French and Politics (BA)

Expertise in politics and government combined with fluency in French opens the door to a wide variety of career paths.

Students on this programme can choose from the full range of Politics modules, while expert language training is accompanied by optional modules on French society and culture.

A particular feature of this four-year degree is the year abroad: your third year is spent in France in order to practise and improve your language skills.

In your first year you concentrate on core modules plus your language. In your second and final years you choose from among a wide range of optional modules as well as continuing your language study, with your year abroad in between.

Politics as an area of study develops your knowledge and understanding of governments, governance and societies. Politics is central to our everyday lives. It explores people and power and involves drama and events of great significance both today and historically. Think of the electoral struggle between Left and Right, the power play of the Cold War, and the great enterprise of European integration. Studying for a politics degree means investigating how politics works and delves into how parliaments and governments function while also allowing you to evaluate political ideas such as power, freedom, democracy, conflict, legitimacy and accountability.

French language and culture have been centre-stage in European and world affairs for centuries. French is an official language of 29 countries, of all United Nations agencies, and of many other international organisations. It is considered the international language of diplomacy, and is second only to English in its influence. French is spoken across the globe as a native or second language by up to half a billion people. The French-speaking world extends across the globe from Europe to North Africa, Asia and the Americas. This degree opens up the cultural riches of French language and culture and provides an important key to understanding the world and the way it is today.

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 offerABB including a B in French (excluding General studies)
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core plus grades BB at A-level, including French (excluding General studies).
Typical International Baccalaureate offer33-34 points overall (to include 6 in French at higher level).
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed admissions and selection criteria for more information.

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

Politics and International Relations, Languages and Related Studies

Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Mrs Marie-laure Jones , Admissions Tutor

    Year one

    The first year is an introductory year. It is the results of the second, third and final years of study that determine your degree classification. The programme is made up of compulsory modules as well as optional modules, allowing you to tailor your degree to reflect your specific interests. A particular feature is the option of writing a dissertation in your final year. This is highly regarded by employers because it indicates that you can do original research.

    Students will study 60 credits from the School of Modern Languages and 60 credits in Politics.

    Year two

    In year two you choose three Politics and three French modules. Please note that the lists of modules below are indicative only and that modules may vary from year to year.

    Year three: Sandwich year

    You will spend your third year in France or another francophone country studying at one of our partner universities or working for a French organisation. Your year abroad coordinator will keep in touch with you and monitor your progress.

    The School has established academic links with universities in Caen, Chambéry, Limoges, Montpellier and Nantes. We also have exchanges with instituts d'études politiques in Bordeaux, Grenobles, Lyons, Paris, Rennes and Strasburg. Recently academic links have been set up with Mons in Belgium, Marie Haps in Brussels and Geneva in Switzerland. All students on a Socrates exchange receive an Erasmus grant for each semester they spend in France.

    Year four

    In your final year you choose three Politics and three French modules, including the option of doing a dissertation.

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    French Language (BA Languages)ML638020 credits

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    Politics DissertationPL938620 credits
    Elections in the UKPL938720 credits
    Modern Welsh PoliticsPL938820 credits
    French for professional purposesML639620 credits
    Writing AfricaML638120 credits
    European Mind in the 20th CenturyPL939020 credits
    Cyfiawnder Byd-eangPL937720 credits
    Cenedlaetholdeb, Crefydd a Chyfiawnder: Hanes Athroniaeth yr 20fed Ganrif yng NghymruPL937820 credits
    May 68. Marking Changes in European Politics and CultureML139920 credits
    Student Language AmbassadorML139820 credits
    International Relations DissertationPL938520 credits
    Translation as a ProfessionML239320 credits
    Advanced Translation Practice (French)ML638620 credits
    US Government and PoliticsPL937420 credits
    International Politics of the Middle EastPL937520 credits
    The Limits of Ethics in International RelationsPL937620 credits
    Parliamentary Studies ModulePL938020 credits
    Global International Organisation in World PoliticsPL939120 credits
    Dissertation (Joint Honours -In English/Welsh)ML638420 credits
    Final Year Joint Honours French Dissertation IN FRENCHML637920 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
    Devolution in Practice: Welsh Law and Politics Work PlacementPL931020 credits
    The History of Thought in International RelationsPL931120 credits
    Political Economy and the Devolved UKPL931220 credits
    Female Voices in Political TheoryPL931320 credits
    Justice and the Politics of International LawPL939720 credits
    Free Speech in a Multicultural SocietyPL931420 credits
    The Politics of Violence and the Violence of PoliticsPL931520 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.

    Lectures provide a broad structure for each subject, introduce key concepts, and convey relevant up-to-date information. These are outlined in course syllabi.

    Seminars provide an opportunity to ask questions and discuss key ideas in a small group environment. Their purpose is to assist you to integrate the information and ideas you receive from lectures and readings and to explore issues critically and in depth. Set questions and readings form the basis for discussion by directing your attention to relevant aspects of the subject matter and to various types of sources of information. Giving presentations develops your capacity to gather, organise and synthesise relevant information and ideas and to communicate these in a logical and concise manner. Tutor-led and student-led discussion hones logical skills and gives you practice in applying different concepts, theories and methods to the subject-matter at hand. It also exposes you to different interpretations of political ideas and events. Group problem-solving helps to develop collaborative skills.

    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. Prior advice and written feedback (for essays) are used to help you understand what is required.


    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 Law and Politics - Politics
    In 2013/14, 96% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

    Politics at Cardiff is a respected recruitment pool for a variety of employers within this sector with the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales, the Department for Education, Oxford City Council, the UK Border Agency and a range of political parties all recruiting from the last graduating year.

    Outside of the political sector, the degree is of interest to employers in both the public and private sectors, with graduates taking up management training opportunities within EY, Enterprise Rent A Car, Zurich Insurance and King Worldwide.

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

    Applications received

    Typical applications received

    The School of European Languages, Translation and Politics = 1300


    QAA subject benchmark

    QAA subject benchmark

    Politics and International Relations, Languages and Related Studies

    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. 


    Politics at Cardiff is an exciting, extensive and challenging academic programme which covers a broad range of areas in the study of Politics, including International Relations, Political theory, European Union, domestic political systems and public policy.

    Our students can study not just Single Honours Politics, but also International Relations & Politics and Joint Honours Politics with a wide range of other subjects, including Law, Economics, Sociology, History, Languages and other Arts subjects. Further our Cardiff-Bordeaux programme, which is an innovative four-year scheme, allows students to obtain both a Cardiff Politics Bachelor's degree and a Bordeaux Politics diplomafrom the prestigious Sciences Po in Bordeaux (one of nine Instituts d'Etudes Politiques in France).

    In the Politics programme we aim at

    ·         Providing a flexible structure that facilitates a broad and balanced education in the key areas of politics

    ·         Producing  graduates with the intellectual and employability skills appropriate both for further study and for a range of working environments

    ·         Providing opportunities for students to fulfil their academic potential, acquire research and transferable skills, maximise their career potential and achieve personal growth

    ·         Providing students with a sound basis of knowledge, understanding and skills in the main areas of politics.

    A degree in politics from Cardiff is highly respected by employers, both within the political environment and outside. Our graduates are able to demonstrate a wide portfolio of acquired skills, such as oral and written communication skills, research skills and analysis, teamwork, self-management and problem solving skills which are in demand across both public and private sectors.

    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.


    ·         Attend all Lectures and seminars

    ·         Engage with all forms of in-course assessment to allow self-reflection on progress towards the learning outcomes

    ·         Engage in independent study in addition to taught study. Increasing independence of learning is expected as the programme progresses

    ·         To complete the required reading and self-directed study.

    ·         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 Politics 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?

    Any equipment required will be supplied by the School.

    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


    This degree programme will allow you to develop a number of valuable skills. Students who are awarded a Single or Joint Honours Politics degree will be able to:

    ·           Gather, organize and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of sources;

    ·           Develop a reasoned argument, synthesize relevant information and exercise critical judgement;

    ·           Reflect on their own learning and make use of constructive feedback;

    ·           Manage their own learning self-critically.

    ·           Communicate ideas effectively and fluently, both orally and in writing;

    ·           Use communications and information technologies for the retrieval and presentation of information;

    ·           Work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management;

    ·           Collaborate with others and contribute to the achievement of common goals. 

    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. 


    The Politics programme uses several different methods of teaching and learning. During your degree, you will attend lectures and participate in seminars. The lectures provide a broad structure for each subject, introduce key concepts, and convey relevant up-to-date information. These are outlined in course syllabi. The Seminars are kept small and usually average between 12-15 students. It provides an opportunity for students to ask questions and discuss key ideas in a small group environment. Their purpose is to assist students to integrate the information and ideas received from lectures and readings and to explore issues critically and in depth. The seminars are also designed to give students an ample opportunity to participate and to provide close contact between them and members of the academic staff.

    Furthermore, the programme is delivered through students’ independent reading, preparation of essays and presentations, as well as feedback on essays and presentations by academic staff.

    We also host guest lectures, as an extracurricular activity, which features visiting guest speakers, usually eminent practitioners and academics involved in various aspects of international relations and politics.

    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.


    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. 


    These programmes are assessed mainly by essays and examinations. Other forms of assessment include seminar presentations, class tests, book and article reviews, and dissertation.

    Formative feedback is given in tutorials, discussion classes and problems classes as well as through individual written comments on coursework.

    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.


    • Each module uses the Central Learning website, a Virtual Learning Environment at Cardiff University. Through the Central Learning site you will have access to relevant materials for the module, such as multimedia materials, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises, discussion groups, etc.
    • 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.
    • There will be an opportunity for you to reflect on your progress and on the skills that you will develop through a section on the Central Learning site called Planning Personal Development.
    • Furthermore, centrally the university has a range of services to support you, including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.

    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


    Politics programmes aim  to develop in students a critical understanding of key aspects of modern politics, including International relations, domestic politics of key European states, European Union politics and political theory, along with a command of associated transferable skills.

    Students who are awarded a Single or Joint Honours Politics degree will be able to:

    ·           Identify and explain the central concepts of political science, and demonstrate familiarity with the vocabulary of political discourse;

    ·           Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key aspects of normative and empirical Political Theory;

    ·           Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key aspects of modern politics, including the structure and operation of selected European political systems at the national and European Union levels and international politics embracing global and regional studies;

    ·           Demonstrate particular expertise in Political Theory and/or European Politics and/or international relations in the case of Joint Honours students, and in the case of Single Honours students: for Political Theory this means a critical understanding of key ideas selected from the history of political thought and contemporary political theory; for European politics this means a critical understanding of the structure and operation of selected European political systems at the national, European and/or regional level, along with an awareness of the social, economic and cultural contexts of political behaviour and theoretically-informed views of the factors that account for political change; for international relations this means a critical understanding of the nature of the international system and of global power structures, with main foci in terms of agencies such as States, International Organisations and other Transnational actors, along with an awareness of international political theories;

    ·           Appreciate the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge;

    ·           Apply different concepts, theories and methods to the analysis of political ideas, institutions and behaviour;

    ·           Examine and evaluate different interpretations of political issues and events;

    ·           Make use of contemporary research, such as articles in refereed journals.

    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. ·      the opportunity to pursue a degree programme which develops the skills that are relevant to the academic world and the world of work alike


    ·      the emphasis on practical research skills that will benefit you throughout your career

    ·      the emphasis placed on independent learning in a supportive environment

    ·      Further information on schemes, modules, teaching methods and assessment can be found on the Politics website.

    Admissions tutors

    Mrs Marie-laure Jones , Admissions Tutor

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