Overview

About the degree programme

French is a major world language, spoken in many parts of Europe, Africa and the Americas. For centuries, alongside English-speaking cultures, the francophone world has had a profound international influence on literature. 

This joint honours programme aims to develop your critical, analytic, linguistic and creative skills. As well as language learning, you will engage with a broad range of texts in both English and French, and a variety of approaches to reading. 

French

Intensive language training, including a year abroad, gives you the opportunity to develop advanced speaking, writing, reading and translating skills in French. 

You will explore French culture, including francophone literature and cinema, political history, social movements and philosophical ideas. 

Our courses cover material from the Middle Ages to the 21st Century and include specialist options taught by leading experts in key disciplines, including post-colonial studies and gender studies. 

English Literature

Based in the first UNESCO World City of Literature, you will study in the oldest department of English Literature in the UK, one of the longest established in the world. 

You will gain the essential skills needed for the critical close reading of poetry, drama and prose and explore the cultural contexts of writing in English from the late Middle Ages to the present. 

At honours level, you will select courses on the basis of your own interests in specific topics, periods or literary genres. 

Combining literature with a language shows an openness to ideas and perspectives other than your own, an essential attribute in many careers and a global marketplace. 

Why Edinburgh  

We are unique in Scotland in offering you a full academic year abroad within the four-year honours programme, regardless of whether you spend the year studying or working. 

We can offer you option courses from a wide range of disciplines and then help you specialise as you progress through your final two years, the first of which you will spend abroad. 

When you graduate, you will have the combination of broad cultural education and specialist knowledge valued by employers worldwide. 

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections. It has one of the best French collections in the UK in the National Library of Scotland.

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MA French and English Literature on the 2024 degree finder

How long it takes to complete this degree programme

This programme is studied over 4 years. This enables us to build choice and flexibility into your studies, giving you time to explore options, find what you like and build your skills. 

Your first two years will be your pre-honours years. They will give you a good grounding in your subjects. In addition to studying core courses, you will broaden your education and skill set by choosing option courses from a range of subjects and disciplines. This may enable you to change the focus of your programme. 

Your final two years will be your honours years. You will spend Year 3 abroad, gaining a lived experience of Francophone culture. Year 4 will be tailored to your interests in specific topics, periods, genres, or approaches to French and English Literature.  

The four-year experience 

How a joint degree programme works

You will study both French and English Literature to degree level, as well as taking optional courses in Years 1 and 2.  

Both French and English Literature are based in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) and your teaching will take place in and around the main LLC building in the University's Central Area. 

On your Year Abroad, you will complete assignments for both subjects while using your French daily. 

Programme rankings

  • The University of Edinburgh is ranked 3rd in the UK for Modern Languages and for English Language and Literature. 
  • We are also 3rd in the UK in the broad subject area of Arts & Humanities. 
  • Globally, we’re in the World Top 10 for Modern Languages (7), English Language and Literature (9) and Arts & Humanities (10). 

Rankings from QS World Rankings by Subject 2023

Programme benefits

  • Study over four years, including one abroad. 
  • Become fluent in a language. 
  • Learn at the heart of a UNESCO World City of Literature. 
  • Try out different subjects in your first two years. 
  • Join societies related to what you're studying. 
  • Delve into fantastic libraries and collections. 
  • Try your hand at creative writing and publishing. 

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for MA (Hons) French and English Literature MA (Hons)

View the tuition fees for one academic year of MA (Hons) French and English Literature MA (Hons).

Additional costs

As long as international restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad. The costs incurred will depend on where you decide to go, and how you spend your time. 

Some study placements at language schools may charge a fee, but we will normally reimburse you for tuition costs as long as your activity has been approved. You will be responsible for associated travel costs such as flights and visas. 

Accommodation and living costs

Accommodation costs depend on where you live while studying at university and the type of accommodation you choose. 

In private accommodation, you can expect to pay more for a private studio or flat than a room in a flat where you share a kitchen and living space with others. 

In University accommodation, factors impacting the rent are room size and the available facilities, such as ensuite rooms and catered halls.

University of Edinburgh student accommodation 

Scholarships and funding

Funding information

You can find detailed information on financial support available, based on where you are living, in our fees and funding section. 

Programme details

What you will study

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French 

If you have a limited knowledge of French, you will take French 1A, an intensive language course that also introduces you to French culture. 

If you have studied French beyond National 5 (SQA) or GCSE level, you will typically take French 1B. As well as developing your written and spoken language skills, this course focuses on modern French literature, culture and civilisation covering the period from the Second World War to the 21st century. 

English Literature 

You will take two literary studies courses. These will introduce you to the essential skills needed for critical close reading of: 

  • poetry  
  • drama  
  • prose  

You will read works of literature written in English from around the world, and encounter a range of ideas about the nature and purpose of literary study. 

Optional courses 

You will complete your Year 1 studies with optional courses chosen from a wide range offered by the University of Edinburgh. 

You can, for example, opt to study another language. We offer one of the widest range of languages of any UK university - the majority are suitable for complete beginners. 

Other options include, but are not limited to, courses in: 

  • linguistics and language sciences 
  • business, economics and informatics 
  • politics, social policy and social anthropology 
  • art and architectural history 
  • history, classics and archaeology  
  • Celtic and Scottish ethnology 
  • philosophy, divinity and law 
Find courses 

The courses you can study will vary from year to year and may be different for your year of entry.  

You can get an idea of what you might study by viewing the latest course information for this programme.

Find courses

The courses you can study will vary from year to year and may be different for your year of entry.

You can get an idea of what you might study by viewing the latest course information for this programme.

Find Year 1 courses (2023/24 academic year)

French 

You will further develop your language skills in French, including in writing, translation and grammar. You will gain confidence talking in French on a variety of topics relating to contemporary France and the francophone world. 

You will take a course in French and francophone literature and culture. This course will introduce you to the most important authors at key points in French literary and cultural history, from the 12th to the 21st century. 

You will study work by Montaigne, Racine, Molière and Baudelaire alongside texts that have been considered marginal to French culture for reasons of gender or colonial politics. 

English Literature 

You will be introduced to the study of English literature in its cultural and historical contexts via a survey of literature from the late Medieval period to the mid-Twentieth Century. 

These courses will explore the relationship between literary texts and the construction of national, international and imperial cultures. 

Optional courses 

As in Year 1, you will choose from a range of optional courses. 

These optional courses include a great selection in European Languages and Cultures that explore literature, film and theatre in themed and comparative contexts. 

Typical options include: 

  • Cultural Responses to War  
  • Migration, Exile, Diaspora  
  • Crime and Detection in Literature  
  • Gender and Culture  
  • The Coming-of-Age Narrative  
  • Introduction to European Cinema  
  • Dynamics of Language and Power  
  • Languages Beyond University 

You will also have the chance to take a course in the Politics and Institutions of Contemporary France. 

Find courses 

The courses you can study will vary from year to year and may be different for your year of entry.  

You can get an idea of what you might study by viewing the latest course information for this programme.

Find courses

The courses you can study will vary from year to year and may be different for your year of entry.

You can get an idea of what you might study by viewing the latest course information for this programme.

Find Year 2 courses (2023/24 academic year)

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 (a minimum of 30 weeks) in France or a French-speaking country, turning classroom learning into living engagement with Francophone culture. You will either study or do a work placement, such as working as a teaching assistant in a school. 

Whether studying or working, our graduates have told us how much the year abroad has benefited their broader life experience and skills. 

During your year abroad, we will aim to ensure your experience is as beneficial as possible to your final year, as well as to your wider language learning and cultural awareness. 

You will complete prescribed work in both English Literature and French. For example, for French you will take an e-learning language course which will count as part of your Year 3 mark and prepare you for your Year 4 French courses. 

If international travel is not possible, you will be offered an alternative means of engaging with your subjects, enabling you to meet your learning outcomes and preparing you for your final year. 

You will develop advanced language skills in spoken and written French. 

You will also choose from a wide range of specialist, honours-level courses in both French and English Literature. 

Building on all the knowledge and skills you have developed over four years, including in independent research, you will complete a dissertation or long essay. 

Find courses 

The courses you can study will vary from year to year and may be different for your year of entry.  

You can get an idea of what you might study by viewing the latest course information for this programme.

Find courses

The courses you can study will vary from year to year and may be different for your year of entry.

You can get an idea of what you might study by viewing the latest course information for this programme.

Find Year 4 courses (2023/24 academic year)

Teaching and assessment

Teaching

University is a place to plan your own goals under expert guidance, study independently and in groups, and reflect upon your learning throughout your degree. 

Our approach to learning and teaching is active, inclusive and question driven, so it may be different to your experiences at school. It will help you gain the skills for life after university, and we will guide you through the steps from one phase to the next. 

Depending on the size of your year group, and which option courses you take, your classes will typically fall into three categories: 

  • lectures 
  • tutorials 
  • seminars 

As well as these classes, to get the most out of your courses, you will need to read widely. 

We make extensive use of our audio and visual resources, and you will also be encouraged to use online materials. 

Lectures 

Lectures are taken by all students on a course, typically at the same time. They are delivered as interactive presentations which may involve audio-visual material. 

Lectures are given by an experienced academic. They are designed to guide you through the background, questions and debates related to the topic you are studying. 

Tutorials 

Tutorial groups are smaller. They are also led by an academic, but here the emphasis is more on what you think about the topic yourself. So, tutorials are your chance to discuss and expand upon what you have learned in a lecture. 

Language tutorials give you the opportunity to develop your linguistic skills in a range of real-world tasks under the supervision of an experienced language teacher. 

These classes typically cover skills such as reading, writing, listening and speaking – all of which involve learning and applying grammar. 

Seminars 

Seminars blend features of lectures and tutorials. Again, they are designed to encourage and enable your active participation in learning. 

On some courses, you will have seminars instead of lectures, especially in your honours years (Years 3 and 4). 

Assessment

You will be assessed through a combination of coursework, exams and final assessments. 

Coursework is generally completed throughout the year, while exams and assessments take place at the end of a teaching block. 

Coursework may take a range of forms to give you the opportunity to practice different skills. For example, you may be asked to: 

  • write an essay, review, blog post, opinion piece or learning journal 
  • respond to a piece of writing, film, or other media, including through close reading 
  • give a short talk or presentation 
  • record a podcast or video 
  • design a poster or presentation 

Exams will include oral exams to test your spoken language skills. 

Depending on where you go and what you do on your Year Abroad, Year 3 may include being assessed, in part, by a host university. 

In your final year, you will also complete a dissertation or long essay. 

Support for your studies

As well as the teaching and other staff you will meet day-to-day, there are lots of ways to get help with your learning, including through the University’s Institute for Academic Development (IAD). 

You will be assigned a specially trained Student Adviser in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) for advice and guidance. They can also refer you to other University services, such as the Student Wellbeing Service, Student Counselling and the Disability and Learning Support Service. 

Additionally, the Students’ Association facilitates peer support schemes for both French and English Literature, bringing together students across year groups to help each other with specific study skills, topics or themes. 

Academic support and guidance 

Where you will study

Study location

When you are on campus, you can expect to spend most of your time in the University of Edinburgh's Central Area - in class, in the library, or in one of the University’s many social and support spaces. 

The Central Area is located on the edge of Edinburgh's historic Old Town, surrounded by lots of green space. 

Academic facilities

Libraries and collections 

The Main University Library holds academic books, journals and databases, films, newspapers and other media. Its holdings include over 118,500 books and 25,500 journals in French. 

The Library is also the home of the University's Centre for Research Collections which brings together: 

  • more than 400,000 rare books 
  • six kilometres of archives and manuscripts 
  • thousands of works of art, historical musical instruments and other objects 

The Centre's literary treasures include a truly exceptional collection of early Shakespeare quartos and other early modern printed plays, and the Corson Collection of works by and about Sir Walter Scott. 

Highlights of its holdings in modern literature and poetry include the W.H. Auden collection and the libraries of Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Hugh MacDiarmid and Norman MacCaig. 

Many of the University's Special Collections are digitised and available online from our excellent Resource Centre, computing labs and dedicated study spaces in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC). 

Centres for research, teaching and outreach 

Established in 1995, our Centre de recherches francophones belges promotes the teaching of francophone Belgian literature and hosts a range of activities for students and the public. Since 2018, the Centre has been partnering with Wallonie-Bruxelles International (WBI) to bring francophone Belgian culture to Edinburgh Festival Fringe. 

We also play a key role in the Diaspolinks network, which brings together researchers with a shared interest in the growing field of Diaspora Studies, especially anglophone and francophone diasporas. The international network is unique in comparing the various diasporic communities’ responses to issues of identity, belonging and relocation in the context of British, French and Canadian immigration policies. 

We are home to the SWINC project and network, which promotes awareness of the richness and diversity of Scottish writing and culture in the 19th century. 

We are the Scottish base of The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle, Duke-Edinburgh edition, one of the major editorial projects in Victorian studies of the last half-century. 

We are collaborators in the Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network and have developing strengths in the Digital Humanities. For example, we have led both phases of LitLong, a digital transformation project to interactively map the ways in which Edinburgh has been used as a literary setting over the course of five centuries. 

Virtual tour

You can take a closer look at the School of Literature, Languages and Cultures (LLC) and explore our facilities and campus on the University's Virtual Visit site.   

Take a virtual tour of LLC and the University’s Central Area 

Career paths and further study

Career paths

Programmes combining language and literature are an excellent primer for a range of careers, especially those that place a premium on thinking that is both disciplined and imaginative. 

Within the private, public, not-for-profit, and for-benefit sectors, previous graduates have gone on to work in: 

  • business, finance and commerce 
  • communications, marketing, advertising and public relations 
  • education, outreach, advocacy and training 
  • journalism, broadcasting and media 
  • leisure, tourism and travel 
  • politics, policy work, diplomacy, civil service and law 
  • publishing, culture, heritage and the arts 
  • research, development and venture acceleration 
  • translating and interpreting 

Home and away 

With increasing migration in response to changing global dynamics, there is demand for our graduates both at home and abroad. 

Wherever you are based in the world, the ability to communicate in another world language, and to understand the cultures it opens doors to, will make you stand out. 

If you are keen to work abroad, it’s good to know that French is a major language of international communication, one of the most widely spoken in the world, particularly in Europe, Africa and the Americas. 

As one of our graduates, you will be well-placed to seek opportunities in the 29 countries where French is an official language, and the many multinational companies and institutions for which it is a working language, including the European Commission. 

Skills and experience 

Combining a language with literature to degree level demonstrates that you are a good communicator, and someone open to other cultures and new ideas – what employers value as Intercultural Competence. 

On this joint honours programme, you will develop linguistic, literary and critical skills. You will also gain a nuanced understanding of diverse cultures and societies. 

Graduating with a four-year Master of Arts degree from the University of Edinburgh shows intellectual maturity, resilience, and flexibility. 

The skills you will be able to demonstrate to employers when you graduate include the ability to: 

  • understand, analyse and articulate complex issues and concepts 
  • manage your time to meet deadlines on different types of project 
  • work independently and as part of a group 

Careers Service

During your time with us, we will encourage you to identify and hone your employability skills. 

Through the University's excellent Careers Service, you can: 

  • get careers advice tailored towards French and English Literature 
  • book one-to-one appointments and practice interviews 
  • access a range of online resources 
  • attend events and themed fairs such as the Creative and Cultural Careers Festival 
  • get help finding work while you study and for around two years after you graduate 

Visit the Careers Service website 

Life after LLC 

Within the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, popular peer support includes Life After LLC, a panel event where you can draw inspiration from our recent graduates. 

Be inspired by our alumni 

Collage showing graduates from the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

Further study

The enhanced research skills you will develop on a four-year programme, particularly in your honours years, are a valuable asset if you wish to continue studying at postgraduate level. 

At the University of Edinburgh, we typically offer: 

  • Masters by Research degrees in French and in English Literature  
  • Taught MScs in Playwriting, Creative Writing and different periods of English Literature  
  • MSc programmes in Comparative Literature, Intermediality and Translation Studies 

Each of these programmes is a good stepping stone to a PhD, but is equally of value as a stand-alone qualification. 

Beyond literature, cultural study and associated fields, your degree will prepare you for further study in almost any humanities and social science discipline. 

Find out about options for further study 

Applying

How to apply

You must submit a full application through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) before the relevant deadline.

What you need to apply

As part of your application, you will need:

  • your academic qualifications
  • a personal statement
  • evidence of your English language skills (with relevant qualifications)
  • a reference

How we select

If you have met, or are predicted to meet, all our entry requirements by the relevant deadline, then your application will go into our selection process.

As part of this selection process, we will review all the information you submit in your UCAS application when we decide who to select for this degree programme.

How we select applicants

When to apply

  • 2024 entry UCAS deadline: 31 January 2024 (6:00pm GMT)

This is the deadline for all UK, EU and international applicants to non-medicine and veterinary medicine programmes.

To find out if any degree programmes have spaces after 31 January 2024, search the University of Edinburgh on the UCAS website.

Search degrees that are open on the UCAS website

Key application dates and deadlines

After you apply

After you have applied for your degree programme, we suggest you have a look at the following information to help you prepare for University:

Applying as an international student

As an international student, you apply for this degree programme through UCAS.

Find out more about applying through UCAS

International Foundation Programme applicants

If you are applying for the International Foundation Programme, you apply through UCAS.

How to apply for the International Foundation Programme

Visas and immigration

If you do not have the right to live in the UK, you will need to apply for and secure a Student visa before the start date of your degree programme.

Our Student Immigration Service can help you with the Student visa application process.

Applying for a visa

Agents

An education agent is someone who can help you with the application process as an international student.

We work with education agents around the world and have a list of local offices you can contact.

Find contact details for an education agent

Life at Edinburgh

What our students say

I adore the academic breadth and depth of the French curriculum offered here at Edinburgh. The tutors’ and lecturers’ dynamic encouragement of independent thinking has enabled me to examine topics ranging from Montaigne’s scepticism to Modiano’s postmodern fiction through a critical lens.

In particular, the structure of the programme consistently inspires me to explore French and Francophone literature through a plethora of contextual frameworks: philosophical, historical, political, and more. 

Accommodation

We guarantee an offer of University accommodation for all new, single undergraduate students from outside Edinburgh. To be eligible, you need to meet all criteria and apply for accommodation by 16 August in the year of your entry to the University. 

University accommodation website 

Accommodation guarantee criteria 

If you prefer to live elsewhere, we can offer you advice on finding accommodation in Edinburgh. 

Accommodation information from the Edinburgh University Students' Association Advice Place 

Societies and clubs

The Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) supports more than 300 student-led societies and clubs. It also promotes opportunities with local charities through its volunteering centre.   

From acting to dancing, making friends in language cafes to campaigning on global issues, these student-led groups offer lots of ways to explore your subjects, interests and talents socially. 

Across the University, there are a lot of opportunities to get involved in: 

  • reading and writers' groups  
  • poetry slams  
  • creative writing and publishing 
  • student theatre 
Collage showing student life at the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

The French theatre society - Les Escogriffes - typically stages a play in French each year, with opportunities to direct, act, produce and promote. 

We publish creative writing in nine European languages – including French – in our online magazine, Babble. You can get involved in the editorial committee, and launch nights typically include readings and performances. 

We also have a fantastic Writer in Residence who organises talks and workshops by visiting writers and runs our annual writing prizes. Their drop-in sessions give you the chance to: 

  • share your work  
  • get feedback 
  • meet other student writers 
  • get inspiration and prompts for new work

Societies

Sports clubs

The city of Edinburgh

Edinburgh skyline as seen from the Salisbury Crags at sunset.

A UNESCO World City of Literature, Edinburgh is a remarkable place to study, write, publish, discuss and perform prose, poetry and drama. 

The city's resources for studying literatures, languages and cultures are exceptional. Many of them are located close to the University's Central Area, making them easy to access between classes. 

In addition to a fantastic range of publishing houses, bookshops, theatres, and cinemas, you will study near the: 

  • National Library of Scotland - which has one of the best French collections in the UK 
  • National Museum of Scotland 
  • Edinburgh Central Library 
  • Scottish Poetry Library 
  • Scottish Storytelling Centre 
  • Writers’ Museum 

We have strong links with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which annually welcomes around 1,000 authors to our literary city. 

There is plenty to see and do throughout the year, including a rich programme of cultural events at the nearby Institut français d'Ecosse. 

As well as the city's main summer festivals, the Edinburgh French Film Festival and Africa in Motion bring the latest and best francophone cinema to Edinburgh each winter. There are also various food festivals. 

Find out more about living in Edinburgh

Exercise, leisure and support facilities

Health and wellbeing support

You will have access to free health and wellbeing services throughout your time at university. 

The support services we offer include:  

  • a student counselling service 
  • a health centre (doctor's surgery) 
  • support if you're living in University accommodation  
  • dedicated help and support if you have a disability or need adjustments 

Health and wellbeing support services