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This interdisciplinary programme at the Estonian Institute of Humanities, Tallinn University, integrates Comparative Literature and Cultural Semiotics. Comparative Literature investigates literary and other texts across national and genre boundaries. Cultural Semiotics, a field with strong traditions in Estonia, gives further tools to analyse texts as voices in cultural communication. The programme combines theoretical courses (e.g. Genre Studies, Semiotics of Literary Space, Postcolonial Theory) with courses in particular literatures and cultures. It includes a large proportion of elective courses, together with supervisory guidance, in order to enable students to follow their individual intellectual pursuits and research interests.

Reasons to choose this programme

Besides a wide range of more usual options, students can study the cultures specifically connected to Estonia: Estonian, Russian, Baltic-German. Another noteworthy strength of the programme is Asian and Middle Eastern Studies offered by the specialist department at the Estonian Institute of Humanities.

Estonia takes special pride in its talents and heritage in Cultural Semiotics. The Estonian Institute of Humanities houses the unique collection of the Estonian Semiotics Repository Foundation that includes the private library and archives of Yuri Lotman and Zara Mints.

Opportunities after graduation

Graduates will be equipped to work in any area that requires strong skills in writing and critical reading, knowledge of languages, different cultures, and mechanisms of cultural interaction. For example, it would facilitate a career in education, cultural diplomacy, media, governance or publishing. The graduates will also be prepared to continue their studies on a PhD level. If desired, we help students find relevant internship opportunities (e.g. teaching, publishers, international academic events), so they can explore their interests and preferences even while studying.

The curriculum combines theoretical and critical training with in-depth immersion in particular cultural and literary traditions. It includes a large proportion of elective courses, together with supervisory guidance, in order to enable the students to follow their individual intellectual pursuits and research interests.

Comparative Literature invites its students to investigate literary and other texts across national, cultural and linguistic boundaries, historical periods, and disciplines.Cultural semiotics, a field of inquiry with strong historical tradition in Estonia, studies the patterns in which human beings create and interpret meanings.Thus it offers an additional good set of tools to view literary texts as voices in the varied processes of cultural communication.

Program requirements

Master level (MA) applicants are required to have completed a Bachelors degree or the equivalent. A research Master's program is a training course in advanced work. The candidate learns the basics of research and new techniques under close supervision, and the resulting thesis should make an original contribution to the field of study. MA Degree Programs take two years to complete.The entrance examination for the M.A. Programme in Cultural Semiotics and Comparative Literature is in the format of an interview that aims to get to know the applicants, their motivation and eligibility. Part of the interview will focus on the applicant’s projected master’s thesis. The interview will be held in English. If an applicant has a significant problem in travelling to Tallinn for the interview, an alternative form of interview can be agreed upon.Scholarships will be awarded based on the entrance interview results. English Language Requirements IELTS band: 6.5 TOEFL paper-based test score : 548 TOEFL iBT® test: 90

The Estonian Institute of Humanities offers 4 departmental scholarships covering the tuition fee during the standard period of study.

More information about the scholarships can be found here:

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