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.

The School of Modern Languages and the School of English, Communication and Philosophy aim to educate our students to become ‘global citizens’. By combining French and English Language you will gain a variety of transferable skills and knowledge beneficial to the world of employment, making you competitive and attractive in an increasingly global workforce and opening the doors to a variety of career paths.  

English language at Cardiff has a distinctive character. As would be expected of any good course, you will be provided with a rigorous grounding in the analysis of the 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 texts (for example combining word, image and sound) that predominate in contemporary 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, possessing a rich and sophisticated culture. French is one of the official working languages of the European community and still a global language of culture and diplomacy.  

We offer French for both advanced students and beginners. In terms of language acquisition, this course will enable you to develop your writing, oral and aural skills through a range of learning activities, and using a variety of audio-visual materials. In your first year, in addition to your language tuition, an introduction to history and culture seeks to provide a solid foundation for more specialised studies as you progress through your course.  

Your understanding of the French language will be further developed and refined during your year abroad, when you will experience life in a French-speaking country at first hand.       

It is important to remember that studying languages is not just about the language itself. It involves exploring many aspects of a country. At Cardiff we aspire to offer a genuinely broad course including optional modules in film, literature, history of art, politics and history.

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 course of modules, supported by a friendly atmosphere and excellent staff-student relationships.

On completion of this four-year programme, you will have a high level of language proficiency, as well as a critical understanding of key aspects of French history, culture, literature, politics and contemporary society.   

Distinctive features

The distinctive features of the course include:

  • core modules that guarantee a solid base for all, but then allow you, with advice from your personal tutor, to carve out a programme that will best fit your interests and career aspirations
  • research-led teaching allowing you to engage with new ideas that are helping to shape the future of English Language and French studies
  • a pathway into this degree for beginners who do not have French A-level
  • a year spent studying or working in a French-speaking country
  • students of Business French may sit the internationally recognised examination of the Paris Chamber of Commerce

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration4 years
ModeFull time
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.
Typical A level offerABB. Three A-level subjects, generally including a B in a modern language for the French beginners pathway or B in French for the advanced pathway. Exceptions can be made according to personal circumstances. Two AS subjects may be considered in lieu of a third A-level.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerWBQ core will be accepted in lieu of one A-level (at the grades specified above), excluding 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
Admissions tutor(s)

This is a four-year full-time degree, consisting of 120 credits a year, split between the two subjects. The third year is spent abroad.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by July 2017.

Year one

Year one is a foundation year to give you the skills for advanced study and an overview of the two subjects to inform your later choices. You will take 120 credits in total equally split between 60 credits in English Language and 60 credits in French.

The two core modules in English Language provide an excellent grounding in language description, analysis and interpretation, and in sociolinguistics. You will choose a third module from a list of options.

In year one French you will build on core linguistic skills and be introduced to French culture, literature, civilisation and politics. There are two French pathways available: an advanced pathway for students with an A-level or equivalent competence in French and a beginner’s pathway for students with limited or no knowledge of French.

The first year of this programme provides a thorough foundation in the grammar of the language for those students on the beginner’s pathway, and develops the linguistic skills for post A-level students on the advanced pathway.

To provide a foundation for more specialised studies, you also study modules devoted to relevant history, culture, politics, economics and society.      

Module titleModule codeCredits
Introduction To Language & SocietySE111020 credits
Modern FranceML619920 credits
Introduction To LanguageSE110920 credits

Year two

In year two you will again take 60 credits in English Language and 60 credits in French.

In English Language you will take one core module, which covers all the essential elements of phonetics, grammar and lexical semantics (word meaning), building a common stock of knowledge and understanding.

You will also choose two options out a range of ‘foundation’ modules that provide engaging introductions to key areas of study in English Language. The training provided by these modules prepares you to make your choice from the more specialised, research-led ‘extension’ modules in year three.

The language elements of year two French focus on preparation for the year abroad.  This is complemented by optional modules, which offer real insights into French and Francophone life, politics, culture and more. You can choose a range of options, such as Business French (which prepares you for the highly sought-after Paris Chamber of Commerce examination), France and Africa, France and the Second World War or multimedia adaptations of French fiction amongst others.

Year three: Sandwich year

Year three is spent in France, or possibly in another French-speaking country. Your options include studying at one of our partner universities, working as an English assistant in a school through the British Council Scheme, or working for a French organisation or company. No matter what you choose, the year abroad is a great opportunity for you to improve your understanding of the language, immerse yourself in another culture, and gain international study or work experience.

If you choose the study option, we have established exchange programmes which provide opportunities to study in institutions in cities including Paris, Toulouse, Chambéry, Montpellier and Nantes amongst others, and we also have academic links with Brussels.  

Placements for teaching assistants on a scheme run by the British Council can take you to either a major city or a small, rural town. This option provides first-hand teaching experience and allows you to earn a salary sufficient to live on, although you only work on a part-time basis. Prior to the start of your placement, the British Council provides a training weekend in the destination country. In addition, the school you have been assigned to should also guide you in your role as a teacher and help you to find a place to live.

The third option consists of a work placement with an organisation or company in the French-speaking world. The necessary arrangements can be made through personal contacts you may have or by approaching organisations directly. In order to ensure that your work placement affords you plenty of opportunity to speak French and provides you with a beneficial experience, such arrangements will require prior approval by the School.

Any student who undertakes a study placement or a traineeship/work placement in Europe is eligible to apply for an Erasmus grant.     

The year abroad is a great opportunity for you to improve your understanding of the language, immerse yourself in another culture, and gain international study or work experience.

While you are away from Cardiff, you will be assigned a year abroad coordinator, who will keep in touch with you and monitor your progress. You may also get a visit from one of your lecturers who will be keen to find out how you are getting on.

Final year students are usually happy to help with our regular year abroad briefings and have contributed to our extensive ‘year abroad module’ on Learning Central which provides you with student-centred advice throughout your year abroad.

Studying or working abroad is excellent preparation for your final year and gives you a level of self-confidence and maturity that has proven popular with employers.                  

Year four

In your final year you will take 60 credits in English Language and 60 credits in French.

The year four English Language modules are offered in the subject areas in which our staff are currently working, giving you a unique insight into some of the most up-to-date and innovative research. These modules often require you to gather and analyse your own data.

Currently the modules address areas such as communication disorders, forensic linguistics, persuasive communication, language learning and teaching, language and ideology, phonology, corpus linguistics and media discourse. You will have the opportunity to undertake a project (20 credits) or extended dissertation (40 credits) in your chosen area of research (subject to performance in year two).

French no longer distinguishes between beginner and advanced students in the final year and all students of French take the same language modules. You will refine your linguistic skills in terms of expression and translation, and specialise in your areas of interest by choosing specialised module options. 

Our final year dissertation module gives you the option to write a dissertation and engage more deeply with a chosen topic area, as well as extending your research and analytical skills.

Module titleModule codeCredits
French Language (BA Languages)ML638020 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Communication DisordersSE134720 credits
Persuasive CommunicationSE137120 credits
Forensic LinguisticsSE132420 credits
Language Learning and TeachingSE132920 credits
Language, Genre and IdeologySE139720 credits
France & AfricaML636820 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
Functions of GrammarSE134020 credits
Patterns of LanguageSE139620 credits
Media DiscourseSE140820 credits
Communicating in RelationshipsSE134420 credits
Sound in ActionSE140720 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) AutumnSE625160 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) SpringSE625260 credits
European Cinema: thinking the real of fictionML230220 credits
Dissertation/Project (Translation)ML238920 credits
Dépassement de l?art: The Parisian Avant-Garde and the Revolution of Everyday Life from Breton to DebordML630220 credits
Dissertation in Language and Communication 1SE138320 credits
Extended DissertationSE138540 credits
Dissertation in Language and Communication 2SE138420 credits
Persuasion in the Legal ProcessSE141420 credits
Professional & Intercultural CommunicationSE141720 credits
Multimedia AdaptationsML636920 credits
Dissertation (Single honours - in English/Welsh)ML638340 credits
Dissertation (Single honours - in French)ML638540 credits
Dialect in Literature and FilmSE141320 credits
Island Stories: Literatures of the North AtlanticSE259820 credits
Final Year Joint Honours French Dissertation IN FRENCHML637920 credits
Dissertation (Joint Honours -In English/Welsh)ML638420 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.

How will I be taught?

We offer a supportive learning environment, where you are enabled to acquire a range of skills and a wealth of specialist knowledge. Our courses 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.

You will be taught both by lecture and seminar. Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping you to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop your own ideas. Seminars provide an opportunity for you to explore the ideas outlined in the lectures.

Seminars 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.

Language classes are taught in groups to enhance confidence and active learning. A varied timetable includes oral expression, aural comprehension and writing skills, which are taught in small groups to enhance confidence and active learning. These vital communication skills are practiced and developed through regular classwork exercises and written work. Our teaching methods allow you to engage with a range of language-learning technologies. Materials including textbooks, videos, films, novels, audio files and websites are supported by online resources that compliment classroom activities and promote and enable independent learning. Class materials include a range from literary and historical to contemporary journalistic texts, providing a broad insight into language and culture.   

How will I be supported?

As well as having regular feedback from your personal tutor in each course, you will have a reading week each semester for guided study and a chance to catch up on assessed work, reading and revision. These weeks are also used by staff to visit students on their year abroad.

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.


We’ll provide you with frequent feedback on your work. This comes in a variety of formats including oral feedback, personalised feedback on written work and general feedback in relation to examinations. You will also be able to discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor.

How will I be assessed?

A range of assessment methods are used, including essays, examinations, presentations, portfolios and creative assignments.

Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your 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 enable you to produce your best work, and written feedback on essays feeds forward into future work, enabling you to develop your strengths and address any weaker areas.

The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and 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.

What skills will I practise and develop?

As a result of engaging fully with this course, you will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’. These will allow you to:

  • grasp complex issues with confidence
  • ask the right questions of complex texts
  • have an imaginative appreciation of different views and options and analyse these critically
  • identify and apply relevant data
  • develop practical research skills
  • propose imaginative solutions of your own that are rooted in evidence
  • communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively in writing and speech
  • work to deadlines and priorities, managing a range of tasks at the same time
  • learn from constructive criticism and incorporate its insights
  • work as part of a team, developing a collaborative approach to problem-solving
  • developing your linguistic skills, as well as a broad appreciation of the culture, literature, and history of French and French speaking countries
  • use IT programmes and digital media, where appropriate
  • take responsibility for your own learning programme and professional development

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.

Many graduates enjoy their year overseas so much that they take time out for more travel, or go abroad on graduation in search of employment.  

Of those who choose to remain in the UK, many pursue postgraduate studies such as one of the School’s MA degrees in European Studies or in Translation or a PGCE. Others start work immediately following their graduation, and our graduates go on to secure excellent careers in international diplomacy, the Civil Service, teaching, business and journalism. Other employment options include roles as translators, language assistants, export assistants and proof-readers.  

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 graduating.

Degrees in English language combine the best of humanities skills (flexibility, communication, critique) and social science skills (technical analysis and systematic method). Common destinations include primary and secondary school teaching, teaching English as a foreign language, (digital) journalism, marketing and public relations, sales and advertising, the civil service and public administration.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Year three is spent working or studying in a French speaking country.

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.