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With over 400 undergraduates French at Exeter is a vibrant, diverse and friendly community within Modern Languages and Cultures. More than 25 members of staff contribute to the delivery of language and culture modules. We are an energetic and committed discipline, and our internationally recognised research feeds directly into a wide range of exciting and stimulating modules.

Our basic philosophy in French, - one that sets us apart from most Departments in the country – is to ensure broad coverage with maximum choice. You are allowed to ‘tailor-make’ your course in French from First Year onwards. You will select options from a wide variety of modules covering a huge range of areas in French and francophone studies: cultural studies from the Middle Ages to the present day; literature from the Middle Ages to the present day; Linguistics; Philosophy; History; and Art History and Visual Culture, including film. The flexibility of our programme means that you can decide to pursue a broad-based approach to your studies, including modules from several areas, or you can specialise in one or two areas that you particularly enjoy.

Take a look at some of our modules on offer here. These may vary from year to year:

You will be expected to become proficient in a wide variety of communication skills, which will greatly enhance your employability skills. Some of your classes will be with our team of native French speakers and you will also have access to the state-of-the-art facilities in the Language Centre. An integral part of your studies will be a period of residence in a French-speaking country, perhaps studying at university, working as an English-language assistant (e) or in a different type of work placement.

You can study French through three pathways:

We take great pride in Modern Languages and Cultures in ensuring that every student is assigned to a personal tutor, who will make contact with them several times a semester in order to promote wellbeing as well as to ensure that all students are given an opportunity to talk through issues surrounding study skills, employability and the Year Abroad. You will meet your tutor both individually, ensuring a high degree of personal attention for each student, and in groups for discussion of general points such as study skills. Every member of staff also holds visiting hours every week during which we are always happy to meet students.

You will be able to join the French Society, run by undergraduate students, and enjoy the varied programme of talks, films, drama and social events that they arrange. We are keen to support our dynamic undergraduates in their French-related activities; in recent years these have included performing a medieval French text in translation as a radio play (recorded for posterity in our Digital Humanities lab) and staging a seventeenth-century farce in French along with students from Berkeley and Paris X-Nanterre.

Modern Languages and Cultures at Exeter ranks among the top UK institutions for student satisfaction, teaching and research. We offer excellent programmes and boast a Foreign Language Centre with state-of-the-art language-learning facilities. Teaching is directly related to our research.

Our MA in Translation Studies is taught by published literary translators, experienced practitioners and specialists in the use of computer-aided translation tools, helping prepare our students to undertake further study and become professional linguists.

The MA in Global Literatures and Cultures will allow you to explore with leading scholars the works of literature, art and thought that have shaped our world, with the option for a work placement module working on a commissioned project. Modern languages postgraduates benefit from regular research seminars hosted by several specialised Research Centres (see below), and scholars of international repute are frequent visitors.

Postgraduate taught programmes

Postgraduate research

Our research

In French we have a wide range of research specialisms and research interests, including many aspects of French literary and visual culture from the medieval period to the contemporary world, Linguistics, French thought and Francophone cinema.

Research interests

  • Specialists in linguistics carry out research in the sociolinguistics and linguistic variation of contemporary French.
  • Recent and contemporary writing: including biographical fiction, women’s writing, and modern critical theory.
  • Medieval French literature and culture
  • Renaissance thought and literature
  • French and Francophone cinema
  • Eighteenth and nineteenth-century visual art.
  • Translation and publishing

Research carried out by staff in French deals with issues including the reception of Classical myth, sexuality, gender and translation, text and image, and questions of ‘race’, citizenship, and national identity.

Research Centres

Some of our current research projects