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About the Programme

About French PhD

Our department offers research strengths in all periods of French literature, modern French history and politics, Francophone literature and French thought. There are several active research seminars and reading groups in which staff and research students participate.

We provide formal, subject-specific training and individual guidance on research methods, writing research proposals, applying for funding and presenting research papers.

Current students are working on topics across the whole range of French literary studies, and many of our recent PhD graduates have gone on successfully to academic posts or postdoctoral fellowships.

Most recent REF rankings: Research in French, German and Spanish -  research impact rated 87.5% at ‘world leading’ (4*) or ‘internationally excellent’ (3*) and at 100% for ‘world leading’ (4*) research environment (REF 2021).

Current number of academic staff: 12 permanent (all research active).

Current number of students: 24.

Recent staff publications:

  • Emily Butterworth, The Unbridled Tongue: Babble and Gossip in Renaissance France
  • Patrick French, Thinking Cinema with Proust
  • Simon Gaunt, Marco Polo’s Le Devisement du Monde: Narrative Voice, Language and Diversity
  • Nicholas Harrison, Our Civilizing Mission: The Lessons of Colonial Education
  • Siobhan McIlvanney, Figurations of the Feminine in the Early French Women's Press, 1758-1848
  • Sanja Perovic, The Calendar in Revolutionary France - Perceptions of Time in Literature, Culture, Politics

Current research projects:

  • The Values of French (ERC-funded)
  • Casts, Imprints and Traces in Modern and Contemporary Art
  • Deviant Speech in the Early Modern Period
  • Algerian women's writing
  • Representations of the Detective in Nineteenth-Century France
  • World History as World Court: The Theatrical Origin of Human Rights
  • The cinema in the work of Roland Barthes
  • Queer Theory
  • The Politics of Racism in France
  • Colonial Education
  • Québécois film
  • Post-1968 French feminist film

Course study environment

As a research student, you will have designated primary and secondary supervisors. Students will see their primary supervisor regularly, and perhaps as often as every two weeks during the first year of research. You will be strongly encouraged to attend research seminars in the department and beyond, and be expected to present your research in the departmental seminar at some point.

We offer a dedicated study space for our postgraduate research students on the fourth floor of our Virginia Woolf building.

Our students benefit from funds to subsidise student attendance at conferences, and to contribute towards research costs. We have exchanges at graduate level with the Université de Paris X Nanterre and the Ecole Normale Supérieure Lyon.

Postgraduate training

All MPhil/PhD students in their first year who have not studied literary theory are given the opportunity to attend all or part of the MA compulsory module: Reading Theory/Reading Practice, which looks at literary and critical theory through discussion of readings of literary texts, followed by discussions of key polemics and debates in critical theory.

Our students attend training sessions with specialist librarians at the British Library and the King's Maughan Library.

Students also participate in a full programme of training events run under the auspices of the Arts and Humanities Research Countil (AHRC) doctoral training partnership, the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP). Students also attend the relevant research training workshops offered by the Faculty of Arts & Humanities, the Centre for Doctoral Studies, and the Institute of Modern Languages Research.

Free language tuition at King's

All research students in any discipline at King's can take a module from a choice of over 25 languages with the Modern Language Centre without any additional cost. 

More information can be found here.

Funding Notes

Find out more information about fees on our course web page on the King’s website

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