Honours in French Studies

‘Honours’ is an intensive year-long program of advanced study with research at its centre. The Honours year enables students to engage with the subject of their major in depth by undertaking research of their own, under the supervision of an expert in the their field. For some students, Honours is the culmination of their formal education while for other students, Honours is the first step on the path to careers as professional researchers and academics. Many staff in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences find Honours teaching the most rewarding part of their job.

Entry Requirements and Program Structure

All students may qualify for fourth year honours, regardless of the language level at which they commenced. Admission to honours requires completion of 48 senior credit points (equivalent to 8 senior units) with a Credit average or above. This requirement includes completion of the major, and:

  • Students in the Introductory Stream must include FRNC2626 or equivalent exchange units.
  • Students in the Intermediate Stream must include at least two 2000 level Advanced culture units or equivalent exchange units.
  • Students in the Advanced Stream must include at least a second 3000 level Advanced culture unit or equivalent exchange units.

It is strongly recommended that all intending Honours students complete at least one semester exchange in a French-speaking country.

Students whose bachelor's degree was undertaken at another university, or students who completed their bachelor's degrees at the University of Sydney more than two years ago should contact the Honours Coordinator to discuss whether the classes they have taken are equivalent to these prerequisites.

Please note: from 2015 the minimum requirement for entry into Honours will increase to an average of 70% or above across 48 senior credit points in the intended subject area/s.

Meeting the minimum entry requirements does not guarantee you entry into the Honours programme. Honours places can only be granted where there is supervisory capacity.


The Honours program in French Studies consists of:

  1. a thesis written under the supervision of one or more members of academic staff
  2. two seminars that meet weekly for two hours for one semester.

The thesis should be of 18000-20000 words. Each seminar requires 6000-8000 words of written work or its equivalent. The thesis is worth 60% of the final Honours mark and each of the seminars is worth 20%. While you will receive marks for all pieces of assessment, your academic transcripts will record only your final, overall Honours mark.


Students should consult with the Honours Coordinator regarding seminar offerings in the current year.


The honours thesis constitutes an original piece of research and writing in a field that can be supervised by a member of staff. It amounts to 18000-20000 words of writing and must demonstrate both a command of a wide range of secondary source material in French studies, as well as a command of a particular disciplinary or interdisciplinary approach to the topic of the research. The thesis can be written in either English or French.

Thesis Supervision

In the first instance, students should contact the Honours Coordinator to discuss their preferred field of Honours study. They will be able to suggest the most appropriate member of staff within the department to supervise the Thesis. The list below, whilst not exhaustive, gives an idea of the areas of interest of staff from the Department.

  • Professor Martine Antle supervises in * Europe and colonialism * Surrealism * Identities in European, Franco/Arab and Middle Eastern films * The construction of gender and race from the 1900s * Contemporary theatre from the 1900s * Women writers * Minimalist writers * Francophone literature and film * Franco/Asian encounters * Franco/Arab dialogues * Transnational Art
  • Assoc Prof Marie-Thérèse Barbaux supervises in Second language learning and pedagogy * Learning technologies and social media * French as a foreign language pedagogy * Collaborative and autonomous language learning * Learning design * Blended learning design * Digital literacy
  • Dr Alice Caffarel-Cayron supervises in Theoretical and applied linguistics * Systemic Functional Linguistics * Language Typology * Discourse analysis * Stylistics * First and Second language development.
  • Dr Françoise Grauby supervises in Nineteenth century French popular literature and writers.
  • Dr Caroline Lipovsky supervises in French language * Sociolinguistics * Systemic Functional Linguistics * Research methods in applied linguistics.
  • Dr Michelle Royer supervises in French cinema * French feminist discourse * Marguerite Duras and the media * Marguerite Duras’ films, novels and autobiographic writing.
  • Dr Carolyn Stott supervises in French detective fiction and roman noir * Parisian history, sociology and fiction * French as a foreign language pedagogy * France in the 20th and 21st centuries.
  • Dr Sonia Wilson supervises in French autobiographical writing * intersection of gender and genre *late nineteenth century French women's writing and social history * Annie Ernaux
  • Assoc Prof Bronwyn Winter supervises in Colonisation/decolonisation/postcolonialism * Francophone Studies: The Maghreb, West Africa, The Caribbean * The politics and theory of race and gender in France * Post world-war-II social movements * Le grand siècle (17th century) * The ideology of the French Revolution and of the First and Third Republics * Comparative literature esp. history and theories of the discipline * Orientalism in literature and dance * Lesbian and gay literature * Literature, culture and politics * Representations of Paris in literature * International and Global Studies, esp. international institutions, transnational social movements and the politics of transculturation.


In the first instance you should discuss your intention to apply for Honours with the Honours Coordinator. Students will enrol in FRNC4011, 4012, 4013 and 4014. These, however, are merely generic or ‘shell’ units for your coursework component.

Enrolments are completed online. Go to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Honours webpage for further information on Honours and on the online enrolment application procedure.


Queries relating to the French studies Honours program should be directed to the Honours Coordinator.