World 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.)

Philology of a foreign language - please see Master entrance requirements for further details


Institut für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft


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

Globalization has not only resulted in increasing interlinking within the worlds of business and politics but also in greater assimilations in the field of culture. The internationalization of literature is now a quite apparent phenomenon. Just as in the case of cultures, literatures can no longer be thought of as self-contained, fully autonomous units regardless of how much they are defined by their individual language. Literary works are implicitly or explicitly linked to literary texts in other languages, have an impact in foreign language or foreign cultural spheres or find their inspiration here, draw from an international pool of materials, subjects, motifs, processes and forms and are influenced by the extensive global discourse and developments in aesthetic and non-aesthetic domains - particularly today - and cannot be defined in terms of national, cultural or linguistic boundaries. Ever more literary texts are being created that are positioned within an international context and are expressly designed to represent a contribution to intercultural literary communication in our global society.

The interdisciplinary Master’s degree program World Literature offered by Faculty 05: Philosophy and Philology at Mainz examines these trends. Cooperation between the disciplines of General and Comparative Literature, the various branches of philology of the faculty and Book Studies has made this program possible. The various core areas of Comparative Literature as studied in Mainz - central and western European literature, North and South American literature - are thus supplemented by British Studies, Slavic Studies, Oriental Studies ( including Turkish Literature) and Indology in the fields of anglophone, Oriental and Asian literatures. Book Studies also addresses the material- and media-related factors (e.g. book printing, e-book etc.) as well the socio-economic conditions (e.g. internationally active publishers with their products and distribution networks orientated towards a world market), that essentially provide for and make possible world literature as manifested in the circulation of concepts and texts outside their area of origin.

The degree course differs from the Bachelor's degree program European Literature at Mainz in that the area of study is considerably extended. A more intensive consideration of intercultural aspects that gain in importance as they are not only relevant to Europe but to the whole global context. The program differs from the Master's degree program Comparative Literature at Mainz as it includes the study of foreign literatures and places sharper focus on the theoretical aspects of world literature. It compensates for this by eschewing the study of the inter-medial components (comparative arts, inter-media etc.) that forms the core of the Comparative Literature course.

Master entrance requirements

  1. Applicants must hold a Bachelor's degree or an equivalent degree awarded by an institute ofhigher education in Germany or abroad. Qualifications may take the form of a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature/European Literature (major or minor) awarded by Mainz University, a Bachelor's degree in General and Comparative Literature awarded by another university, a Bachelor's degree in Foreign Language Philology (major; or minor in the case of Indology and Turkish Studies), a Bachelor's degree in Philology of literature in two different languages or a Bachelor's degree in Book Studies (major) with Foreign Language Philology as a minor.
  2. Language requirements: The program language is German; applicants will be assumed to be ­proficient in English and at least one other modern foreign language of a subject that is part of the program. Unless this proficiency is demonstrated in another form (e.g. by the Bachelor's degree certificate), program participants will be required to sit two translation exams in their first semester. Program participants who are unable to provide satisfactory evidence of proficiency will have 6 weeks to acquire this; otherwise, they will not be permitted to progress to the second semester of the program. The individual philology subjects involved in the program may also specify specific language requirements for the attendance of their modules (see section F. Module overview).


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).