Doctoral study in Comparative Literature

Why study with us?

Our postgraduate programme in Comparative Literature is the only one of its kind in New Zealand. You can study the literatures of two or more cultures in their original languages within a broad, comparative framework and research across different cultures and disciplines.

As a doctoral candidate, you'll benefit from financial support for research expenses through PReSS funding, high-calibre supervision practices, and the networks and expertise of our world-class academic researchers.

Research opportunities

We have expertise in a wide range of research areas, with particular strengths in cross-cultural encounter.

You can pursue PhD research in areas such as:

  • Comparative literature
  • Comparative cultural studies
  • Cross-cultural encounters
  • Literatures of contact
  • Literature and the other arts (theatre, film, performance)
  • Language and literature
  • Literary theory

Solid PhD research proposals in other areas may also be considered.

Our people

Comparative Literature draws upon the expertise of staff in the School of Cultures, Languages and Linguistics and across the Faculty of Arts:

Classical Studies and Ancient History

Dr Maxine Lewis | Associate Professor Marcus Wilson


Dr Rina Kim | Professor Helen Sword | Professor Lisa Samuels | Professor Joanne Wilkes


Associate Professor Deborah Walker-Morrison | Dr Trudy Agar | Associate Professor Tracy Adams


Dr Nicole Perry | Dr Stephan Resch


Professor Bernadette Luciano

Media, Film and Television

Professor Laurence Simmons


Professor Christine Arkinstall

Past research topics

  • "Anatomy of murder and rape: A comparative study of crime writing by Chi Zijian, Alice Sebold, A Yi and Ian McEwan" | Supervised by Associate Professor Mark Amsler, Dr Melissa Inouye, Dr Hilary Chung and Dr Ruth Diver
  • "A comparative study of physician-writers’ representations of what makes a good doctor" | Supervised by Dr Hilary Chung and Associate Professor Michael Hanne
  • "A comparative study of Shen Congwen and Witi Ihimaera as Indigenous writers" | Supervised by Associate Professor Michael Hanne and Dr Hilary Chung
  • "Houses and horror: A sociocultural study of Spanish and American women writers" | Supervised by Dr Jan Cronin and Professor Christine Arkinstall
  • "Toward a Latin American irony: English intertextuality and the transnational reception of Machado de Assis and Borges" | Supervised by Dr Kathryn Lehman and Dr Ruth Diver

Scholarships and awards

There are several scholarships you may be eligible for when you decide to pursue your PhD in Comparative Literature:

Help and advice

Our friendly staff will provide you with advice on enrolling in your PhD at Student Hubs.

If you would like to discuss your plans for your doctoral research you can contact our PhD Adviser.

Apply for doctoral study