History and French (BA)

French and History BA (joint honours) gives students the opportunity to combine a major world language with the study of social and political history.

The School of Modern Languages and School of History, Archaeology and Religion aim to educate our students to become ‘global citizens’. By combining French and History you will gain a wealth 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

The History courses at Cardiff University give you an insight into processes of change from the ancient world through to the modern period. You may study the history of societies in diverse parts of the globe, including India, China, Germany, Russia, Britain and Wales.

You will learn to think independently, assess the strengths and weaknesses of a body of historical evidence for yourself, and present your findings clearly. Our friendly academic staff will be on hand to guide you and provide full and constructive feedback throughout your studies.

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.

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.   

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

Distinctive features

  • 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
  • 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

UCAS CodeVR11
Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration4 years
ModeFull time
Studying in WelshUp to 28% of this course is available through the medium of Welsh. Please contact the Admissions tutor for more information
Typical places availableThe School typically has 320 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives 1800 applications.
Admissions tutor(s)

Entry requirements

For detailed entry requirements see the School of Modern Languages and School of History, Archaeology & Religion admissions criteria pages.

Typical A level offerGrades ABB, to include History and generally including a B in a modern language for the French beginners pathway or B in French for the advanced pathway. General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted. Exceptions can be made according to personal circumstances. Two AS subjects may be considered in lieu of a third A-level.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrades ABB from the Welsh Baccalaureate and two A-level subjects to include History and French. General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer33 points from the International Baccalaureate, to include 6 points in Higher Level History and 5 points in Higher Level French.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.

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 History and 60 credits in French.

All first-year History students take ‘History in Practice’ which introduces you to the different frameworks that underpin historical research and the many different ways of writing history, while providing training in the skills necessary to practice history at undergraduate level. The module is taught through a range of case studies from different chronological periods, stretching from medieval life-writing through to Nazi Germany and up to uses of history in the media today.

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
History in Practice: Fury, Folly and FootnotesHS110720 credits
Modern FranceML619920 credits

Year two

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

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.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Approaches To HistoryHS170130 credits
Exploring Historical DebateHS170230 credits
War, Peace and Diplomacy, c.900-c.1250HS170730 credits
Heresy & Dissent 1000-1450HS171030 credits
'The Devil's Brood' The Angevin Kings of England 1154-1272HS171330 credits
The British Civil Wars and Revolution, C.1638-1649HS174230 credits
Building the Modern WorldHS174430 credits
Nations, Empire and Borderlands from 1789 to the presentHS174930 credits
A Great Leap Forward China Transformed 1840-PresentHS175230 credits
From King Coal To Cool Cymru: Society and Culture in Wales, 1939-2000HS175630 credits
Diwydiannaeth, Radicaliaeth a'r Bobl Gyffredin yng Nghymru a Phrydain mewn Oes Chwyldro, c. 1789-1880HS175730 credits
Radicalism and the Common People, 1789-1880HS175830 credits
"An Empire for Liberty": Race, Space and Power in the United States, 1775-1898HS176030 credits
Land and Landscape in Modern BritainHS176230 credits
The Making of 'World Religions' in South Asia: Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims from the fifteenth century to the present dayHS176630 credits
The Search for an Asian Modern: Japanese History from 1800 to the Post-War EraHS176830 credits
Martyrs and Collaborators: Catholicism behind the Iron CurtainHS177230 credits
Europe, East and West 1945-1995HS177530 credits
The Soviet Century: Russia and the Soviet Union, 1905-1991HS177630 credits
Into The Vortex: Britain and The First World WarHS178730 credits
Making Empires: Britain and the World, 1541 - 1714HS179330 credits
At the Roots of European CulturesML129520 credits
Innovations in European LiteratureML129820 credits
Introduction to Specialised Translation (French)ML229420 credits
Principles of Translation TheoryML229920 credits
Imaging the Islands: Francophone Caribbean CulturesML620020 credits
Cultures of French Cinema: 1895 - presentML628520 credits
French Language Year 2 (Ex-Beginners)ML628720 credits
Business French IML629420 credits
French Language Year 2 (Ex-Advanced)ML629920 credits

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 History and 60 credits in French.

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. 

You may wish to study a dissertation in either of your degree subjects. The 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
Module titleModule codeCredits
DissertationHS180130 credits
The World of the Anglo-Saxons, c.500-c.1087HS180330 credits
The Military Orders 1100-1320HS180530 credits
Slavery and SinHS181830 credits
Crime in England and Wales, c.1570-c.1790HS182330 credits
Witchcraft and Witch-Hunting in Early Modern Europe, 1400-1750HS182430 credits
Cultures of Power: The Gentry of Tudor and Stuart EnglandHS182730 credits
Deviants, Rebels and Witches in Early Modern Britain and IrelandHS182830 credits
From Bismarck To Goebbels: Biography and Modern German History, 1870-1945HS182930 credits
Germany's New Order in Europe 1933-1945HS183230 credits
Conflict, Coercion and Mass Mobilisation in Republican China 1911-1945HS183830 credits
Men in Black: The Jesuits in the Early Modern WorldHS184430 credits
Glimpses of the Unfamiliar: Travellers to Japan from 1860 to the Post-War EraHS185830 credits
Socialism, Society and Politics in Britain 1880-1918HS186030 credits
Llafur, Sosialaeth a Chymru, 1880-1979HS186230 credits
Culture, Soc & I.D. in Wales 1847-1914HS186530 credits
Class, Protest and Politics: South Wales 1918-39HS186830 credits
Violence and Ideology in Inter-War Soviet RussiaHS188330 credits
Czechoslovakia: The View from Central EuropeHS188430 credits
Europe and the Revolutionary Tradition in the Long Nineteenth CenturyHS188730 credits
Slavery and Slave Life in North America, 1619-1865HS189030 credits
Gender, Power and Subjectivity in Twentieth-Century BritainHS189430 credits
The Arts in War and Peace: Culture and Politics in Britain, c.1930-1960HS189730 credits
Nineteenth-century British Social HistoryHS189830 credits
Student Language AmbassadorML139820 credits
May 68. Marking Changes in European Politics and CultureML139920 credits
European Cinema: thinking the real of fictionML230220 credits
Dissertation/Project (Translation)ML238920 credits
Translation as a ProfessionML239320 credits
Dépassement de l?art: The Parisian Avant-Garde and the Revolution of Everyday Life from Breton to DebordML630220 credits
France & AfricaML636820 credits
Multimedia AdaptationsML636920 credits
Final Year Joint Honours French Dissertation IN FRENCHML637920 credits
Dissertation (Single honours - in English/Welsh)ML638340 credits
Dissertation (Joint Honours -In English/Welsh)ML638420 credits
Dissertation (Single honours - in French)ML638540 credits
Advanced Translation Practice (French)ML638620 credits
French for professional purposesML639620 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.

Feedback

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 History, Archaeology and Religion

In 2013/14, 92% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

We organise interactive workshops with the Careers Service to help students identify their skills and attributes. History graduates find work in a wide range of related and non-related professional employment. Some choose to undertake postgraduate study at Cardiff or elsewhere, and some have become internationally reputed historians.

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.

The School of History, Archaeology and Religion has a dedicated Work Placements Officer who supports students with work experience opportunities both in and out of term time.


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.