Tant que la lecture est pour nous l'initiatrice dont les clefs magiques nous ouvrent au fond de nous-mêmes la porte des demeures où nous n'aurions pas su pénétrer, son rôle dans notre vie est salutaire. (Marcel Proust, Sur la lecture)The Department

The French Department at Aberdeen provides a stimulating and supportive research environment within a very dynamic and friendly Department with a track record of excellence in research and a broad experience of postgraduate supervision.

The Department was ranked the leading French department in Scotland in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE2008), following its a 'starred five' (the highest possible rating) in RAE200. We offer a wide range of specialisation for postgraduate research, leading to the degrees of MLitt and PhD. All full-time staff are active in research and research-led teaching.

Members of the Department are closely involved in a number of recently established taught MLitt programmes in Visual Culture; in Early Modern Studies; and in Medieval Studies.

Main areas of research strength include

  • Modern Literature and Thought (Nadia Kiwan, Áine Larkin, Manon Mathias, Edward Welch)
  • Comparative Literature (Áine Larkin, Manon Mathias, Bruno Tribout)
  • Contemporary French Politics and Society (Nadia Kiwan)
  • Early Modern Literature and Thought (Alison Saunders, Bruno Tribout)
  • Medieval Studies (Glynn Hesketh)
  • French cinema (Katherine Groo, Bruno Tribout, Edward Welch)
  • Literature and Photography, with particular reference to Marcel Proust (Áine Larkin)
  • Women writers in French (Áine Larkin, Manon Mathias, Clémence O’Connor)
  • French Poetry (Clémence O’Connor)
  • Urban space and the cultural history of French modernity (Nadia Kiwan, Edward Welch)

  • Pierre Bourdieu and the sociology of culture (Nadia Kiwan, Edward Welch)

  • Migration and citizenship in contemporary France (Nadia Kiwan)

  • Photography and visual culture in modern France (Edward Welch)

  • Literature and the visual (Áine Larkin, Manon Mathias, Clémence O’Connor, Edward Welch)

We also welcome interdisciplinary research involving more than one Department: recent postgraduates have, for example, worked on topics combining French with Philosophy, English, Film and History of Art. The successful and popular MLitt in Comparative Literature, launched in 2007, was one of the first of its kind in the United Kingdom.

The College of Arts and Social Sciences provides an induction course for new research students, which all our postgraduates attend. Students have full access to the resources of the University library with its holdings of one and a quarter million items. The Library has excellent holdings in all fields of French Studies. Additionally, it has built up particularly rich resources in the areas of emblem studies, contemporary French theory and French-speaking Caribbean and African literature and culture. Students are provided with computing facilities and an email address, and all full-time postgraduates are normally offered office space with their own PC. They are also welcome to take part in the University's extensive Professional Development programmes of training courses and workshops covering areas as diverse as time management, web authoring, career planning etc.

Postgraduate degrees in French typically lead to careers in University teaching and research in this country or abroad (doctoral graduates have been appointed to lectureships in Florida, London, Dublin, Belfast, Trinidad and Sheffield), but they can equally lead to careers in, for example, academic administration, the civil service, the EU, international organisations, industry or the media.

Sources of Funding

The College of Arts and Social Sciences offers a range of competitive funding opportunities, including Research Project Award Schemes, and an open funding scheme. Students applying for a PhD in French are eligible to apply for the Isabella Middleton top-up scholarship in French. Some additional funding is available to support research and conference travel. Research students may be offered the opportunity to undertake a small amount of paid undergraduate teaching.