Faculty of Modern LanguagesFrench / Transcultural Studies. Literature and language contact within the francophone area (Heidelberg and Montpellier)

Degree programmes in Romance studies consider Romance languages, literature and cultures. The study of French focusses more particularly, on languages, literature and cultures in the French-speaking world.

Romance studies covers research and teaching across Romance languages, literature and cultures. The most important Romance languages, which share their roots in Latin, include French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Occitan, Catalan, Gaelic, Sardinian and Rhaeto-Romanic. Variants of these Romance languages, their corresponding literatures and cultures, are also found outside Europe, in areas including Latin America, North America, and Africa.

Degree courses in French encompass French language, literature, and cultural studies. In addition to content in these three areas, students attend language sessions which are taught exclusively by native speakers.

Special Features and Characteristics

  • Heidelberg University has ERASMUS agreements with seven universities in France, a cooperation agreement with the Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3; and also runs a student and teacher exchange programme with the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon. 
  • internal and external links with different research centres, for example the European Linguistics Centre (Europäischen Zentrum für Sprachwissenschaften, EZS) 
  • numerous international research contacts
  • specific formats for courses conducted in the target language
  • International Double Degree Variant in Cooperation with Paul Valéry University of Montpellier (UPVM, Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier III): The first year of study will be spent at the student’s home university, with the second year spent at the partner university. The double degree variant covers French and German perspectives on language and culture contact, as well as issues of transculturality in the francophone world.


Research at Heidelberg University is conducted in the fields of linguistics, literary studies, and cultural studies.

Research specialisms within linguistics include:

  • Everyday French language
  • Syntax in spoken French
  • Resources for interaction (language, gesture, eye contact)
  • Language history, language change and language contact with relevance to French
  • Variational linguistics
  • Historical sociolinguistics and pragmatics, discourse linguistics
  • Language standardisation and language criticism

Research specialisms in literary studies and cultural studies include:

  • “Why literature?” Aesthetic competencies
  • (Musical) theatre from the Enlightenment to the present day - between theory and practice
  • Novels and short prose, poetry and chanson (with a particular focus on the modern period and present day)
  • Francophone literatures and world cinema
  • Literary and media theory, including the sociology of literature, theories of affect, fiction, form and genre
  • Cultural studies and post-colonial theories, popular culture

Occupational Areas

Graduates of a degree programme in French may pursue a career in the following fields:  

  • teaching (German secondary school - Gymnasium) 
  • training and consulting institutions 
  • universities and research institutes 
  • media 
  • communications and translation 
  • publishing 
  • tourism 
  • and other fields in which knowledge of French language, literature and culture is of benefit.


Studierende Französische Philologie Uni Heidelberg

I have always been interested in Romance languages and in particular in the linguistic and cultural diversity of the areas in which Romance languages are spoken. I was attracted to the new Master’s degree programme at Heidelberg University due to its interdisciplinary orientation, the high academic quality and the opportunity to learn a second Romance language, such as Catalan. The academic programme focuses on contact phenomena in the fields of linguistics, cultural and literary studies as well as transcultural processes.

Tuba Bozkurt, 23, French/Transcultural Studies, 2nd semester Master