French and English Literature (BA)

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

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

English Literature 

Our curriculum offers access to the whole span of English literature, from the Anglo-Saxon period to the twenty-first century. Nor is the curriculum restricted to the printed word: we are intrigued by the connections between literature and film, art, music, history, language, and popular culture, and our teaching reflects these interests.There are no compulsory modules in English Literature at Cardiff after year one. We give you choice – but we also give you the skills and knowledge to make informed decisions from a diverse range of options which includes Creative Writing.You are free to follow a traditional programme covering multiple periods and genres or to build a more distinctive mix of modules combining literary study with analysis of other cultural forms.


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. The emphasis on vocational learning means that you will have the option of preparing for the Diplôme de Français des Affaires B2 validated by the prestigious Paris Chamber of Commerce and/or take the DELF/DALF Diplomas awarded by the French Ministry of Education. Both qualifications are highly valued across the world and certify your competency in French language.

As a joint honours student, you will find that often there are complementary issues and perspectives as well as skills and that link subjects, be they critical analysis, historical contexts or recent research. You spend your third year studying abroad.

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 typically has 185 places available
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives 600 applications
Scholarships and bursaries
Typical A level offerAAB including an A in English Literature or English Literature and Language or Creative Writing. General Studies is not accepted. B in French.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core plus grades AB at A-level, including A in English Literature or English Literature and Language and B in French.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer33 points including 6 in Higher English and 6 in Higher French.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed admissions and selection criteria for more information.
Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here.
QAA subject benchmark

Languages and related subjects, English

Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Mrs Marie-laure Jones , Course Administrator

    Year one

    Students studying this course will be able to study modules outside of their allocated School(s) Core and Optional modules from another participating Academic School. An overview of the module collections available can be found here.

    Year two

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    Fiction of The Indian SubcontinentSE228320 credits
    Creative Writing ISE241720 credits
    Women and the Second World War in FranceML628620 credits
    Innovations in European LiteratureML129820 credits
    Principles of Translation TheoryML229920 credits
    Reading Old EnglishSE244120 credits
    Shakespeare and Renaissance DramaSE244220 credits
    Elizabethan ShakespeareSE244320 credits
    Modernist FictionsSE244520 credits
    Modern Welsh Writing in EnglishSE244820 credits
    Twentieth-Century Crime FictionSE245520 credits
    Introduction to Romantic PoetrySE245020 credits
    Rhyfel AlgeriaML629720 credits
    Business French IML629420 credits
    Modernism and the CitySE246320 credits
    The Post-1945 American NovelSE256620 credits
    Imaginary Journeys: More to HuxleySE245720 credits
    Introduction to Visual CultureSE246120 credits
    African-American LiteratureSE245120 credits
    Contemporary Women's WritingSE244620 credits
    History of EnglishSE139820 credits
    Children's Literature: Form & FunctionSE244720 credits
    Representing the VictoriansSE246620 credits
    The Robin Hood TraditionSE236720 credits
    Fictive Histories/Historical FictionsSE246720 credits
    Gothic Fiction: The Romantic AgeSE246820 credits
    Romanticism, Politics, AestheticsSE246920 credits
    Social Politics and National Style: American Fiction and Form 1920-1940SE247020 credits
    Ways of ReadingSE244920 credits
    French Language Year 2 (Ex-Beginners)ML628720 credits
    French Language Year 2 (Ex-Advanced)ML629920 credits
    At the Roots of European CulturesML129520 credits
    Imaging the Islands: Francophone Caribbean CulturesML620020 credits
    Introduction to Specialised Translation (French)ML229420 credits
    Literature and ScienceSE247120 credits
    Dickens in Many MediaSE247220 credits
    Narrating and Visualising French Colonialism: Canada, the Indian Ocean, Africa and FranceML620220 credits

    Year three: Sandwich year

    You spend year three studying abroad.

    Year four

    You will take 60 credits in English Literature and 60 credits in French.

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    French Language (BA Languages)ML638020 credits

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    Creative Writing III: Special TopicsSE237320 credits
    HitchcockSE254420 credits
    DissertationSE252420 credits
    Nineteenth-Century Crime FictionSE239020 credits
    Creative Writing II: Special TopicsSE237020 credits
    Writing Caribbean SlaverySE256820 credits
    French for professional purposesML639620 credits
    Writing AfricaML638120 credits
    Love, Death and Marriage in Renaissance LiteratureSE258320 credits
    French TheorySE257020 credits
    Second-generation Romantic PoetsSE258220 credits
    Desire, the Body and the Text: Psychoanalysis & LiteratureSE258020 credits
    Utopia: Suffrage to CyberpunkSE258120 credits
    May 68. Marking Changes in European Politics and CultureML139920 credits
    Student Language AmbassadorML139820 credits
    Translation as a ProfessionML239320 credits
    Advanced Translation Practice (French)ML638620 credits
    R. S. Thomas: No Truce with the FuriesSE257820 credits
    International Study Abroad (60 credits) AutumnSE625160 credits
    International Study Abroad (60 credits) SpringSE625260 credits
    Dissertation (Joint Honours -In English/Welsh)ML638420 credits
    Final Year Joint Honours French Dissertation IN FRENCHML637920 credits
    Gender & Monstrosity: Late/Neo VictorianSE256420 credits
    Interwar Experiments: Sex, Gender, StyleSE258420 credits
    Middle English Romance: Monsters and MagicSE258620 credits
    Bluestockings, Britannia, Unsex'd Females: Women in public life, 1770 - 1800SE258820 credits
    Gothic Fiction: The VictoriansSE258920 credits
    Modern British Political DramaSE259020 credits
    Four English Poets of the Twentieth CenturySE259120 credits
    Poetry in the Making: Modern Literary ManuscriptsSE259220 credits
    Postcolonial TheorySE259320 credits
    Shakespeare's Late PlaysSE259420 credits
    Norse Myth and SagaSE256020 credits
    Canterbury Tales: Genre, History, InterpretationSE257920 credits
    The Graphic MemoirSE140920 credits
    History of French LabourML630020 credits
    Y Chwyldro Ffrengig [The French Revolution]ML630120 credits
    European Cinema: thinking the real of fictionML230220 credits
    Dissertation (Translation)ML238920 credits
    Visions of Past and Future in Children's LiteratureSE259520 credits
    Medical FictionsSE259620 credits
    Military Masculinities in the Long Nineteenth CenturySE259720 credits
    Dépassement de l’art: The Parisian Avant-Garde and the Revolution of Everyday Life from Breton to DebordML630220 credits
    European Cinema DissertationML230320 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 degree programmes.

    Applications received

    Typical applications received

    The School of European Languages, Translation and Politics = 1300

    The School of English, Communication and Philosophy = 1500


    QAA subject benchmark

    QAA subject benchmark

    Languages and related subjects, English

    What are the aims of this Programme?


    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. 

    English Literature

    This programme offers opportunities to study all periods of literature in English from the Anglo-Saxon period to the twenty-first century and from many different parts of the world. Year 1 is a foundation year designed to equip you with the skills for advanced study and to give you an overview of the subject that will enable you to make informed choices from the modules available in Year 2 and the Final Year. You take three subjects worth 40 credits each: these must include English Literature I and your other joint honours subject and may also include either English Literature II or Medieval and Renaissance English Literature. In Year 2 you select from a range of period-, genre- or theme-based modules in which you will build on the foundation year, reading a variety of texts in their historical and cultural contexts. In Final Year there is a range of more specialised modules in which you can pursue interests developed in the previous two years and engage with current issues in research and scholarship, enabling you further to develop analytical and presentational skills that employers will value, as well as equipping you for postgraduate study. Joint honours students take 60 credits in each of their two subjects in their second and final years. The focus throughout the degree is on becoming a careful, attentive, and informed reader, sensitive to the nuances of language and style and able to articulate your responses to texts in writing which is precise, stylish, and effective.

    What is expected of me?


    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.

    English Literature

    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 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).

    How is this Programme Structured?

    The BA Joint Honours French and English Literature degree 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. In Year 1, 40 credits are studied in French, in Year 2 and F, 60 credits are studied in French. The Third year is a year spent studying or working abroad in France or in a Francophone country and is compulsory. The Year abroad attracts 120 credits. Year 1, 2 and 4 each contain a 20-credit core French language module. In Year 4, students must also choose 20 credits in either French for Professional Purposes or Advanced Translation Practice. 

    Will I need any specific equipment to study this Programme?

    Not applicable

    What skills will I practise and develop?


    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

    English Literature

    Many of the learning outcomes listed above involve practising skills that are transferable to numerous areas of employment. In addition, students who engage with the programme will practise and develop the ability to:

    • Communicate effectively with others.
    • Think analytically about problems.
    • Use electronic and other sources of information as appropriate to the project chosen.
    • Take responsibility for their own learning programme and professional development.

    How will I be taught?


    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. 

    English Literature

    Teaching is by a combination of lectures and seminars, with all modules including seminar or small-group teaching. Each module presents the student with a set of intellectual challenges which have in common a concern with the question of how to read the literary (or other cultural) text and how to write about its significance and meanings. Teaching stresses the importance of the way texts interact with their contexts, and each module is designed to encourage you to focus on a number of specific texts and to prepare carefully a considered answer to specific topics dealt with in the module.

    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, small-group work within seminars, translation classes, formative writing exercises, journal entries, and film showings. 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.

    Written feedback is provided on both formative and summative assessment and students are encouraged to discuss their ideas with module tutors in seminars and, where appropriate, on a one-to-one basis in office hours.

    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.

    How will I be assessed?


    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.

    English Literature

    All modules offer the opportunity to undertake formative work appropriate to the module. The form(s) of summative 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 journal entries, a portfolio, 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 written feedback on written assessments, and oral feedback on assessed presentations and their contributions to seminars. The opportunity to understand and use feedback constructively will also be provided through regular meetings with Personal Tutors at key moments every year. 

    How will I be supported?


    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. 

    English Literature

    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.

    What are the Learning Outcomes of this Programme?


    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

    English Literature

    Graduates from this programme will be able to:

    Demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and attributes in the following areas:

    A Knowledge and understanding

    • Awareness of different literary periods, movements and genres and of the variety of English literature.
    • Understanding of the importance of historical and cultural contexts.
    • Knowledge of the critical issues and/or debates surrounding or raised by texts.
    • Understanding of the shaping effects of historical and cultural circumstances on the production and meaning of texts.

    B Intellectual (analytic and cognitive) skills

    • Ability to select and organise material purposefully and cogently.
    • Ability to handle complex ideas with clarity.
    • Ability to analyse and interpret material drawn from a diversity of literary periods.

    C Subject-specific (writing) skills

    • Ability to apply high level critical skills of close analysis to literary texts.
    • Knowledge of appropriate critical vocabulary and terminology.
    • Ability to sustain a critical argument that is responsive to the workings of language and literary styles.
    • Awareness of the bibliographic conventions of the discipline and their role in communicating information.

    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. 

    English Literature

    English Literature at Cardiff is taught by staff with an international reputation for innovative and influential research. Our passion for the subject and the strength and range of our scholarship enable us to offer a degree which is:

    • Inclusive.We teach across the whole chronological span of English literature, from the Anglo-Saxon period to the twenty-first century; we teach writing in English from England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, America, the Caribbean, India, and Australia. We are intrigued by the connections between literature and film, art, music, history, language, and popular culture, and our teaching reflects these interests.
    • Challenging. Research-led teaching means students engage with new ideas that are helping to shape the future of the discipline. We see the study of literature in its various contexts as broadening horizons.
    • Diverse. After Year 1 there are no compulsory modules. We give you choice – but we also give you the skills and knowledge to make informed choices. You have the freedom to construct a traditional programme covering multiple periods and genres or to build a more distinctive mix of modules combining literary study with analysis of other cultural forms. Our teaching is varied, too, ranging from traditional-style lectures to smaller-group seminars in which students develop their writing and presentational skills in a supportive environment designed to help them take responsibility for their own learning.
    • Engaged. At Cardiff we do not think of literature as isolated from the rest of culture or separate from society. We are proud of our reputation for theoretically informed reading, bringing texts from all periods into dialogue with contemporary concerns about gender, identity, sexuality, nationality, race, the body, the environment, and digital technology. We also maintain a strong tradition in Creative Writing, taught by writers making their mark on contemporary culture.

    Admissions tutors

    Mrs Marie-laure Jones , Course Administrator

      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.