French and Philosophy (BA)

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

The Joint Honours degree in French and Philosophy 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.

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.

The course at Cardiff University 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. Your Year Abroad in your third year provides a great opportunity for you to further improve your French and to fully immerse yourself in another culture.

Often there are complementary issues and perspectives as well as skills and that link the subjects, be they critical analysis, historical contexts or recent research. For fuller information about each of the subjects, please visit the two separate subject entries on Course Finder.

Key facts

Duration4 Year(s)
Typical places availableThe School typically has 185 places available
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives 600 applications
Scholarships and bursaries
Typical A level offerABB, excluding General Studies. Three A level subjects including a B in French.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core plus grades BB at A-level, including French.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer34 points overall from French at higher level, to include 5 in French plus 6,5 at higher level.
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, Philosophy

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

    Year three: Sandwich year

    Year four

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    French Language (BA Languages)ML638020 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 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 Modern Languagess
    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 each year to its undergraduate degree programmes.

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

    Applications received

    Typical applications received

    The School of English, Communication and Philosophy = 1500

    The School of European Languages, Translation and Politics = 1300


    QAA subject benchmark

    QAA subject benchmark

    Languages and related subjects, Philosophy

    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. 


    Philosophy is essentially a distinctive set of reading, thinking, and communication skills. Studying for a degree in Philosophy develops your abilities to identify the reasons for people’s claims, find the assumptions lying behind those reasons, critically assess the reasons and the assumptions, find good reasons yourself to see where they lead, and communicate all of this clearly and effectively. Philosophy graduates are known for their incisive analytical abilities and their ability to construct and communicate clear arguments.

    The Philosophy programme at Cardiff University combines breadth of content with the flexibility required for students to pursue specific interests and to specialise if they want to. We offer modules in both the analytic and the continental traditions of Western philosophy, and in all the central areas within the discipline: aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, language, metaphysics, mind, moral psychology and political philosophy.

    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 Mind, Thought and Reality and Introduction to Moral and Political Philosophy and your other joint honours subject. Joint honours students take 60 credits in each of their two subjects in their second and final years.  In Year 2, you select your 60 credits in Philosophy from a range of modules which encourage you to build on the foundation year, developing a solid understanding of the core areas of Philosophical inquiry. 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. 

    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.


    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 the member of staff who convenes module, 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).

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

    How is this Programme Structured?

    The BA Joint Honours French and Philosophy 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


    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 concepts, theories and arguments and the appraisal of them accurately and clearly, both orally and in written form
    • Assess the validity of different evidence and argument
    • Use a variety of sources in a comprehensive and well-documented manner
    • Explore critically their own beliefs and values
    • Display sensitivity to the diversity of beliefs, practices and ways of life
    • Use electronic sources of information effectively

    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. 


    A diverse range of learning and teaching styles is used throughout the programme. Students will attend lectures, participate in seminars and tutorials, and study independently in preparation for each session. All of the taught modules within the programme are optional. There is also an opportunity to take 20 credit per year as a free standing module from another subject.  All taught modules involve some formative assessment which is returned to you with individual feedback. Generic Feedback is provided for all forms of summative assessment. In the Final Year students can choose to write a dissertation on a topic of their choice (subject to supervisory availability and approval of the title by the Board of Studies).

    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.


    Formative assessment is provided as feedback on coursework through written comments and individual discussion and on oral seminar presentations through individual guidance.

    Summative assessment for most modules takes place through one or more of the following methods: unseen examinations; open book examinations; portfolios of essays; and (if chosen) the dissertation.  The form(s) os summative assessment for individual modules are set out in the relevant module description.  Assessment methods are chosen as most appropriate to elicit the skills, knowledge and competencies developed by the module.  Not all skills are assessed directly (e.g. the accurate and clear oral communication of concept and theories).  However, opportunities are made available for the development of such skills in seminar presentations, and their value is emphasised to students.  Details of any academic or competence standards which may limit the availability of adjustments or alternative assessments for students with disabilities are documented 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. 


    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


    Graduates from this programme will be able to:

    ·         Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of important concepts, theories, problems and arguments in the main areas of Philosophy, such as logic, metaphysics, epistemology or philosophy of mind, and moral, political or social philosophy.

    A Knowledge and Understanding

    ·         Demonstrate familiarity with the ideas and arguments of some of the major philosophers in the history of the subject, encountered in their own writings

    ·         Demonstrate awareness of some major issues currently at the frontiers of philosophical debate and research.

    ·         Display precision of thought and expression in the analysis and formulation of complex and controversial problems.

    B Intellectual (analytic and cognitive) skills

    ·         Construct and justify arguments whileforming independent, fair and well-supported assessments of conflicting views and opinions

    ·         Explore critically their own beliefs and values, and question their presuppositions

    ·         Appreciate the diversity of competing theories, and of competing interpretations of theories and texts, in Philosophy

    C Subject-specific skills

    ·         Apply philosophical concepts, theories, arguments and methods to some of the major problems, both theoretical and practical, facing human reflection, life and society.

    ·         Read closely philosophical texts from different philosophical traditions, and interpret these texts carefully, with due regard to their context

    ·         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. 


    Philosophy 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 the central areas within modern Philosophy: aesthetics; epistemology; ethics; language; metaphysics; mind; moral psychology; and political philosophy.  While we concentrate on the argument of philosophers in the modern period, which is to say from the 17th century and Descartes onwards, and are interest in the work of thinkers in both the Analytic and Continental traditions of Philosophy.  You will therefore encounter a broad range of philosophical issues and a broad range approaches and indeed interpretations of what Philosophy is.
    • 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 Philosophy in its various contexts as broadening horizons, and as a way of engaging in pressing issues form the world outside of academia.
    • 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. The second year of your degree will equip you with a thorough understanding of the core arguments of the principal areas of Philosophy.  This will provide a solid foundation for the third year.  Here modules will focus on the topics that the lecturers themselves are actively researching.  You will therefore have the opportunity to explore issues in greater depth, as your competence. knowledge and confidence increases.  Our teaching varies between modules, 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 Philosophy as isolated from the rest of culture or separate from society.  We take pride in an approach to Philosophy that takes notice of the place of philosophy in public life, not least in moral and political decision-making, as well as engaging with such contemporary approaches as Experimental Philosophy.

    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.