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Here are 5 great places to study literature in France

Imagine reading Proust by the river Seine with a glass of red wine in one hand, and a slice of Brie in the other. Read this article to find the perfect literature course in France and make that image a reality for you.
BY Ansh Athani |   14-03-2019


Literature has the power to shape the perceptions of communities, people and periods of history.  While English writers - the likes of Shakespeare and Keats dominate the global literary landscape, many of the revolutions in modern thought, philosophy and literary genres were heavily influenced by French writers. Whether it is the witty, and exciting, rivalry of Voltaire and Rousseau, the genre defining work of realists like Proust and pessimists like Sartre, France has breathed life into much of the styles and thoughts popular in the last two centuries..  

If you are interested in tracing the steps of one of these literary giants, here are 5 great places to study literature in France.

  1. Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL)
    In 2019, Times Higher Education ranked PSL as number 1 in France and 41st in the world. The university offers three postgraduate degrees in literature. The Ecole Normale Superieure degree gives students the opportunity to research and teach in various streams of humanities and science. The ENS graduate degree gives students training opportunities along with research. Both these degrees are taught in English and French. The third masters program offered is in Digital Humanities, and trains students to mine and analyze data in a chosen humanities field. This course is only taught in French. PSL also has a post-masters degree for literature students interested in joining the corporate world. The course is taught in French, and consists of seminars, workshops and a six-month corporate internship.

  2.  Sorbonne University
    Times Higher Education ranked Sorbonne 2nd in France, and 73rd in the world in 2019. The university offers several exchange programs in humanities for students from the Ivy leagues, Vassar, Wesleyan and the Franco-Chinese Institute in Shanghai. The university also hosts several summer lectures in English on French culture, literature, politics and philosophy. In terms of doctorates, the Sorbonne offers a program in French exploring the ‘Founding European Myths in Arts and Literature’ and a program in Italian on European Humanism and Renaissance.

  3. Paris Diderot University
    In 2019, Times Higher Education ranked Paris Diderot 4th in France and 194th in the world. Paris Diderot University offers an undergraduate degree called the English license langue literature civilisations étrangères et régionale (LLCER). This degree prepares students for fluency in a foreign language, its literature, culture and history. Graduates with this particular degree have the flexibility of pursuing further studies, or working in management translation, and marketing in countries where the language is spoken. A master’s degree in English and American studies is also offered by the university. The masters course lasts two years, and covers a variety of topics, including history and historiography of Great Britain/North America and arts and culture of the two countries.

  4. Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon
    Times Higher education ranked Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon 6th in France and between 201-250 in the world in 2019. The university offers four masters programs related to literature. The first is an Anglophone Studies program, which trains specialists in languages, literature, history of ideas and civilization in English speaking countries. This masters program offers a few classes in English, but is mostly taught in French. The other three masters programs are taught entirely in French. The Modern Literature program offers students the option to study French literature, French language, or comparative literature and literature from French speaking countries. The Language, Literatures and Ancient Civilizations course focuses on training students in Antiquity, with classes in archaeology, specialized seminars in Latin and Greek, a mandatory program for dissertation writing, and an option to train in digital humanities. The program on History, Archaeology, Literature and Medieval Christian and Muslim worlds offers students the opportunity to explore Medieval Christian and Muslim worlds in an interdisciplinary manner, both comparing and contrasting the literature, history and art of these two cultures.

  5.  Grenoble Alpes University
    In 2019, Times Higher Education ranked Grenoble Alpes University 10th in France and between 301-350 in the world. Set in the picturesque alpes Grenoble Alpes University offers Bachelors and Masters LLCER degrees in English, German, Spanish, Russian and Italian. It also offers a distance learning option for students who want to obtain a university diploma to become English teachers, a master’s degree in didactics of language, and a university diploma to teach French as a Foreign language.

For more information on studying in France, check out:
A simple guide to higher education in France
The application process to study in France, explained in one simple chart
International students are starting to pick France over the US and the UK. Here's why.


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