What is French studies?
French studies is the study of all things French – French language, French culture, French film, art, literature, philosophy and linguistics. It also involves learning about French-speaking parts of the world other than France, in Europe, Africa and North America.
Why study French at Queen Mary?
Queen Mary students not only learn about metropolitan France but about French as a global language and France’s role on the world stage. Learn about the kinds of French spoken in Canada or Mauritian creole with Dr Leigh Oakes, or study France’s colonial past in Africa with Professor Eddie Hughes. The department also has strengths in modern and contemporary literature and visual cultures (art, photography and film).
Alongside subjects related to French studies, you will study the French language to a high level of oral and written proficiency, with the help of a dynamic team of native-speaker language tutors.
We have received numerous education awards including Teacher of the Year and we pride ourselves on creating a welcoming, intellectually stimulating and supportive environment for our students. We have been ranked first in London for student satisfaction (NSS 2015, 94%).
A vibrant community
To complement their academic development, students of French are also encouraged to put their language skills to use through a vibrant programme of social activities organised by the Department throughout the year, including film events, theatre workshops and cafés philosophiques.
Aspiring journalists contribute to our successful student-run French language web-zine l’Hex. Future campaigners and politicians join the debating club. Last year our debating team triumphed at the national student French-language debating competition.
Keep up to date with French activities by signing up to our blog.
Knowledge of French will give you a distinct advantage on the job market, whether in the UK, in Europe – where French is an official and major working language of the EU – or internationally. As Britain negotiates its position in a fast-changing world, the future will increasingly belong to those who stand out because they master other languages.
The QMUL Model is devoted to giving our students the communication and critical thinking skills valued by employers. Our students have gone on to work in a diverse range of sectors including journalism, events management, the music industry, charities and the third sector, the corporate sector, arts organisations, accountancy and finance, the wine industry, and teaching.
Admire French paintings in the National Gallery, the Tate and the Wallace Collection; watch a French play at The Gate Theatre in Notting Hill; catch a Francophone Film Festival at your local Arts Cinema!
Queen Mary students can also benefit from the multitude of activities available in French throughout London, such as those organised by the Institut français and the monthly Soirées Pompette cabarets set up by a former student of the Department.
What do our students say?
'I had a brilliant time studying French at Queen Mary. The seminars were well run and interesting, and the lecturers were always willing to go the extra mile to support and engage with their students.' — Raluca, French and Politics
'Queen Mary is a great place to study French. My language skills improved enormously thanks to the constant and thorough attention I received from French seminar leaders at Queen Mary. Being a student in the French department has been a deeply enriching experience.' — Isabella, French
'Studying French at Queen Mary was an incredibly enjoyable experience. The breadth of subjects available introduced me to people, films and books that I loved studying. Reinforced by the passionate and engaging staff, my degree was both enriching and invaluable.' — James, French and Comparative Literature
'The French Department provides a friendly and personal learning environment. I was taught by some truly inspiring people and their dedication to and enthusiasm for their subjects was catching! The analytical and critical skills I learned at Queen Mary have been invaluable in my further study.' — Matilda, French and Politics
'QMUL's French department is warm, friendly and dedicated. The classes offered are of an excellent standard. My Erasmus year in Reunion Island was an unforgettable part of my course.' — Sarah, French and Politics
‘The insight that I got into literature, history, philosophy and art from modules including Out of Place: Literature and Dislocation and French Feminist Writing inspires me until this day. Comparing texts, ideas and theories gave me the analytical skills that I use every day to find and write interesting news stories [in my job as a journalist]. It also helped that all my lecturers were always incredibly helpful and so understanding.’ — Hanna, French
What degree programmes are available in French?
French at Queen Mary may be studied as a single honours degree or combined with a wide range of other subjects: a second language (available from beginners’ level), Linguistics, Comparative Literature, Film Studies, Business Management, English, Drama, History or Politics/International Relations (click on Undergraduate study for information on individual programmes).
What will I study?
The Department has a particularly strong tradition of teaching in areas of visual culture, thought, literature, linguistics and cultural history. From Parisian graffiti to contemporary women’s writing, from Mauritian Creole to Belgian comic strips, you will find things to fire your imagination. Alongside subjects related to French studies, you will study the French language to a high level of oral and written proficiency, with the help of a dynamic team of native-speaker language tutors.
What is the year abroad?
Your third year is typically spent in a French-speaking country, which gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the French language while gaining a range of experiences and skills which are attractive to future employers. You can study at one of the Department’s university partners, take up a British Council work placement as an English-language assistant in a school, or arrange your own employment - previous students have worked for Elle magazine, Coca Cola, Green Seed France, App Gratis, Shoot Europe, Apple and the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium.
Queen Mary students spend their year abroad in France, Belgium and Switzerland, but also travel as far as Québec in Canada and Réunion in the Indian Ocean (see the Year Abroad in French page for more details). If you would prefer a shorter degree than the traditional four-year programme with a year abroad, the Department also offers a unique three-year degree that includes a semester at the University of London Institute in Paris.
Does the Department offer postgraduate programmes?
The Department does not offer an MA in French, but the School offers a series of taught MA programmes where students could focus on French topics.
The Department does, however, offer a PhD in French and staff in the French Department welcome applications in a wide range of topics, from literature to visual culture and linguistics. Click on Postgraduate study for more information.
Meet the French Department
You can watch a short film about studying in the French department at Queen Mary University of London below. You can also consult individual staff profiles by clicking on the People link.