Study modes: Full-time, Part-time
Programme website: French
A Masters by Research (MScR) programme is ideal if you have a clear idea of the independent research you wish to undertake at masters level. This programme is designed to enable students who have taken a first degree in French to specialise in an aspect of French or Francophone literature or culture, while acquiring core skills in theories and methods of study.
The programme is a good stepping stone to a PhD, but is equally of value as a stand-alone qualification. As a Masters by Research student, you will be part of a wider masters community while specialising in what most interests you right from the beginning of the programme. This is how it is different to a taught Masters (MSc).
French has been taught here since 1894, making it one of the first European languages to be offered at Edinburgh. We specialise in the language, literatures and cultures of France and the many countries around the world in which French is spoken.
Join our community and undertake two research assignments, and a 15,000-word dissertation, under the guidance of an experienced and well-published supervisor. 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.
In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), our research was submitted in Modern Languages. The results reaffirm Edinburgh’s position as one of the UK’s leading research universities - third in the UK based on the quality and breadth of its research in Modern Languages according to Times Higher Education's REF power ratings.
Our research expertise covers a wide range of areas, including:
- Adaptation studies
- Contemporary politics and institutions
- Film studies
- Theatre studies
- Intermediality studies
- Black studies
- Women’s and gender studies
- Francophone and post-colonial studies
- French thought
- Literature from the Middle Ages to the present day
- Translation studies
- Word and image
This programme is delivered and assessed through:
- two 20-credit courses on research skills, methods and problems
- two 40-credit supervised research assignments
- one 60-credit supervised 15,000 word dissertation
This programme includes 40 credits of training on research skills, methods and problems.
Between the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC), the Careers Service and the Institute for Academic Development (IAD), you will find a further range of programmes and resources to help you develop your postgraduate skills.
You will also have access to the University’s fantastic libraries, collections and worldwide strategic partnerships.
As part of our research community, you will be immersed in a world of knowledge exchange, with lots of opportunities to share ideas, learning and creative work.
Activities range from a regular seminar series in European Languages and Cultures (with talks by staff, research students and visiting speakers), to film screenings and workshops, including those organised by the Centre de recherches francophones belges and the Diaspolinks research network.
Our graduates tell us that they value LLC’s friendliness, the connections they make here and the in-depth guidance they receive from our staff, who are published experts in their field.
The Main University Library holds academic books, journals and databases, including over 118,500 books and 25,500 journals in French, as well as films, newspapers and other media.
The Library is also the home of the University's Centre for Research Collections which brings together:
- more than 400,000 rare books
- six kilometres of archives and manuscripts
- thousands of works of art, historical musical instruments and other objects
Many of our Special Collections are digitised and available online from our excellent Resource Centre, Computing Labs, and dedicated Masters study space in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC).
In the city
As a research student at Edinburgh, you will be based in a world-leading festival city with fantastic cinemas, theatres, galleries, museums, and collections.
Many of the city’s resources are located close to the University's Central Area, making them very easy to access when you are on campus. For example, the National Library of Scotland is less than one km from our School. It has one of the best French collections in the UK.
You will also have membership of the Institut Français d’Ecosse, a major centre of French culture.
Edinburgh’s French film scene is particularly strong, with an annual French Film Festival and plenty to see throughout the year.
Most of the city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the Old Town retaining many of its medieval buildings and streets.
These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.
You should have near-native speaker competence in French.
MScR: A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a related subject.
Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:
English language requirements
You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.
English language tests
We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:
- IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
- TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
- C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
- Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
- PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.
Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
Degrees taught and assessed in English
We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:
We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).
If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.
Find out more about our language requirements:
If you have been domiciled in Scotland for a minimum of four years, you may be eligible for a Muriel Smith Scholarship to study on this programme. The award covers tuition fees for a maximum of one year at the Home/EU rate.
If you are a current student or graduate of the University of Edinburgh, you are also eligible to apply for a John Orr Research Award. This award of £2,300 per annum is for masters research in any Romance literature, language or dialect.
*(Revised 9 March 2023 to add in featured funding information.)
UK government postgraduate loans
If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)
Other funding opportunities
Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:
This programme is not currently accepting applications. Applications for the next intake usually open in October.
Start date: September
Awards: MScR (12 mth FT, 24 mth PT)
If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.
The online application process involves the completion of a web form and the submission of supporting documents.
For a Masters by Research programme, you should include:
- a sample of written work of about 3,000 words (this can be a previous piece of work from an undergraduate degree)
- a research proposal - an outline of your proposed area of study, helping us gain a clearer picture of what you hope to achieve
See our guidance:
Before you apply, you should look at the interests and expertise of our research community on the programme website. This will help you decide if this programme is right for you and your supervision needs.
Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes: