Finding the perfect course at the perfect university takes countless hours of sheer anxiety, in-between trawling through UCAS, and speaking to teachers. For a relatively niche course like Comparative Literature the process may appear even more daunting, so here are the five things I wish I’d considered when choosing a university to study Comparative Literature which would have made my choice easier, and I hope they help:
Though modules are always subject to change and there is no guarantee that any module you see will be available for your year, getting an idea of what modules have been offered in the past is a great indicator of the modules you’ll be able to take. Some universities like King’s will allow students in Comparative Literature to study some modules from other courses in the Arts and Humanities faculty, which may be something you’d want to take advantage of, as I have. It would have made my choice simpler if I’d taken note of both compulsory and optional past modules and their reading lists for Comparative Literature to have more of an idea of the volume of reading and types of texts commonly studied for the course.
2. Foreign Language Opportunities
Considering that Comparative Literature explores works from different languages and cultures, some Comparative Literature courses have a compulsory language requirement, meaning that you’d have to study a foreign language alongside your BA. Other courses, such as the one at King’s, may be more flexible giving you the benefit of choosing to study a language module either as an assessed module as part of your degree or as an evening class, so it is worth considering which option would work best for you.
3. Academic University Facilities
For a reading-based course like Comparative Literature, you’ll likely rely on the university library resources and good study spaces to get through exam season; therefore, taking into consideration the course-specific facilities the university offers will ensure that you can make the most of your university experience. Aside from the university’s own library, many will have connections to other universities in the area to give their students access to a wider range of resources. King’s gives you access to the Senate House Library alongside extensive archives, which have been helpful in research for assessments.
4. Local Area
Similarly to considering what facilities each university has, it is useful to research what the location of the university has to offer. Comparative Literature is an Arts and Humanities course, so I also wish I had considered the arts and cultural institutions close to the campus where I’d be studying. Luckily at King’s there are a lot of opportunities for this as the museums, art galleries and public libraries are often free or offer discounted tickets for students, and they can give you a wider range of resources to use for assessments or course presentations.
5. Non-Academic University Facilities
From on-campus cafes, gyms and even student bars, researching everything that a university has to offer aside from academic resources will help avoid disappointment during the induction week. Location and whether a university is campus based or not plays into this, as each option offers a different university experience. Browsing through current clubs and societies is also a good idea, including competitive and non-competitive sports teams. You can read about the King’s facilities here – https://www.kcl.ac.uk/campuslife.
The list is by no means exhaustive, but I hope it helps you choose the right university for Comparative Literature! I am glad I chose to study Comparative Literature at King’s because the course offers varied modules and because King’s offers many extra-curricular opportunities to make the most of living in London, such as access to gyms and online archives.
*Please note that as of August 2022 the Departments of German, French, Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Studies and Comparative Literature merged to form the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. For more information visit the Department page: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/dllc