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?
Learning French gives you access to the rich intellectual and cultural contributions of the French-speaking world, from great works of literature, to cinema, theatre and song. Building on the historical achievements of the likes of Marcel Proust, François Truffaut and Jacques Brel, the French-speaking world continues to excel in all these areas, as evidenced by the novels of Marc Lévy, the films of Xavier Dolan and the songs of Stromae.
As knowledge of English becomes more widespread globally, the future will increasingly belong to those who stand out because they master other languages as well. In 2010, there were estimated to be around 220 million Francophones across five continents; by 2050, the figure is likely to exceed 700 million. Knowledge of French will thus 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.
Why study French at Queen Mary?
In the 2016 National Student Survey (NSS), the Department scored 82% for Teaching and 81% for Assessment and Feedback. The results rank the French Department in the top 10 in London. Students of French at Queen Mary also enjoy a welcoming, intellectually stimulating and supportive academic environment. Teaching and research are closely linked, which means that you are taught by specialists in their field.
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. 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 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.
What do former 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 and Geography
'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
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.