English Language and French (BA)

The Joint Honours degree in English Language and French provides you with the opportunity of specialising in two university honours subjects.

Many students find joint honours both stimulating and rewarding as they are able to observe both similarities and differences in the two subjects.

English Language at Cardiff has a distinctive character. You will be provided with a rigorous grounding in the analysis of the English language, learning such essential linguistic tools as phonetics, grammar and discourse analysis from those who are helping develop those fields. You will also learn how to analyse the types of multimodal (e.g. word+image+sound) texts that predominate in contemporary and new media. We also focus on the intersection of language with culture, society, politics and mind. 

France is a major actor on the European and world stage and possesses a rich and sophisticated culture. Its language is more important today than it has ever been. This course will enable you to develop your writing skills through a range of exercises including resumes and essays with your oral and aural skills being practised through a varied pool of audio-video material, websites, films and computer programmes. 

In French, you develop high-level language skills with the aim of achieving near-native competency along with in-depth knowledge of aspects of the culture, history, politics and society of France. Students spend their third year in France, practising and developing their language skills.

It is important to remember that studying languages is not just about the language itself. It involves examining many aspects of a country and its culture, its social structures and institutions, politics, history, literature and cinema. Through the study of such areas you are able to gain a better understanding of French culture and of how Italy has evolved over the centuries, becoming what it is today.

As a joint honours student, you will find that often there are complementary issues and perspectives that link subjects, be they critical analysis, historical contexts or recent research. 

Each school involved in delivering the degree offers a challenging programme of modules, supported by a friendly atmosphere and excellent staff-student relationships.

Key facts

Duration4 years
Typical places availableThe School of English, Communication and Philosophy typically has 350 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School of English, Communication and Philosophy typically receives 1450 applications.
Scholarships and bursaries
Typical A level offerABB (to include French). Three A-level subjects.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core and grades AB at A-level, to include an A in French.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer33 points including 6 in higher French.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed admissions and selection criteria for more information.

Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
QAA subject benchmark

English Studies, Linguistics, Communication, Language & related studies

Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Dr Mercedes Durham , Admissions Tutor

    Within English Language, you will learn such essential linguistic tools as phonetics, grammar and discourse analysis from those who are helping develop those fields. Since we take a broad approach to language, you will also learn how to analyse the types of multimodal (e.g. word+image+sound) texts that predominate in contemporary and new media.

    Language analysis, though, is just the starting point. What makes Cardiff special is our focus on the intersection of language with culture, society, politics and mind. While arming you with technical skills of analysis, we then expect you to grapple with exciting theories that will enable you to take into account the multifarious aspects of the context of language use and interpret the communication in a complex and meaningful way.

    Year one

    Students of this course can choose to study modules outside of their allocated School(s) core and optional modules. These can be chosen from modules from participating Academic Schools.

    Year two

    Year three: Sandwich year

    Year four

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    French Language (BA Languages)ML638020 credits

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    Communication DisordersSE134720 credits
    Persuasive CommunicationSE137120 credits
    Project in Language and Communication 1SE138120 credits
    Project in Language and Communication 2SE138220 credits
    Forensic LinguisticsSE132420 credits
    Language Learning and TeachingSE132920 credits
    Language, Genre and IdeologySE139720 credits
    DissertationSE138040 credits
    Lifespan CommunicationSE132720 credits
    Writing AfricaML638120 credits
    May 68. Marking Changes in European Politics and CultureML139920 credits
    Student Language AmbassadorML139820 credits
    French for professional purposesML639620 credits
    Translation as a ProfessionML239320 credits
    The Graphic MemoirSE140920 credits
    Advanced Translation Practice (French)ML638620 credits
    Social InteractionSE133920 credits
    Functions of GrammarSE134020 credits
    Patterns of LanguageSE139620 credits
    Media DiscourseSE140820 credits
    Dissertation (Joint Honours -In English/Welsh)ML638420 credits
    Final Year Joint Honours French Dissertation IN FRENCHML637920 credits
    Children, Language & CommunicationSE131220 credits
    Communicating in RelationshipsSE134420 credits
    Sound in ActionSE140720 credits
    International Study Abroad (60 credits) AutumnSE625160 credits
    International Study Abroad (60 credits) SpringSE625260 credits
    History of French LabourML630020 credits
    European Cinema: thinking the real of fictionML230220 credits
    Dissertation (Translation)ML238920 credits
    Y Chwyldro Ffrengig [The French Revolution]ML630120 credits
    Dépassement de l’art: The Parisian Avant-Garde and the Revolution of Everyday Life from Breton to DebordML630220 credits
    European Cinema DissertationML230320 credits
    Dissertation (Joint Honours -In English/Welsh)ML638420 credits
    Final Year Joint Honours French Dissertation IN FRENCHML637920 credits
    Final Year Joint Honours French Dissertation IN FRENCHML637920 credits
    The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

    School of English, Communication and Philosophy
    The School of English, Communication and Philosophy offers intellectually stimulating programmes of study, shaped by the latest research. We have a supportive learning environment, where students are enabled to acquire a range of skills and a wealth of specialist knowledge.

    Our programmes foster intellectual skills, such as critical thinking, close analysis, evaluating evidence, constructing arguments, using theory, and the effective deployment of language in writing and in debate. We also help you gain experience in team-working, independent research, and time management. A range of formative and summative assessment methods are used, including essays, examinations, presentations, portfolios, and creative assignments.

    School of Modern Languages
    Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping students to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop their own ideas.

    Seminars provide an opportunity for students to explore the ideas outlined in the lecture in a small group environment. Seminars would usually consist of about 15 students and the seminar leader (a member of the teaching team). Seminars may take various formats, including plenary group discussion, small group work and student-led presentations. Seminars offer a rewarding opportunity to engage critically with the key ideas and reading of a topic, and to explore areas of particular interest with an expert in the field. It is vital that students prepare for seminars (undertaking any set reading, developing independent critical thought) in order to gain the maximum benefit from the sessions.

    Lectures and seminars enable students to develop communication and analytical skills, and to develop critical thinking in a supportive environment.

    Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing students’ capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Dedicated essay workshops and individual advice enables students to produce their best work, and written feedback on essays feeds forward into future work, enabling students to develop their strengths and address any weaker areas.

    Dissertation: The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and thereby to acquire detailed knowledge about a particular field of study; to use your initiative in the collection and presentation of material; and present a clear, cogent argument and draw appropriate conclusions.

    Pastoral Care: You will be allocated a personal tutor for the entire period you are at the University. Personal tutors are members of the academic staff who are available to students seeking advice, guidance and help.

    School of English, Communication and Philosophy
    In 2013/14, 91% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

    School of Modern Languages
    In 2013/14, 95% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

    The destinations from the School are often international in nature, with many graduates enjoying their overseas student experience to such an extent that they opt to take time out to travel further, or go abroad on graduation in the hope of securing employment. 

    Of those who choose to remain in the UK, many start work immediately following their studies. Their employment options are varied and many opt to utilise the language skills that they have developed over their degree, in roles such as Translators, Language Assistants, Export Assistants and Proofreaders, working with their languages in organisations such as Bearmach Ltd, the British Council, Global Response and Inter Global.


    4 Year(s)

    Next intake

    September 2016

    Places available

    Typical places available

    The School of English, Communication and Philosophy admits around 360 students every year to its undergraduate degree programmes.

    The School of European Languages, Translation and Politics admits around 230 students every year to its undergraduate programmes.

    Applications received

    Typical applications received

    The School of English, Communication and Philosophy = 1500

    The School of European Language, Translation and Politics = 1300


    QAA subject benchmark

    QAA subject benchmark

    English Studies, Linguistics, Communication, Language & related studies

    What are the aims of this Programme?

    The BA English Language and French is a Joint Honours degree programme which enables you to combine the study of English Language and French by choosing from the range of modules offered by each subject.

    English Language

    English Language is concerned with the structure, use and significance of language, with a particular focus on the English language as it is spoken and written across the world in many different social and professional settings. It studies spoken, written and multimodal texts but also how speakers and hearers learn, interpret and evaluate language and communicational contexts. Studying for a degree in English Language develops abilities to analyse and critique the language and communication that surrounds us but also helps develop strong skills in communicating clearly and effectively. English Language graduates are known for their ability to combine the best of social science skills, such as technical analysis and systematic method, with the best of humanities skills, such as flexibility, communication and critique.

    The English Language programme at Cardiff combines a strong foundation in linguistic and communicational analysis with plenty of opportunities for students to pursue specific academic and career-related interests. We offer modules in descriptive traditions of language, such as the study of phonetics, grammar and child language, but also in critical traditions such as the study of discourse and the relation between language and power. We also offer a number of modules that are directly relevant to career areas in education, the media, health, and the legal process.


    Throughout the programme, students of French will undertake language and non-language study that is pitched at an appropriate level. In French language, year one students build upon core linguistic skills developed at A-level. In year two, a strong focus is placed on preparation for the year abroad, during which students (either on Erasmus programmes, work placements, or -if they study only one language- on the British Council Assistantship scheme in France) are immersed in the target language. In the final year students hone their linguistic skills in terms of expression and translation.

    A similar evolution applies to non-language learning. In year one, students are introduced to Modern French culture, literature, civilisation and politics. In years two and four, greater specialisation is encouraged, with options in French fiction, politics, colonial history and industrial relations as well as francophone cinema, business French, European Cinema, European Literature and Translation as a Profession. Final year students also specialise in an area of their choice and write a dissertation to deepen their understanding and to extend their research and analytical skills. 

    What is expected of me?

    English Language

    Students are expected to attend and participate in the lectures and seminars for all modules on which they are enrolled. In line with University policy, attendance will be monitored at specific ‘points of engagement’ throughout the year. Students are expected to stay up to date with communications from their lecturers and tutors through email and/or Learning Central. Students with good cause to be absent should inform their module leaders, who will provide the necessary support. Students with extenuating circumstances should submit the Extenuating Circumstances Form in accordance with the School’s procedures.

    The total number of hours which students are expected to devote to each 20-credit module is 200. Of these, 30 hours will be contact hours with staff (lectures and seminars); the remaining 170 hours should be spent on self-directed learning for that module (reading, preparation for seminars, research, reflection, formative writing, assessed work, exam revision).  There are also additional seminars and workshops that students are able to attend.

    Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study, which can be found here:


    Lecture and Seminar attendance is compulsory.  Students will be expected to participate as outlined above and to complete the required reading and self-directed study. Students must undertake independent study ahead of language and non-language classes and must submit homework regularly on time as well as preparing guided study as required. Students who fail to engage may be excluded from the University. Students must reference their essays accurately, avoiding plagiarism, which, if proven, can have serious consequences for a student. Advice is provided by tutors and in handbooks on how to avoid plagiarism. Students are required to undertake a full academic year of study in France or the French-speaking part of Switzerland or Belgium, except in instances where students have completed their secondary education in France.

    Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study.

    Students will be advised during year abroad briefings of the need to adhere to Cardiff University’s Code of Practice on Study away from Cardiff.

    How is this Programme Structured?

    The BA English Language and French is a four-year degree programme.  It is structured so that students acquire in successive years near-native language competency and the skills to become independent researchers, equipped for high-level professional employment.

    The programme is offered in full-time mode over four academic years.  The first year consists of 80 core credits (40 credits from English Language and 40 credits from French).  A further 40 credits are chosen from either English Language, one of the other modern languages or from another Humanities subject.   Students in their second year take 40 compulsory credits in Discourse and Sound, Structure and Meaning for English Language and a compulsory 20 credit French Language module.  Students choose the remainder of their second year credits from optional modules available in English Language (20 credits) and Spanish (40 credits).  Year Three is a year spent studying or working abroad in France or in a Francophone country and is compulsory.  The Year Abroad attracts 120 credits.  Students in their final year must choose 60 credits from the range of optional modules available in English Language, plus a 20 credit module in either French for Professional Purposes or Advanced Translation Practice plus 40 further credits from the range of optional modules available in French.  Students must pass each academic year before being allowed to proceed.

    Will I need any specific equipment to study this Programme?

    There is no specific equipment required to enable study on this Programme.

    What skills will I practise and develop?

    English Language

    Students will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’.

    Many of the learning outcomes listed above involve practising skills that are transferable to numerous areas of employment.  Students who engage with the programme will practice and develop the ability to:

    • Communicate effectively with others
    • Use a variety of sources in a comprehensive and well-documented manner
    • Use electronic sources and other information effectively and as appropriate
    • Take responsibility for their own learning programme and professional development.


    Students will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’.

    Through the programme, the students will:

    -develop their linguistic skills, as well as a broad appreciation of the culture, literature, and history of France and Francophone countries.

    -be presented with numerous opportunities to extend their communication and presentation skills;

    -learn to develop arguments and critique evidence, using oral and written communication,

    -enhance their interpersonal relations through participation in tutorials and classes.

    -develop their capacity both for independent and co-operative working

    -enhance their employability prospects by undertaking a challenging year abroad, and, where appropriate, taking up opportunities afforded to them to act as staff-student representatives, UNISTAFF) or student ambassadors teaching French in local schools

    -use communication and information technologies for the retrieval and presentation of information

    -enhance their capacity for self-reliance, the taking of initiatives and time management

    -Reflect on their own learning and make use of constructive feedback

    -Manage their own learning self-critically

    How will I be taught?

    English Language

    A diverse range of teaching and learning styles is used throughout the programme. Students attend lectures, participate in seminars and carry out independent research in preparation for each session. Modules usually last one semester and mostly consist in 2 lectures and 1 seminar per week, as well as independent study.

    A few of the modules on the programme are core but most of the modules are optional. Students may take a project or dissertation in Year 3 if they meet the entry requirements as indicated in the Course Guide.

    The learning activities will vary from module to module as appropriate, but may include such activities as: interactive lectures, seminar discussions of prepared texts/topics, student presentations or group presentations and small-group work within seminars. Students are expected to do the reading and other relevant preparation to enable them to take a full part in these activities and are encouraged to explore the resources of the library as appropriate.

    In the final year of the degree students have the option of choosing to write a dissertation on a topic of particular interest to them.


    Delivery will be via lectures, seminar preparation and participation, independent and guided study in language laboratories, independent reading, preparation of essays and presentations, feedback on essays and presentations, and revision sessions for examinations.

    Students will also benefit from regular feedback from their Personal Tutor at key moments of their language degree.

    Students interested in teaching may have the possibility of completing an internship teaching French in a UK secondary school. All Joint Honours students must spend a minimum of 4.5 months in France, Switzerland or Belgium. Students may go abroad on the Erasmus scheme, or on work placement. Students working abroad need to write one long essay projects on relevant contemporary French issues, with the help of a tutor in Cardiff. 

    How will I be assessed?

    English Language

    The taught modules within the programme are assessed through a variety of methods:

    • Traditional academic essays
    • Data-based essays
    • Projects involving data collection and transcription
    • Formal exams
    • Oral presentations
    • Practical creative projects

    The form(s) of assessment for individual modules are set out in the relevant Module Description. Most modules are assessed by assessed essay and/or examination, but some include other forms of assessment such as design tasks or presentations. The assessment strategy is structured to lead students from specimen question papers towards the production of an informed answer. Emphasis in assessment is placed on the writing of clear, persuasive and scholarly essays presented in a professional manner and submitted on time. Details of any academic or competence standards which may limit the availability of adjustments or alternative assessments for disabled students are noted in the Module Descriptions.


    Students will receive individual written feedback on written coursework and group written feedback on exams. Students are encouraged to discuss their ideas with module tutors in seminars and, where appropriate, on a one-to-one basis in office hours.


    These programmes are assessed by examinations, formative and summative essays, and a wide range of other forms of continuous assessment (including regular submission of translation passages from and into French, summaries, language essays, presentations, and class tests). Other forms of assessment include the writing of reports during and following work placements/ internships. Mock examinations are also used as a way of gauging progress ahead of more formal assessment.

    Students submitting extenuating circumstances may sit examinations in alternative venues and may be accorded extra time. Students who have already been educated in the French secondary school system may be eligible for exemption from the year abroad.

    How will I be supported?

    English Language

    Every student is assigned a personal tutor and will meet him/her for regular Academic Progress Meetings (one per semester). There is a form to fill in before each Academic Progress meeting which is designed to help you reflect on the written feedback and the reasons for the marks you have received from the previous round of assessment. You will discuss this feedback and your reflections on it with your personal tutor.

    In addition, all staff have weekly office hours during teaching weeks and students may make appointments to see their personal tutor or module leaders on a one-to-one basis about any issues. Staff may also be contacted by email. Details of the office hours and email addresses of staff are provided in the Module Guide for each module.

    Use of Learning Central, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment, will vary from module to module as the module leader feels appropriate for the specific contents of the module but will normally at least include making lecture handouts available online.


    The School makes full use of Learning Central and students have the opportunity to improve their study and research skills within the programmes.

    Academic Tutors have office hours for students to meet and discuss any learning queries as well as the opportunity in seminars.  The School has a wide programme of visiting speakers and guest lectures and students are encouraged to attend.

    In addition, the School’s robust pastoral care system, coupled with excellent counselling available from the Student Support Centre, helps to ensure that students encountering learning or other personal difficulties are given the proper guidance and support.

    In languages, students are also given a reading week each semester during which they are given guided study and afforded an opportunity to catch up on assessed work, readings and revision. These reading weeks are used by staff both to visit students on their year abroad and to review the quality of learning provision offered by Socrates partner institutions. 

    What are the Learning Outcomes of this Programme?

    English Language

    Graduates from this programme will be able to:

    • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of core areas of English language studies, including phonetics, grammar, semantics, pragmatics and discourse analysis
    • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of empirical linguistic phenomena and of the relevant descriptive terminology so as to have a practical understanding of what language is and how it works in actual use
    • Demonstrate responsiveness to the central role of language in the creation of meaning and a sensitivity to the affective power of language
    • Demonstrate awareness of how different social and cultural contexts affect the nature of language and meaning
    • Critically evaluate ideas, arguments and empirical research
    • Collect, evaluate, synthesise and interpret qualitative and/or quantitative data


    Graduates from this Programme will be able to:

    • produce a high level of fluency in oral and written French
    • assess the central role of language in the process of creating meaning and knowledge
    • demonstrate intellectual skills which allow detailed reading, assessment, and production of texts of different types
    • appreciate how language and culture feed into each other to generate meaning and understanding
    • evaluate and critically discuss texts, concepts and theories relevant to the field of French Studies
    • demonstrate an understanding of a range of texts (including film) from different historical periods and from different genres
    • demonstrate a good understanding of the position and importance of French language and culture in the modern world
    • use information technology to present and analyse materials in an effective manner, including using software to check and improve language

    Other information

    For students who do not have the required entry grades for Single and Joint Honours French, there will be a pathway into this degree for Beginners from 2014-15.

    Students taking the Single and Joint Honours French programme at Cardiff may be particularly interested in the following features that are likely to increase their employability:

    ·         the possibility for students of Business French to sit the internationally recognised examination of the Paris Chamber of Commerce

    ·         the chance for students interested in teaching to undertake an internship teaching French in a UK secondary school

    ·         the possibility for students studying only one foreign language to teach in a French school during their year abroad

    ·         the opportunity for all students of French to organise, on their own initiative, a suitable work placement in a French-speaking country. 

    Admissions tutors

    Dr Mercedes Durham , Admissions Tutor

      Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.