Undergraduate study - 2024 entry
Edinburgh. Extraordinary futures await.

MA French and History of Art

UCAS code: RV13

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA French and History of Art

French is a major world language, spoken in many parts of Europe, Africa and the Americas.

The language is your gateway to a great many cultural and artistic movements from around the globe.

Studying French and History of Art helps us understand the contemporary world, while shedding light on the past.

During your time with us, you will gain the skills to talk and write in French on a range of issues relating to France and the Francophone world, including its visual and material culture.

French

At Edinburgh, you will study the French language in the context of the diverse countries, cultures and societies in which it is spoken.

Over the course of your four-year programme, which includes a year abroad, you will have the opportunity to acquire near-native fluency in French.

We will introduce you to the extraordinary richness and variety of the Francophone world through the study of:

  • literature and cinema
  • political history and social movements
  • philosophical ideas

Our courses cover material from the Middle Ages to the 21st Century and include specialist options taught by leading experts in key disciplines, including post-colonial studies and gender studies.

History of Art

Beyond the Francophone world, History of Art will introduce you to art from different periods and cultures around the globe.

You will learn how, and for whom, works of art were made. You will also explore their meaning and discover the ways in which they can be interpreted.

Why Edinburgh

As a world-leading festival city, Edinburgh is a fantastic place to study a global language in its cultural context. Its highlights include the four National Galleries of Scotland, and outstanding French holdings in the National Library of Scotland.

We are unique in Scotland in offering students a full academic year abroad within the four-year honours programme, regardless of whether you spend the year studying or working.

Our programme is flexible. In Years 1 and 2, as well as studying French and History of Art, you will choose option courses from a wide range of disciplines. You will then specialise as you progress through your honours years.

When you graduate, you will have the combination of broad cultural education and specialist knowledge valued by employers worldwide.

One of the most attractive characteristics of this four-year programme is its flexibility.

In Years 1 and 2, your pre-honours years, you will choose option courses from a wide range of disciplines in addition to your core subjects of French and History of Art.

As well as broadening your education and skill set, this may enable you to change the focus of your programme in Years 3 and 4, your honours years.

Year 1

French

If you have a limited knowledge of French, you will take French 1A, an intensive language course that also introduces you to French culture.

If you have studied French beyond National 5 (SQA) or GCSE level, you will typically take French 1B. As well as developing your written and spoken language skills, this course focuses on modern French literature, culture and civilisation.

We will introduce you to the extraordinary richness and variety of one of the world's great civilisations by focusing on social and political events from the Second World War to the 21st century.

These include:

  • resistance and collaboration
  • the Fifth Republic
  • May 1968
  • feminism
  • colonisation and decolonisation

History of Art

You will study History of Art 1. This course covers the period from the fall of the Roman Empire until the end of the Counter-Reformation. It will include non-western material.

Option courses

You will complete your Year 1 studies with option courses chosen from a wide range offered by the University of Edinburgh.

You can, for example, opt to study another language. We offer one of the widest ranges of languages of any UK university. The majority are suitable for complete beginners and include cultural study.

Other options include, but are not limited to, courses in:

  • linguistics and language sciences
  • business, economics and informatics
  • politics, social policy and social anthropology
  • art and architectural history
  • history, classics and archaeology
  • Celtic and Scottish ethnology
  • philosophy, divinity and law

Year 2

French

You will further develop your language skills in French, including in writing, translation and grammar. You will gain confidence talking in French on a variety of topics relating to contemporary France and the Francophone world.

You will take a course in French and Francophone literature and culture. This course will introduce you to the most important authors at key points in French literary and cultural history, from the 12th to the 21st century.

You will study work by Montaigne, Racine, Molière and Baudelaire alongside texts that have been considered marginal to French culture for reasons of gender or colonial politics.

History of Art

You will take History of Art 2, which begins with the 18th century and continues to the present day.

Option courses

As in Year 1, you will choose from a range of option courses.

These option courses include a great selection in European languages and cultures that explore literature, film and theatre in themed and comparative contexts.

Typical options include:

  • Cultural Responses to War
  • Migration, Exile, Diaspora
  • Crime and Detection in Literature
  • Gender and Culture
  • The Coming-of-Age Narrative
  • Introduction to European Cinema
  • Dynamics of Language and Power
  • Languages Beyond University

You will also have the chance to take a course in the Politics and Institutions of Contemporary France.

Year 3

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 in France or a French-speaking country, turning classroom learning into living engagement with Francophone culture.

You will either study or do a work placement, such as working as a teaching assistant in a school.

Whether studying or working, our graduates have told us how much the year abroad has benefited their broader life experience and skills, as well as their understanding of the French language and Francophone culture.

During your year abroad, we will aim to ensure your experience is as beneficial as possible to your final year, as well as to your wider language learning, cultural awareness and skills development.

You will complete prescribed work in both History of Art and French. For example, for French you will take an e-learning language course which will count as part of your Year 3 mark and prepare you for your Year 4 French courses.

If international travel is not possible, you will be offered an alternative means of engaging with your subjects, enabling you to meet your learning outcomes and preparing you for your final year.

Year 4

You will develop advanced language skills in spoken and written French.

You will also choose from a wide range of specialist, honours-level courses in both French and History of Art.

Building on all the knowledge and skills you have developed over four years, including in independent research, you will complete a dissertation or long essay.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2023/24)

Our facilities

On campus

When you are on campus, you can expect to spend most of your time in the University of Edinburgh's Central Area - in class, in the library, at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), or in one of the University’s many social and support spaces.

The Central Area is located on the edge of Edinburgh's historic Old Town, surrounded by lots of green space.

Libraries and collections

The Main University Library holds academic books, journals and databases, films, newspapers and other media. Its holdings include over 118,500 books and 25,500 journals in French, and significant resources for the study of History of Art. There are a further two libraries in ECA.

The Library's Centre for Research Collections is unique in the UK. It brings together a collection of more than 400,000 rare books, six kilometres of archives and manuscripts, and over 8,000 works of art collected over 400 years. Highlights include:

  • the Torrie Collection of Dutch ‘Golden Age’ landscape painting and Italian bronze sculpture
  • the Contemporary Art Research Collection, which takes globalisation as its central theme, setting a specific focus on women's experience
Centres for research, teaching and outreach

Established in 1995, our Centre de recherches francophones belges promotes the teaching of francophone Belgian literature, and hosts a range of activities for students and the public. Since 2018, the Centre has been partnering with Wallonie-Bruxelles International (WBI) to bring Francophone Belgian culture to Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

We also play a key role in the Diaspolinks network, with brings together researchers with a shared interest in the growing field of Diaspora Studies, especially anglophone and francophone diasporas. The international network is unique in comparing the various diasporic communities’ responses to issues of identity, belonging and relocation in the context of British, French and Canadian immigration policies.

Events and activities

The Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) supports more than 300 student-led societies and clubs, including the History of Art Society.

From acting to dancing, making friends in language cafes to campaigning on global issues, these student-led groups offer lots of ways to explore your subjects, interests and talents socially.

The French theatre society - Les Escogriffes - typically stages a play in French each year, with opportunities to direct, act, produce and promote.

If you love to write, our online creative writing magazine Babble is the place to publish your:

  • prose
  • poetry
  • drama
  • non-fiction, including film and exhibition reviews

Babble goes out twice a year and includes work written in French and eight other European languages. You can get involved in the editorial committee, and launch nights typically include readings and performances.

In the city

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections.

The city's resources for studying languages and cultures are exceptional, and its world cinema scene is particularly strong.

Many national collections are located close to the University's Central Area, making them easy to access between classes. Highlights include the National Library of Scotland, which has one of the best French collections in the UK.

There are fantastic medieval, Renaissance and modern collections in the four National Galleries of Scotland, including many notable works by French and Francophone artists.

There is plenty to see and do throughout the year, including a rich programme of cultural events at the nearby Institut français d'Ecosse.

As well as the city's main summer festivals, the Edinburgh French Film Festival and Africa in Motion bring the latest and best francophone cinema to Edinburgh each winter. There are also various food festivals.

Most of the city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the Old Town retaining many of its medieval buildings and streets.

Study abroad

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 (a minimum of 30 weeks) in a French-speaking country.

This is your chance to immerse yourself in Francophone culture. It will allow you to develop broader life experience and skills that you can use after university.

How will I learn?

University is a place to plan your own goals under expert guidance, study independently and in groups, and reflect upon your learning throughout your degree.

Our approach to learning and teaching is active, inclusive and question driven, so it may be different to your experiences at school. It will help you gain the skills for life after university, and we will guide you through the steps from one phase to the next.

Depending on the size of your year group, and which option courses you take, your classes will typically fall into three categories:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • seminars

For History of Art, some of these classes will take place in museums and galleries.

As well as classes, to get the most out of your courses, you will need to read widely.

We make extensive use of our audio and visual resources, and you will also be encouraged to use online materials.

Lectures

Lectures are taken by all students on a course, typically at the same time. They are delivered as interactive presentations which may involve audio-visual material.

Lectures are given by an experienced academic. They are designed to guide you through the background, questions and debates related to the topic you are studying.

Tutorials

Tutorial groups are smaller. They are also led by an academic, but here the emphasis is more on what you think about the topic yourself. So, tutorials are your chance to discuss and expand upon what you have learned in a lecture.

Language tutorials give you the opportunity to develop your linguistic skills in a range of real-world tasks under the supervision of an experienced language teacher.

These classes typically cover skills such as reading, writing, listening and speaking – all of which involve learning and applying grammar.

Seminars

Seminars blend features of lectures and tutorials. Again, they are designed to encourage and enable your active participation in learning.

On some courses, you will have seminars instead of lectures, especially in your honours years (Years 3 and 4).

Support

As well as the teaching and other staff you will meet day-to-day, there are lots of ways to get help with your learning, including through the University’s Institute for Academic Development (IAD).

Additionally, the Students’ Association facilitates a peer support scheme for French, bringing together students across year groups to help each other with specific study skills, topics or themes.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a combination of coursework and exams.

Coursework is generally completed throughout the year, while exams take place at the end of a teaching block.

Coursework may take a range of forms to give you the opportunity to practice different skills. For example, you may be asked to:

  • write an essay, review, blog post, opinion piece or learning journal
  • respond to a piece of writing, film, or other media, including through close reading
  • give a short talk or presentation
  • record a podcast or video
  • design a poster or presentation

Exams will include oral exams to test your spoken language skills.

Depending on where you go and what you do on your Year Abroad, Year 3 may include being assessed, in part, by a host university.

In your final year, you will also complete a dissertation or long essay.

Skills and experience

Combining the study of a language with History of Art demonstrates that you are a good communicator, and someone open to other cultures and new ideas – what employers value as Intercultural Competence.

Beyond the language skills you will develop, you will also gain a nuanced understanding of other cultures and societies throughout history.

Graduating with a four-year Master of Arts degree from the University of Edinburgh shows intellectual maturity, resilience, and flexibility.

The skills you will be able to demonstrate to employers when you graduate include the ability to:

  • understand, analyse and articulate complex issues and concepts
  • manage your time to meet deadlines on different types of project
  • work independently and as part of a group

Opportunities across sectors

This joint honours programme is an ideal primer for a career in:

  • publishing, culture, heritage and the arts

Your language and humanities skills will also open many other doors. As well as the cultural sector, previous graduates have gone on to work in:

  • business, finance and commerce
  • communications, marketing, advertising and public relations
  • education, outreach, advocacy and training
  • journalism, broadcasting and media
  • leisure, tourism and travel
  • politics, policy work, diplomacy, civil service and law
  • research, development and venture acceleration
  • translating and interpreting

Careers span the private, public, not-for-profit, and for-benefit sectors.

Home and away

With increasing migration in response to changing global dynamics, there is demand for our graduates both at home and abroad.

Wherever you are based in the world, the ability to communicate in another world language, and to understand the cultures to which it opens doors, will make you stand out.

If you are keen to work abroad, it’s good to know that French is a major language of international communication, one of the most widely spoken in the world, particularly in Europe, Africa and the Americas.

As one of our graduates, you will be well-placed to seek opportunities in the 29 countries where French is an official language, and the many multinational companies and institutions for which it is a working language, including the European Commission.

Further study

The enhanced research skills you will develop on a four-year programme, particularly in your honours years, are a valuable asset if you wish to continue studying at postgraduate level.

At the University of Edinburgh, we typically offer Masters by Research degrees in:

  • French
  • History of Art
  • Collections and Curating Practices

These programmes are a good stepping stone to a PhD, but are equally of value as stand-alone qualifications.

Our interdisciplinary taught MSc programmes typically include:

  • Comparative Literature
  • Intermediality
  • Translation Studies
  • History of Art, Theory and Display
  • Modern and Contemporary Art

Careers advice

Throughout your time with us, we will encourage you to identify and hone your employability skills.

LLC has a dedicated Careers Consultant within the University's excellent Careers Service.

Through our careers service, you can:

  • book one-to-one appointments and practice interviews
  • access a range of online resources
  • attend themed fairs such as the Creative and Cultural Careers Festival

Popular peer support includes Life After LLC, a panel event where you can draw inspiration from our recent graduates.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAB by end of S5 or AAAA by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAA.
  • IB: 37 points with 666 at HL - 34 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: a language other than English at B. National 5s: French at B and English at C.
  • A Levels: a language other than English at B. GCSEs: French at B or 6 and English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: a language other than English at 5. SL: French at 5 and English at 5.

Additional requirements

Language requirement

For degrees that have a subject requirement of a language other than English, students may not use their own native language to meet this requirement. In these instances, English or an alternative language other than native will be acceptable.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

SQA, GCSE and IB

For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.

(Revised 29 August 2023 to remove PTE Academic Online)

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA French and History of Art

Additional costs

As long as international restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad. The costs incurred will depend on where you decide to go, and how you spend your time.

Some study placements at language schools may charge a fee, but we will normally reimburse you for tuition costs as long as your activity has been approved. You will be responsible for associated travel costs such as flights and visas.

Funding

For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding