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French and Comparative Literature - MA

Course Description

Our MA in French and Comparative Literature involves the postgraduate study of literature beyond national and linguistic borders with a particular focus on French culture.

Comparative Literature at Kent involves the study of literature from two or more European cultures, to gain an intercultural and transnational understanding of cultural practice. The MA in French and Comparative Literature introduces you to a wide range of theoretical perspectives, enriching your appreciation of the cultures, texts and critical practices examined in the programme’s various modules. You benefit from expert teaching from members of the Department of Modern Languages (http://www.kent.ac.uk/secl/french/index.html) and the Department of Comparative Literature (http://www.kent.ac.uk/secl/complit/index.html) and thus participate in an interdisciplinary dialogue.

Kent provides an ideal location in which to study French culture; our Canterbury campus is close to mainland Europe, with Paris only a couple of hours away by Eurostar.

In the Autumn and Spring terms, you take a choice of four modules, before undertaking a 12,000 word dissertation over the summer with supervision from an expert within the department. There is also a version of this programme which allows you to spend the spring term in Paris.

This programme is ideal for modern languages graduates who wish to consolidate their knowledge in a wider context; English graduates wishing to diversify their interests; and graduates in other humanities subjects (history, philosophy, theology) who would like to apply their knowledge to literary and visual material.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/28/french-and-comparative-literature


The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

FR866 - Literature and Theory (30 credits)
FR872 - Theories of Art in Modern French Thought (30 credits)
FR807 - Postmodern French Detective Fiction (30 credits)
CP813 - Literature and Medicine (30 credits)
FR804 - Real Fictions: The Documentation of Modernity (30 credits)
CP805 - European Modernism: Sexual and Textual Deviance (30 credits)
CP808 - Writing the Self: Autobiography in the Modern Period (30 credits)
FR998 - French Dissertation (60 credits)


Assessment is by one 5,000-word essay for each module and the dissertation.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

- provide the opportunity for you to obtain a postgraduate qualification (MA) in one year, and to allow, if required, a smooth transition to doctoral studies

- allow you to study modules in both modern French studies and comparative literature

- develop your knowledge and understanding of relevant aspects of contemporary Paris and the cultural history of the city as reflected in modern French, European, English and American literatures and other artistic media

- enhance your comprehension and communication skills in both French and English

- develop your awareness of various critical and research methodologies and of the interplay between literature, art and cultural context

- provide teaching which is informed by current research and scholarship and which requires you to engage with aspects of work at the frontiers of knowledge

- provide a deepening of intercultural awareness and understanding

- provide opportunities for the further development of personal, communication and research skills and other key skills appropriate for graduate employment both in industry and in the public sector

- provide further development of critical, analytical, problem-solving and other transferable skills.

Research areas

Staff interests broadly fit within the parameters of French literature and thought from the 18th century to the present, with research clusters organised around the following areas: the European Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment; Ekphrasis; Franco-Sino relations; Life Writing; Medical Humanities; Philosophy and Critical Theory; French Surrealism; Cubism; the Avant-Garde; the interface between visual arts and text.

Recent publications have focused on authors, artists and thinkers including the following: Apollinaire; Artaud; Badiou; Barthes; Blanchot; Cocteau; Crébillon fils; Deleuze; Diderot; Djebar; Flaubert; Foucault; Houellebecq; Lacan; Maupassant; Mérimée; Nimier; Proust; Sade; Yourcenar; Zola.

Centre for Language and Linguistic Studies (CLLS)
Founded in 2007, the Centre for Language and Linguistic Studies (CLLS) promotes interdisciplinary collaboration in linguistic research and teaching. Membership embraces not just the members of English Language and Linguistics but also other SECL members with an interest in the study of language, as well as researchers in philosophy, computing, psychology and anthropology, reflecting the many and varied routes by which individuals come to a love of language and an interest in the various disciplines and subdisciplines of linguistics.

Centre for Modern European Literature
Many of the most significant European writers and literary movements of the modern period have traversed national, linguistic, and disciplinary borders. Co-directed by members of Comparative Literature, French, and German, the Centre for Modern European Literature aims to promote collaborative interdisciplinary research that can do justice to these kinds of border crossing.

Ranging across English, French, German, Italian and Spanish literature, the Centre focuses in particular on the European avant-garde, European modernism and postmodernism, literary theory, the international reception of European writers, and the relations between modern European literature and the other arts, including painting, photography, film, music and architecture. The Centre’s activities include a lecture and seminar series and the regular organisation of conferences. It also works with the editors of the postgraduate journal Skepsi, and runs the MA in Modern European Literature.


A postgraduate degree in French studies is an extremely versatile qualification that can open the door to exciting career opportunities in many professions. Our graduates have gone on to work in the IT industry, academic administration, cultural management and to further postgraduate training and academic careers at UK and overseas universities.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

Visit the French and Comparative Literature - MA page on the University of Kent website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Lucile Niel

What attracted you to Kent?
Having completed my undergraduate studies and the first year of a Master’s degree in France, I chose to come to Kent under the Erasmus exchange scheme. Canterbury is a lovely city – it’s close to London but also surrounded by beautiful countryside. It’s also easily accessible from Paris, so it’s an ideal location for me.

How are you enjoying your studies?
The course provides a blend of literature theory, French culture and philosophy, and classical European literature, so you get to cover a lot of ground. The atmosphere in SECL is very relaxed and the staff always make time to speak to you if you have a question or problem.

What about the facilities on campus?
I live on campus which is very convenient – everything is within walking distance, from the library to all the lovely cafés. And you can easily travel into town where there are lots of things to see and do, both historically and culturally.


Graduate School Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

The Graduate School Scholarship Scheme was established in 2009 to celebrate the founding of the University's Graduate School, which is responsible for the strategic development of graduate education and research within the University. The aim of the scheme is enable Kent graduates to continue study at the University in the next academic year after graduation from their undergraduate degree.Candidates can hold the Graduate School Scholarship in conjunction with other awards except where these awards offer full fees and a Research Council UK equivalent maintenance grant. The Graduate School Scholarship cannot be held in conjunction with the University's loyalty discount.Criteria- Candidates must hold a Bachelors degree with honours (or undergraduate Masters degree) awarded in 2016 by the University of Kent. This scholarship offer is not available to those students who have been awarded foundation degrees, HNCs, HNDs or postgraduate degrees.
- Candidates must have satisfied the criteria for admission and register for a postgraduate degree (Masters or Doctorate) with the University of Kent by 1 October 2016. Students considering this offer are advised to check the entry criteria for their favoured postgraduate programme of study prior to application.
- Candidates must be self-funded, i.e. they are paying their tuition fees themselves.
- Open to overseas/home/EU fee paying students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£1,000 reduction (£500 per annum for part-time students, for 2 years) in tuition fees


Kent 2016 graduates who earn a Bachelor's degree with honours (or undergraduate Master's degree) and register for a postgraduate degree at Kent by 1 October 2016.

Application Procedure

There is no need to make a separate application. The tuition fee reduction will be provided to all eligible 2016 graduates on registration.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A first or upper-second class honours degree in a relevant subject or equivalent. For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages (View Website).

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