Postgraduate study


Awards: PhD, MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: French

We offer supervision for the PhD, MPhil and MSc by Research degrees in most areas of French cultural studies.

The PhD and MPhil degrees allow you to pursue a research topic in depth and produce a substantial thesis.

The MSc by Research programme is designed to enable students who have taken a first degree in French to specialise in an aspect of French literature or culture which interests them, while acquiring core skills in theories and methods of study applicable to their topic.

Students spend the first half of the degree programme doing preliminary research and writing two essays on their chosen field of study, while following a taught course according to their specialisation. They then write a dissertation, on a topic agreed with their supervisor.

French at the University of Edinburgh has enjoyed a consistently excellent record in research and publications, confirmed in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, which ranked 55% of our research as world leading or internationally excellent.

Language, to us, is inseparable from culture. As such, we encourage you to think broadly and explore the implications of language in a wider perspective. Our research expertise covers a wide range of areas including:

  • adaptation studies
  • contemporary politics and institutions.
  • film studies
  • Francophone and post-colonial studies
  • French thought
  • literature from the Middle Ages to the present day
  • self-writing
  • translation studies
  • word and image
  • word and music

All research students follow a core course in Theory and Methods of Literary Study plus a course of research training, which includes bibliographic skills, project development and dissertation and thesis writing. You will participate in regular research seminars run by French, Film Studies, European Theatre and Translation Studies.

As a member of our dynamic and enterprising postgraduate research community, you will have access to a comprehensive range of resources, including world-class libraries (the National Library of Scotland holds one of the best French collections in the UK), membership of the Institut Français d’Ecosse, and access to a number of specialised facilities, such as the Centre de Recherches Francophones Belges which hosts a regular programme of talks and conferences.

MScR: A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a related subject.

PhD: A UK 2:1 honours degree and a masters degree, or their international equivalents, in a related subject. We may also consider your application if you have equivalent qualifications or experience; please check with your potential supervisor before you apply.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 61 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • Graduate School
  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • Room 1.13, 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit two references with your application.

In addition to the supporting documents requested on the application form, Masters by Research applicants should include an outline of their proposed area of study; PhD applicants should include a full research proposal.

Before you apply, we strongly recommend that you discuss your research proposal by email with a prospective supervisor.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Graduate School
  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • Room 1.13, 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH