Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

French and Comparative Literature - PhD

2018

A PhD in French and Comparative Literature enables you to undertake a substantial piece of supervised research that makes an original contribution to knowledge and is worthy of publication.

2018

Overview

A PhD, also known as a doctorate, is a requirement for a career as an academic or researcher. In addition, it has become a qualification valued by many employers who recognise the skills and commitment a PhD requires. Employers also recognise that a PhD indicates excellent research capabilities, discipline and communication skills.

Over the duration of the PhD, you produce an original piece of research of up to 100,000 words. Previous doctoral theses from the departments of French and Comparative Literature have included 'Logos, Bios and Madness in Nietzsche, Bataille, Foucault and Derrida', The Representation of Women Musicians in French, English and German Literature of the Nineteenth Century’ and ‘L’Éclat du voyage: Blaise Cendrars, Victor Segalen, Albert Londres’.

Both the Department of Modern Languages and the Department of Comparative Literature offer supervision from world-class academics with expertise in a wide range of disciplines, able to support and guide you through your research. Your progress is carefully monitored to ensure that you are on track to produce a thesis valued by the academic community. Throughout your programme, you are able to attend and contribute to research seminars, workshops, and research and transferable skills training courses, many of which benefit from the broader context of the Centre for Modern European Literature.

You may be eligible for a fully-funded PhD scholarship to support your studies with us. The PhD in French and Comparative Literature at Kent can be funded through the Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) scheme, or through the Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) collaborative doctoral partnerships. Please indicate in your application if you want to be considered for any of these programmes, and explain your eligibility for the chosen scheme. For the full list of scholarships available within the School, please see our postgraduate scholarship page.

For the full list of ongoing and completed projects in the department, see our postgraduate research page.

National ratings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, modern languages and linguistics was ranked 3rd for research quality, 3rd for research output and in the top 20 for research intensity, research impact and research power in the UK.

Our submission was the highest ranked nationally to include modern languages – a testament to our position as the UK’s European university. An impressive 100% of our research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.

Study support

You undertake supervised research in French and Comparative Literature within the School of European Culture and Languages.  

Postgraduate resources

The Templeman Library has excellent holdings in all our areas of research interest, with particular strengths in modern European literature. The School of European Culture and Languages provides high-quality IT facilities, dedicated technical staff and designated areas for postgraduate study. Language-learning and translation facilities include eight all-purpose teaching rooms and two networked multimedia laboratories. The University of Kent’s location is ideal for students who need to visit not only the British Library (London) but also the major libraries and research centres on the continent. In particular, we have close links with the Austrian Literary Archives in Vienna and the Deutsches Literaturarchiv, Marbach; in 2012, we co-organised the first-ever graduate school for UK postgraduates in Marbach.

Language speaking

Every year, a considerable number of native speakers of foreign languages follow our courses and several European exchange students stay on to do graduate work. There are also foreign-language lectors who are either combining teaching with a Kent higher degree or completing dissertations for their home universities. We can assist with language-training needs of overseas postgraduates, particularly where English is concerned, and are also involved in the Erasmus and Tempus networks.

Training

All postgraduate students in the School of European Culture and Languages have the opportunity to undertake a Researcher Development Programme provided by the Graduate School. There are training workshops for postgraduate students with teaching responsibilities, which bring together students from all its subject areas. Research students gain further academic experience by giving research talks in the Centre for Modern European Literature series, and attending national and international conferences.

Conferences

We encourage all of our postgraduate students to get involved in conferences, whether by attending, contributing or organising. Our postgraduate students edit Skepsi, the School's postgraduate-run journal, for which a themed conference is arranged each year. 

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: 

Researcher Development Programme

Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.

Entry requirements

A first or upper-second class BA honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject, a distinction or merit in an MA programme or equivalent in a relevant subject and the appropriate language skills.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. 

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

Research areas

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.

Centre for Language and Linguistics  (CLL)

Founded in 2007, the Centre for Language and Linguistic Studies (CLL) 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 sub-disciplines of linguistics.

 

Staff research interests

Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The academic staff in this school and their research interests are shown below. You are strongly encouraged to contact the school to discuss your proposed research and potential supervision prior to making an application. Please note, it is possible for students to be supervised by a member of academic staff from any of Kent’s schools, providing their expertise matches your research interests. Use our ‘find a supervisor’ search to search by staff member or keyword.

Dr Thomas Baldwin: Reader in French

Nineteenth and 20th-century French literature; representations of art in literature; literary theory and philosophy. 

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Dr James Fowler: Senior Lecturer in French

Novels, drama and other writings of the 18th century; Diderot and the Enlightenment; prudes and their relation to libertinage; narratology; psychoanalysis; discourses of the body; Richardson’s reception in France.

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Dr Katja Haustein: Lecturer in Comparative Literature

French and German autobiographical writing; visual culture; memory and identity; literature and the emotions; women and gender; art and medicine.

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Dr David Hornsby: Senior Lecturer in French and Linguistics

The history of the French language; sociolinguistics of French; sociolinguistic theory.

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Professor Ben Hutchinson: Professor of Modern European Literature

Nineteenth and 20th-century German and European literature, especially Rilke, W G Sebald, Jean Améry, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Geoffrey Hill, 20th-century poetry, modernism.

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Dr Xiaofan Amy Li: Lecturer in Comparative Literature

France and China/East-Asia in the 20th and 21st centuries, the French reception of Chinese antiquity.

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Dr Patricia Novillo-Corvalan: Senior Lecturer in Comparative Literature

Modernism, 20th-century Hispanic and Latin American literature; Borges, Cortázar, Joyce; reception studies; medical humanities.

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Dr Anna Katharina Schaffner: Reader in Comparative Literature

Modernist literature, the history of sexuality, the European avant-garde, the history of medicine and psychoanalysis.

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Dr Axel Staehler: Reader in Comparative Literature

Jewish literature and culture, early modern European festival culture, the 18th-century novel in Europe, intermediality and ‘iconarratology’, postcolonial literature and theory, contact zones and intercultural communication, fundamentalism and literature.

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Professor Shane Weller: Professor of Comparative Literature

European modernism, postmodernism and literary theory; Beckett, Kafka, Blanchot, Celan, Bernhard, Sebald; literature and ethics; literature and philosophy; history of ideas.

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Dr Patricia Novillo-Corvalan: Lecturer

Modernism, 20th-century Hispanic and Latin American literature; Borges, Cortázar, Joyce; reception studies; medical humanities.

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Dr Sara-Louise Cooper: Lecturer in French

French language and literature from the nineteenth century to the present day.

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Fees

The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

French and Comparative Literature - PhD at Canterbury:
UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £4260 £15200
Part-time £2130 £7600

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both: