Comparative Literature / European Literature (M.A.)

The most important facts at a glance:


Master of Arts (M.A.)

Standard period of studies:

4 semesters


Winter and summer semester

Admission restrictions:

Open admission


You find information on the application procedure for international students here.

Applicants with foreign certificates:Language of instruction: German
Required language certificate: DSH-2

Winter semester: April 1 - September 1

Summer semester: October 1 - March 1

Required Bachelor's degree:

Comparative Literature / European Literature (B.A.)

Comparative Literature / European Literature / Lettres modernes (B.A.)


Gutenberg-Institut für Weltliteratur und schriftorientierte Medien


Faculty 05: Philosophy and Philology


The accreditation of study programmes for Bachelor and Master Degrees constitutes as a precondition for the granting of state approval.

Subject Matter

While traditional philology limits its studies to the literature of one linguistic area, the objective of comparative literature is to combine literary texts regardless of whether they belong to various national literatures. These can be relationships that are based on historical contact between literatures, as well as typological similarities that link various literatures regardless of their specific contact with one another. Besides historical issues, systematic and theoretical issues are covered; in addition to Comparative Literature, General Literature is therefore the second largest field in Comparative Studies.

In the era of globalization, which has not only resulted in an ever-increasing interconnectedness in the economy and politics but also in the field of culture, comparative studies has a newfound sense of urgency. Its major theme is the internationality of literature using the methodological principle of interdisciplinarity. It not only combines the individual fields of philology but also involves issues relating to cultural and media studies.

The Master's program in Comparative Studies at the University of Mainz draws its unique profile from within the German university landscape by emphasizing the current research fields of intertextuality, interculturalism, intermediality as well as those in the area of literary theory. The University of Mainz is currently the only university in Germany where Comparative Studies has made these main areas into an integrative concept. Compared to literary Bachelor's degrees that focus primarily on imparting basic literary knowledge and skills for future careers, the Master's program in Comparative Studies is characterized by a stronger orientation toward research.

In contrast to the Bachelor's program in European Literature, the Master's program also includes a broad spectrum of literary relationships; its main area of study is world literature. At the University of Mainz, emphasis is placed on western, central and southern European literatures, as well as the literatures of North and South America from the 18th to the 21st centuries, with a core area spanning Romantic literature to literature of the present day.

With its specializations, the Master's program focuses on the main issues of present-day comparative studies. The debate of "intertextuality" directs attention toward the various ways in which literary texts can be combined. The "intercultural" aspect of literature sheds light on issues of cultural identity/alterity, the representation of the foreigner, the hybridization of cultures, and migration as both literary and socio-cultural phenomena. In addition, literature is closely related to and involves other arts and media, but it also competes with them: The "Intermediality" specialization takes this into account. The relationship of literature to painting, music and sculpture, as well as more recent media such as photography and film, is examined. It provides an insight into the changing historical position of literature within the context of the arts and the media, as well as the basic mediality of cultural processes.

In addition to Comparative Literature, which tends to be more historical, the systematic and theoretical methods of General Literature make up the second largest field of activity in Comparative Studies. Literary issues of a theoretical nature therefore also assume an important position at the University of Mainz, as they also form the conceptual framework for dealing with topics in the area of intertextuality, interculturality and intermediality.

Master entrance requirements

  • Proof of a Bachelor's degree in the form of either completion of JGU's Bachelor's degree in Comparative Studies/European Literature, a Bachelor's degree from another university in General and Comparative Literature (Comparative Studies), a Bachelor's degree with a major in foreign language philology or a Bachelor's degree in philology of literature in two different languages.
  • In addition to mastering German, the ability to read in English and another Romance, Slavic or Scandinavian language is a requirement; in individual cases, other literary languages may be approved. Unless proven otherwise (e.g. by completing a previous Bachelor's degree program), the applicant's reading ability will be examined by two translation examinations in the first semester. If the applicant cannot provide proof of reading ability, it must be repeated within six weeks; otherwise, they will not be admitted to the second semester.
  • Proof of proficiency in the German language to the level of the "German Language Proficiency Examination for Admission to Higher Education for Foreign Applicants (DSH)" is required for foreign applicants from non-German-speaking countries.


The International Office offers counselling for international students about the application process and general information.

The Academic Advisory Office offers specific information on the subject (List available in German only).

The Student representatives give information from a student perspective (List available in German only).