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French Language and Literature

Fribourg profile

The Department of French offers a doctorate in French Literature (from the Middle Ages to contemporary times) and French Linguistics.

The programme offers an opportunity to approach the entire spectrum of language and literature in all its manifestations from a variety of perspectives and in a spirit of dialogue and close collaboration between the professors and doctoral students, and with the Department's international partners.

Consequently, theses written here can pursue any of numerous areas, including:

French literature (from the 9th to the 20th century)

  • Poetic and thematic approaches
  • Critical editions of literary texts (also, online publishing)
  • History of theatre and drama
  • Literary theory
  • Interdisciplinary and transversal approaches
  • Intercultural, post-colonial and global approaches

Certain members of the teaching staff (Prof. Th. Hunkeler, Prof. M. Viegnes, Prof. M. Uhlig) are also willing to supervise theses on comparative literature.

Prof. M. Uhlig also accepts theses in Gallo-Roman philology.

French linguistics

  • Morphosemantic properties of lexical units, polysemy
  • Nominal typology, semantic corpus annotation
  • Neology
  • Expression of space and time in language and discourse
  • Verbal constructions
  • Micro-syntax and macro-syntax
  • Pragmatics
  • Linguistic variation
  • Spoken French
  • Enunciation

Co-supervision of theses, including international co-supervision, is possible in most cases, whether in French literature or linguistics.

Throughout their thesis, doctoral students work as an integral part of skilled research teams made up of professors, postdocs and other doctoral students and receive coaching in the following forms:

  • Teaching events specific to the University of Fribourg: research seminars and doctoral colloquia, both intradisciplinary and interdisciplinary; doctoral events held in collaboration with partner universities abroad;
  • Participation in the CUSO (Conférence Universitaire de Suisse Occidentale) doctoral schools in the fields of French literature, language sciences and medieval studies, and in the Swissuniversities doctoral schools of language sciences, comparative literature and medieval studies;
  • Integration into the everyday activities of the Department of French.

Professors who are eligible to supervise theses

French literature

  • Prof. Thomas Hunkeler

Areas of specialisation:
– Renaissance literature
– History of theatre and dramaturgy
– European modernism and avant-garde movements
– Contemporary literature and theatre
– Literary theory and comparative literature

  • Prof. Michel Viegnes

Areas of specialisation:
– French literature of the 19th and 20th centuries (notably, the poetics of short fiction, poetry, the novel and the essay)
– Fantastic literature
– Literature and spirituality
– Comparative literature and intercultural issues

  • Prof. Claude Bourqui

Areas of specialisation:
– Literature of the 17th and 18th centuries
– History of theatre (16th to 18th century)

  • Prof. Marion Uhlig

Areas of specialisation:
– French literature of the Middle Ages and medieval theatre
– Literature and interculturality
– Travel literature
– Literary theory and narratology

French linguistics

  • Prof. Richard Huyghe

Areas of specialisation:
– Nominal semantics
– Morphological derivation
– Syntax

  • Prof. Gilles Corminboeuf

Areas of specialisation:
– Micro-syntax and macro-syntax
– Pragmatics
– Linguistic variation
– Spoken French
– Enunciation

Studies organisation

Structure of studies

No ECTS credits can be earned.

Doctoral school



In order to be admitted to a doctorate the candidate must have been awarded an academic bachelor's and master's degree or an equivalent qualification from a university recognised by the University of Fribourg.

Before applying for a doctorate the candidate must contact a professor who would be willing to supervise the thesis work.

There is no general right to be admitted to a doctorate.

The respective conditions of admission for each doctoral study programme are reserved.