• Dr Ruth Bush
  • Dr Edward Forman
  • Professor Susan Harrow
  • Dr Martin Hurcombe
  • Professor Gino Raymond
  • Dr Siobhán Shilton
  • Dr Bradley Stephens
  • Dr Rowan Tomlinson
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    Find a programme
    Run by Faculty of Arts
    Awards available PhD, MPhil
    Programme length MPhil: one year full-time;
    two years part-time
    PhD: three years full-time;
    six years part-time
    Location of programme Clifton campus
    Part-time study available Yes
    Start date January 2021
    September 2021
    January 2022

    The PhD can be studied via distance learning. The MPhil will be offered via distance learning from September 2021.

    Programme overview

    MPhil: a standalone, one-year (full-time) research degree. Students will undertake their own research project, concluding in the submission of a 25,000 word dissertation. Students may have the option to audit units from our taught master's programmes if they are relevant to their research.

    PhD: a research project undertaken across three years (full-time, plus a writing up period), culminating in an 80,000 word thesis. As well as having the option to audit taught units, there may be the potential for PhD students to teach units themselves from their second year of study onwards.

    The Department of French is committed to research innovation and excellence in major aspects of French studies. The department has particular strengths in the medieval period, early modern period, visual-textual relations, 19th, 20th and 21st century literature, screen and stage adaptations, cultural history and politics. We collaborate extensively with other departments, especially in the fields of visual and literary cultures, conflict and culture, medieval studies, English and comparative literature.

    Each research student is assigned to an academic who works in their proposed area of research or related field, and benefits from the input of a second supervisor who may be from another department, depending on the interdisciplinary nature of the project.

    The department is a regional centre for the Group for War and Culture Studies and members of the department are active in a wide range of Faculty of Arts research clusters. A number of our staff members are editors of leading journals and active in subject associations. Postgraduate students can benefit from an exchange agreement with the Ecole Normale Supérieure (rue d'Ulm), or take an exchange lecturer post at the Université de Bordeaux III.

    Research students lead the organisation of a postgraduate seminar series in literary and visual landscapes, and an initiative to edit postgraduate creative writing.

    Fees for 2021/22

    We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:

    UK: full-time
    UK: part-time
    Overseas (including EU): full-time
    Channel Islands/Isle of Man: full-time

    Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

    Alumni scholarship

    University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

    Funding for 2021/22

    The University of Bristol is part of the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP), which will be offering studentships for September 2021. For information on other funding opportunities, please see the Faculty of Arts funding pages.

    The French Department is also able to offer the 'Brook PhD scholarship' to the most suitable candidate for the 3-year duration of their PhD. This scholarship is comprised of a fee waiver, a bursary of £5,000 a year and teaching experience of up to 3 hours per week (remunerated at the University rate for postgraduate teaching assistants). 

    Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

    Entry requirements

    MPhil: An upper second-class degree or international equivalent. Please note, acceptance will also depend on evidence of your readiness to pursue a research degree.

    PhD: A master's qualification, or be working towards a master's qualification, or international equivalent. Applicants without a master's qualification may be considered on an exceptional basis, provided they hold a first-class undergraduate degree (or international equivalent). Applicants with a non-traditional background may be considered provided they can demonstrate substantial equivalent and relevant experience that has prepared them to undertake their proposed course of study.

    See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

    English language requirements

    If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
    Profile C
    Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

    Admissions statement

    Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

    Admissions statement

    Research groups

    Members of the department are active in a wide range of research clusters in the Faculty of Arts.


    A large number of graduates from this programme develop careers in higher education or work on high-level research projects in the field of French studies; some graduates take up careers in translation or writing for international newspapers.

    Staff profiles

    Dr Marianne Ailes, (Senior Lecturer), Medieval French literature, especially the " chansons de geste" and early vernacular chronicles.

    Dr Ruth Bush, (Lecturer), Post-colonial studies; publishing minority cultures; the francophone literature of Africa.

    Dr Edward Forman, (Senior Lecturer), Ethical aspects of tragedy, particularly Racine; French stage music in the 17th and early 20th centuries.

    Professor Susan Harrow, (Ashley Watkins Chair in French Language and Literature), Ekphrastics; modern French poetry; past President of the Society for French Studies; visual and literary cultures ; Zola.

    Dr Martin Hurcombe, (Reader), 20th-century political cultures and representations of war in France, and travel writing.

    Professor Gino Raymond, (Professor), 20th-century and contemporary French society, politics, ideas, and the literature of commitment.

    Dr Siobhán Shilton, (Senior Lecturer), Francophone postcolonial studies ; the Arab Spring in visual culture; visual-textual relations.

    Dr Bradley Stephens, (Senior Lecturer), Cultures of ' engagement' in the 19th and 20th centuries ; theories and practices of adaptation.

    Dr Rowan Tomlinson, (Lecturer), Renaissance literature and culture, particularly the poetics and politics of French vernacular writing in the 16th century.

    How to apply
    Application deadline:

    January 2021 start: 2 December 2020
    September 2021 start: 2 August 2021
    January 2022 start: 1 December 2021

    Open days and visits

    Find out how to attend one of our upcoming online events.

    Get in touch

    Faculty of Arts Postgraduate Research Admissions Phone: +44 (0) 117 428 2296 Email: artf-pgadmissions@bristol.ac.uk

    Professor Gino Raymond Head of Subject, French Phone: +44 (0) 117 928 7916 Email: gino.raymond@bristol.ac.uk

    Faculty of Arts
    University of Bristol
    7 Woodland Road
    BS8 1TB
    School website: School of Modern Languages
    Department website: Department of French

    International students

    Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.

    Bristol Doctoral College

    The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

    REF 2014 results

    • Modern Languages and Linguistics:
    • 29% of research is world-leading (4*)
    • 38% of research is internationally excellent (3*)
    • 26% of research is recognised internationally (2*)
    • 7% of research is recognised nationally (1*)

    Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.


    Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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