Beyond the intensive study of the French language, French Studies at Edinburgh allows you to explore the exciting contribution of French speakers to world culture. Some of the most striking literary texts ever written are in French, French cinema is one of the world’s richest and Paris has long been the centre of the art world. French political and philosophical ideas have played a central role in creating our modern civilisation. As a large subject area, the French Section at Edinburgh can offer undergraduates a wide range of courses spanning from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century, including specialist options in literature, film and politics taught by leading specialists in their field.
There are high-quality resources to support French students in Edinburgh: in the most recent RAE, 55% of research in French Section was rated as 4* world-leading or 3* internationally excellent. The National Library of Scotland has one of the best French collections in Britain and the University Library holds a very extensive collection of books, journals and electronic resources. Edinburgh is home to the Institut Francais d’Ecosse which runs regular lectures, films, exhibitions and concerts related to French culture. You will also have the opportunity to join the successful French drama group Les Escogriffes, which has performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. You will spend a year working or studying in France as part of your degree. You may attend a university, work as a language assistant in a school, or gain work experience independently. The French Section has numerous exchange programmes (through Erasmus) with prestigious universities and Grandes Ecoles in France and Belgium (Paris IV Sorbonne, Paris Dauphine, Institut d’Etudes Politiques Lyon, Rennes and Grenoble, Université Libre de Bruxelles, etc.), which provide high quality courses.
Philosophy has been at the core of Western intellectual life for at least 2,500 years and it is central to our understanding of the world and of our place in and interaction with it. Philosophy provides the tools whereby the presuppositions of all areas of intellectual and practical activity may be systematically and critically examined. While there are different approaches that philosophers have taken, characteristic of Philosophy is the emphasis on the use of argument, critical enquiry, rigour in reasoning, and clarity of expression, including the making of pertinent distinctions.
The University has a strong historic connection to the subject, counting Adam Ferguson and Sir William Hamilton among its former students. Edinburgh has one of the UK’s largest Philosophy departments and the Philosophy Society attracts high-profile speakers. The course at Edinburgh is structured in such a way that students cover the basics of Western Philosophy and have the opportunity to specialize in the areas of most interest.