Master of Western Literature
Master of Arts
EducationThe Master of Arts in Western Literature is a unique programme aimed at the comparative study of literature in different Western traditions, from the Classical Period to the present. KU Leuven, one of the oldest universities in Europe and located at the heart of a multi-lingual society, is a unique location for a programme that focuses on the dynamic interactions between various literatures, languages, and cultures, as well as on intercultural and international aspects of literature.
This Master's degree programme stands out both nationally and internationally by its advanced degree of specialisation and its unique comparative and multilingual perspective. This programme can also be taken part-time.
Specialists in various national literatures and in literary theory closely collaborate to ensure the high level and quality of the courses. The programme's broad spectrum of national literatures allows you to combine these in your own unique way and thus to deepen your knowledge, à la carte. At the same time, this advanced level of specialisation is thoroughly combined with a broad comparative and theoretical perspective. Finally, the concept of 'Western' literatures is thoroughly examined and questioned against the background of more general social, political, and cultural perspectives, both from historical and contemporary points of view.
ProfileIn your undergraduate studies, you will have thoroughly studied at least one language, as well as literature written in that language. As a proof of your scientific skills in the domain of literary studies (collecting information, knowledge of methodologies, analysis of and reporting on specific problems), you will have a basic knowledge of methodological techniques and of heuristics, including information technology tools. You are able to report in clear language on a scholarly subject, and you are interested in the cultural and social debates on literature.
You have an interest in literature, literary analysis and the larger debate about culture and literature.
For specific admission requirements, click on the desired programme in the 'Choose your courses of study' section.
ObjectivesThe aim of this programme is to introduce students to the concept and texts of Western literature, both from a general (theoretical, historical, conceptual) perspective and through more specific case studies and research questions. Attention is devoted to the in-depth study of specific research questions and literary traditions as well as to a comparative analysis of the interactions between different literatures, languages and cultures.
Final attainment levels
- The student is well acquainted with the current state of research about Western literature and has developed a more specific competence in a number of sub-disciplines of this research.
- The student has mastered a number of research skills: (1) she is able to describe, situate and analyse general and specific research questions about Western literature; (2) she is able to make connections between general aspects of Western literature and more specific questions or sub-disciplines; (3) she is able to independently and thoroughly investigate into a specific topic in the context of Western literature and to report on her findings
- The student is able to report in oral and in written form about research in the domain of Western literature, both for a specialised and for a larger public.
The student has obtained insight into complex forms of interaction in Western literature and has acquired a multilingual and intercultural attitude which becomes evident in her communicative and linguistic skills (such as being able to interact in a multilingual context).
- The student is able to use the acquired knowledge and skills in a wide variety of social and professional contexts.
After graduationAs a graduate of the Master of Arts in Western Literature programme, you will have acquired a wide range of skills that you will be able to use in a large number of professional contexts. Your strengths will mainly be your ability to reflect on complex cultural phenomena, your insight into and facility with plurilingualism and interculturality, and your ability to bring those insights across in the media and/or in educational contexts.
Through your advanced insight in intercultural relations, you will be exceptionally well placed to work in an international context (e.g., embassies, European institutions, translating services, and international companies). In addition, you will have acquired an extensive knowledge of literature and the skills for reporting on it. The publishing world, the media, and journalism will therefore offer more possibilities.
After taking a teacher training programme, you will also be able to start teaching.
SpotlightThe programme does not take for granted the key terms in its title: 'Western' and 'literature.' Indeed, the programme specifically aims to critically investigate the development of literature, literary systems, and traditions in the West to address the challenges that these phenomena meet in our complex contemporary society.
This initially entails historical and dynamic examinations of notions like the canon, tradition, literary genre, and poetics. These must be studied in relation to some of the more general concepts that determine them, such as civilization, culture, identity, and alterity. Second, we are interested in the question of the political-ideological dimension of 'Western' literatures: when did it arise and how did it develop? How can we critically examine the relations between literature, nation, language, and territory in the light of internationalisation and globalisation; of colonisation and decolonisation; and of the relations between East and West? Third, we study specific notions of textuality and interpretation and their functions in various Western literary traditions.
ContactFaculty of Arts
Blijde Inkomststraat 21 box 3301
3000 Leuven, Belgium
tel. + 32 16 32 50 13