more about the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. Contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: To be confirmed

International: To be confirmed

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will be £9,250 for students starting in 2024/25.

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only, as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2025/26
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students starting in 2025/26 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. When the fee is available we will update individual course pages.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2024/25 and 2025/26
Tuition fees for international students for 2024/25 are available on individual course pages. Fees for students starting in 2025/26 will be available from September 2024.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies
School of English

Contact us

Faculty of Arts Admissions

Email: artsadmissions@leeds.ac.uk

Career opportunities

English and Comparative Literature graduates develop a wide range of transferable skills that really appeal to employers. As well as demonstrating that you’re intellectually versatile, your degree will equip you with a wide range of skills across different disciplines such as:

  • good research skills and the ability to analyse complex information from multiple sources before drawing your own conclusions
  • communication skills, enabling you to defend your views clearly, either verbally or in writing.
  • strong organisational skills and the confidence to work independently or in a team
  • a deep understanding of cultural diversity, allowing you to work effectively with people whose backgrounds differ from yours
  • independent and self-motivated, as well as a confident researcher who can think analytically about what they find
  • organisational and time management skills that come from studying two subjects as part of a joint honours course

Our graduates have succeeded in diverse careers such as: publishing, advertising and marketing, journalism, television, the civil service, education, local government and the charity sector.

Careers support

The School of Languages, Cultures and Societies regularly hosts employability events where you can listen to Leeds alumni talking about their careers and ask them for advice.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.