Prize winning photograph from the Year Abroad Competition

French Studies

French at Newcastle is a friendly and approachable Section. A team of eleven lecturers, comprising both French and English native speakers, cover a variety of different aspects of French Studies, including the French Caribbean and Algeria as well as France. We offer a wide and flexible choice of subject combinations, so that you can combine French with, for example, Spanish, German, Chinese or Japanese, or study it along with Business or Linguistics.

Our modules

In addition to compulsory French language modules, which are taught by an award-winning language team, we offer a wide range of optional modules on French and francophone history, society and politics, literature and culture, film, and linguistics. You may choose to sample different aspects of French studies, or focus on the area which interests you most. Our modules are inspired and informed by themes from our research interests. You will be taught by experts in the field who publish on their specialist topics and are up to date with the latest thinking and debates. Our focus is broadly contemporary, and some of our options are taught and assessed in French to help to develop your academic language further. We have also integrated our French exchange students into our activities via initiatives such as a project which strengthens the links between native French speaking exchange students and our undergraduate students and thus allows undergraduates additional opportunities to practise speaking French.

Year Abroad

On the year abroad you may study at university, work as an English language assistant in a school, or undertake a work placement, depending on where your interests lie. We have exchange Erasmus links with universities, business and translation schools across France (Paris, Angers, Tours, Troyes, Pau, Nancy, Grenoble and Chambéry), in Belgium (Brussels) and in Switzerland (Geneva). We also have regular internships with the company Adacore in Paris and two summer internships with local authorities in Nancy.

Extra-curricular activities

There are lots of activities going on in French at Newcastle, including film screenings and study days at the Tyneside Cinema. There is an opportunity to get involved in the local Alliance Française which regularly hosts French evenings and offers free membership to undergraduate students. Final year students are also given the chance to translate documents provided by local, national or international charities to practice their translation and language skills in a professional context.

Postgraduate opportunities

The emphasis in final year on translation and interpreting paves the way to our MA programme in European Professional Translation. We also offer a one-year M.Litt degree, allowing you to focus in depth on one aspect of French studies that you may wish to carry further into postgraduate research as a PhD student. In final year we offer a dissertation option which you begin preparing for during the year abroad when you have the chance to develop independent research and find out what aspect of French you are most interested in.

Research Interests and Expertise

Newcastle has long been an important centre for French Studies. Currently we have strong research in Cultural Studies, Film Studies, Literature, Linguistics and Politics, History and Society. We provide a dynamic research environment, comprising staff of international prominence alongside a commitment to supporting younger researchers.

French is one of five subject groups within the School of Modern Languages (SML) which operates as a single administrative and academic unit. Kathryn Robson

Areas of specific French research interest are:

Richard Waltereit

Each research-active scholar specialises in one or more fields and engages in the theoretical and methodological debates of the corresponding academic communities across the School and the Faculty.

There is a strong commitment to interdisciplinary research activity at School, Faculty, regional, national and international levels, which has been fostered through the establishment of centres for national and international research excellence in which French staff play a leading role; the Centre for Research in Linguistics and Language Sciences (CRiLLS), directed by Dr Richard Waltereit, and the Research Centre for Film and Digital Media (RCFDM), directed by Professor Guy Austin.

Research Groups

Máire Cross

Scholarly Activity in Learning and Teaching

As well as its strong commitment to research, the section is also actively engaged with scholarly activity in language learning and teaching. The Section's language teaching team is currently working on the following projects:
  • E-Portfolio for Year Abroad Students (Michel);
  • E-Tandem between English and French UG students to improve fluency (Penet);
  • Practicing French Language Teaching in Higher Education for Erasmus Exchange Students (Penet, Salin);
  • Translating in Professional Contexts (Salin).
Those projects all take place locally within the School of Modern Languages but are disseminated nationally and internationally through publications and conference papers. This makes the School of Modern Languages' French Section one of the most innovative sites for the learning and teaching of French within British Higher Education, while significantly enhancing student experience.

External Engagement/Impact

Guy Austin Alliance Française Newcastle: Public Lectures (Cross, Michel, Penet)
"Home" Filmmaking Project (Austin)
Side Cinema: Algerian and French film seasons (Austin)
Tyneside Cinema: Film season (Leahy)


Caroline Cordier
Ellen Dew
Cecilia Gil
Jo Lumley
Mani Sharpe

Research Seminars

Externally funded Research Projects

Reflexive Marking in the History of French (R Waltereit, AHRC Fellowship)

Members of Staff in this Area
French Studies

Professor Guy Austin
Professor of French Studies

Professor Máire Cross
Professor of French Studies

Dr Hugh Dauncey
Senior Lecturer

Dr Myriem El Maizi
Lecturer in French

Dr Damien Hall
Lecturer in French Linguistics

Professor Nigel Harkness
Head of School

Dr Pauline Henry-Tierney
Lecturer in French Translation

Dr Sarah Leahy
Senior Lecturer

Dr Franck Michel
Senior Lecturer

Dr JC Penet
Lecturer in French and Translation Studies

Dr Kathryn Robson

Dr Sandra Salin
Lecturer in French

Professor Richard Waltereit
Prof of Romance Linguistics