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Research degrees in French



See also: the website for the Department of French

The French department is a vigorous research environment, which performed strongly in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise. Staff are involved in vital research across a wide variety of areas and there are opportunities for research students and the staff of the Department to present their developing ideas and research findings in the framework of departmental workshop sessions. In addition to the research training provided by the Faculty in the Humanities and Social Sciences, there are subject- specific sessions, tailored to the research training needs of individuals.

Applicants can compete for College studentships.

The Department of French is interested in receiving applications from prospective PhD students across a wide range of areas. The Department has particular research strengths in the following areas:

Research areas

New Critical Approaches to the Novel

Several members of the Department work on the novel, covering the Seventeenth to the Twenty-First Centuries, and including Francophone literature of the Maghreb and Francophone fiction for children. They engage with narrative theory, representations of social and cultural difference, and the relationships between literary and popular culture.

Word and image

Two key areas: intersections between Dada and Surrealist art, literature and thought; the work of contemporary women writers and artists.

Modern French Theory and Cultural Studies

Contemporary women's writing and art, feminist theory, French colonial culture (in North Africa and the Caribbean), and representations of the exotic.

Intellectual history

Philosophical, religious, and political ideas from the late Sixteenth to the late Eighteenth Century; relationships between these and literary texts.

French Cinema and Media

Key periods in French cinema (1930s, New Wave, 1980s, 1990s); contemporary women's filmmaking; theoretical approaches (psychoanalysis, ethics); central aspects of cinema (set design, genre, spectatorship).


Research in the department is centred on sociolinguistics, with a particular expertise in the following areas:

  • Language and national identity in France, Quebec and Sweden
  • Languages planning
  • Language attitudes
  • Variation in French
  • Language in the European Union
  • Languages and globalisation

Entry requirements

For entry at PhD level, we would normally expect candidates to have an MA or equivalent. The School accepts students for a research degree leading to a PhD of the University of London. Applicants for this degree are accepted on the basis of previous academic performance and subject to the availability of a member of staff to supervise their work. We welcome applications from home and overseas students. As a prospective students are advised to consult a potential supervisor with a draft research proposal before submitting a formal application. You should also include a relevant piece of written work showing your potential for carrying out high level research in your subject area (preferably a final-year undergraduate or MA dissertation), with your application. Completed applications should be sent to the Admissions and Recruitment Office at Queen Mary.

Please also refer to the How to apply section.

For international students, please refer to the International students section on this website.

Further information

Please contact:
Professor Edward Hughes
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8308

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