University of Berne

University of Berne

World Literature


Länggassstrasse 49

Bern, Bern


Program Information

Degrees Offered:

Mono Master "World Literature"; Major Master "World Literature"; Minor Master "World Literature"., Master of Arts in "World Literature", PhD "World Literature"

Format: Campus

Program Description:

Are we to regard Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones' Diary, and J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series as being part of 'world literature'? Considering their global readership we certainly should, or not?

What do we mean when we use the omnipresent term 'world literature'? This term is so central to the book reviews in newspapers and culture magazines that we cannot picture them without it.

The Master programme World Literature focuses on the various meanings and contexts in which this evocative term is used, it examines its history and critically analyzes it: What is 'world literature'? Who decides what is meant by it? Which factors are important? Is there any point in continuing to use this contradictory concept?

This programme has been designed for students who are determined to critically examine conventional definitions of 'world literature' and to search for new ways in which to see the term in the context of a globalized and medialized world. Developing newer concepts of this term will allow us to adopt a multifaceted view of the cultural complexity of a globalized world as well as a more intensive inquiry into the questions and problems that result therefrom. These specifically include the complex processes of canon formation, the shifting referentiality of fictional texts, and the contexts of inter-cultural contact.

The Master programme World Literature concentrates on solid training in the fields of literary theory, cultural theory, and media and intermediality theory as well as providing space for methodological questions. The migration of genres and transcultural themes such as birth, death, and myth in regional/global contexts, culture transfer – transculturality, 'world literature' in the field of tension between orality and literality: these are all aspect


The study program is designed for students already holding a Bachelor's degree in a philological discipline (for example English/American, French or German Studies) as well as for students with a degree in the humanities or the social sciences.

International Student Requirements:

- good command of the German language: Depending on your selection of courses, lectures/courses are held in German or English, or one or more other languages. Prospective students applying for admission to a Master program are exempted from the German test. However, even if your course of study is mainly held in an other language than German, this is the main language spoken in Bern and therefore a lot of documents from the administration will always be in German. A good command of German is therefore highly recommended. The Centre for Language Competence of the University of Bern ( currently runs courses at levels A2 to C1 (from advanced beginners up to advanced level).

Facts & Figures

In State Tuition (per year): 1310 CHF

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