French (BA)

This course aims to allow students to develop a high level of proficiency in their chosen language(s) as well as a comprehensive understanding of cultures that shape them.

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 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.

It is important to remember that studying languages is not just about the language itself. It involves examining many aspects of a country and its culture, its social structures and institutions, politics, history, literature and cinema. Through the study of such areas you are able to gain a better understanding of French culture and of how France has evolved over the centuries, becoming what it is today.

Key facts

UCAS CodeR100
Entry pointSeptember 2016
Duration4 years
Studying in WelshThis course offers elements that are taught through the medium of Welsh. Please contact the Admissions tutor for more information.
Typical places availableThe School typically has 185 places available
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives 600 applications
Typical A level offerABB including grade B in French at A-level.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core plus grades BB at A-level, including French.
Typical International Baccalaureate offerConsidered on individual merit
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here.

Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
QAA subject benchmark
Admissions tutor(s)

Ms Cathy Molinaro, Course Administrator

Ms Cathy Molinaro, Admissions Tutor

Important Legal Information: The programme information currently being published in Course Finder is under review and may be subject to change. The final programme information is due to be published by May 2016 and will be the definitive programme outline which the University intends to offer. Applicants are advised to check the definitive programme information after the update, to ensure that the programme meets their needs.

Year one

As well as students with A-level French, we also welcome students who have no previous knowledge of French. Such applicants will generally require an A-level in another modern foreign language. We run two pathways for French students: one for students with an A-level or equivalent competence in French; the other for students beginning French afresh.

As such, our ‘Key optional modules’ below indicate the modules you would be required to study depending on your subject specific A-levels as outlined in the paragraph above. ’Further optional modules’ are optional modules not tied to your entry pathway.

Students of this course can choose to study modules outside of their allocated School(s) core and optional modules. These can be chosen from modules from participating Academic Schools.

Year two

In year two we aim to maintain a balance between literary/cultural studies modules and social science/area studies modules.

You can specialise in area studies/social science subjects or in literary/cultural studies. You can choose the options freely so that you can take some area studies/social science subjects and some literary/cultural studies options if you wish. Note that the list of modules below is indicative only and modules may vary from year to year.

Year three: Sandwich year

You spend the third year of your French degree in France or possibly in another francophone country. You have a range of options, which include studying at one of our partner universities, working as an English assistant in a school, or working for a French organisation.

While you are away from Cardiff, you will be assigned to the Year Abroad coordinator, who will keep in touch with you and monitor your progress. You may even get a visit from one of your French tutors who will be keen to find out how you are getting on.
 
You will also have the opportunity to share your experience by entering the Year Abroad Photo Competition, which rewards one student on each of the language degree programmes (joint or single) in French, German, Italian and Spanish with a £50 prize.

Study

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. More 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 enjoy an Erasmus grant for each semester they spend in France. Since other students have gone from Cardiff to all of the above mentioned destinations before you, their experiences provide a helpful guide about what to expect. Returning students are usually happy to help with our regular year abroad briefings and have helped us to set up an extensive 'year abroad module' on Learning Central which provides you with user-friendly advice throughout your year abroad.

Work

As a teaching assistant on a scheme run by the British Council, you could go to a major city or to a small, rural town. This option provides excellent experience and allows you to earn a salary sufficient to live on, although you only work on a part-time basis. The British Council provides a training weekend in the destination country. Your school should also guide you in your role as a teacher and help you to find a place to live on arrival.

You also have the possibility of taking a placement, for example, in a French organisation or company. These arrangements can be made through any personal contacts you may have or by approaching organisations directly. You will of course need to make sure that the position you are going for affords you plenty of opportunity to speak French. Such arrangements will require prior approval by the School.

Experience another culture

No matter what the arrangement, the Year Abroad is a great opportunity for you to improve your French, immerse yourself in another culture, and gain further study or work experience. Most of our graduates in French regard having lived in France as the most significant experience during their university studies at Cardiff, with a positive impact on their personal development and career
Past students have described it as "the best experience of my life".

It is the best possible preparation for your final year and it gives language graduates the maturity and self-confidence that makes them so popular with future employers.

Year four

In the final year we aim to maintain a balance between literary/cultural studies modules and social science/area studies modules.

You can specialise in area studies/social science subjects or in literary/cultural studies. Again, you can choose the options freely so that you can take some area studies/social science subjects and some literary/cultural studies options if you wish. Note that the list of modules below is indicative only and modules may vary from year to year.

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 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.

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.

Jobs

  • Teaching
  • Interpreting
  • Finance

Duration

4 Year(s)

Next intake

September 2016

Places available

Typical places available

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.  

Applications received

Typical applications received

Accreditations

QAA subject benchmark

QAA subject benchmark

Overview and aims of this course/programme

The School of Modern Languages aims to develop and educate its students to become ‘global citizens’.      

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 audio-visual materials. In your first year, in addition to your language tuition, an introduction to French history and culture seeks to provide a solid foundation for more specialised studies as you progress through your course.

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

In the final year, you have the opportunity to write a dissertation, which stimulates initiative and can serve as a useful preparation for postgraduate study. 

It is important to remember that studying languages is not just about the language itself. It involves exploring many aspects of a country, and we aspire to offer a genuinely broad course that offers challenging and stimulating modules. 

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

What should I know about year five?

How is this course/programme structured?

This is a four-year full-time degree, consisting of 120 credits a year. The third year is spent abroad.

What should I know about year four?

French no longer distinguishes between beginner and advanced students in the final year as all students of French take the same language modules in year four.

You will refine your linguistic skills in terms of expression and translation, and specialise in your areas of interest by choosing specialised module options. 

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

The availability of option modules may vary from year to year.

What should I know about year three?

Year three is spent in France or 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.

If you choose the study option, we have established exchange programmes which provide opportunities to study in institutions in cities that have included Paris, Toulouse, Chambéry, Montpellier and Nantes. 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.

What should I know about the preliminary year?

What should I know about year one?

You will combine French with another modern language or translation, allowing you to experience more than one field of study.

In year one we run two pathways for students; 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. Our ‘Core’ and ‘Key optional modules’ below indicate the modules you would be required to study depending on your subject specific A-levels. You are then free to choose from the ’further optional modules’ list.

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. 

A varied timetable includes oral expression, aural comprehension and writing skills, which are taught in small groups to enhance confidence and active learning.  Our teaching methods allow you to engage with a range of materials including videos, films, websites as well as interactive learning tools. Language classes are taught through the medium of French, thus allowing you to immerse yourself in the language right from the start. Class materials include a range from literary and historical to contemporary journalistic texts, providing a broad insight into French language and culture. 

To provide a foundation for more specialised studies, you also study a module devoted to the history and culture of modern France and the francophone world, as well as French and francophone politics, economics and society.

Other information

Distinctive features

The BA in French conforms to the standards set out in the Credit and Qualification Framework for Wales and the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) benchmarks.

The distinctive features of the course include:

  • Entry option for applicants who do not have French A-level (such applicants will generally require an A-level in another modern foreign language)
  • Optional modules in film, literature, history of art, politics and history 
  • Core French language modules taught by native speakers
  • Year three is spent abroad, either studying at a French University, or working in France, with a chance to teach in a French school or on a work placement in another organisation or company.  

How will I be taught?

Language classes are taught in groups to enhance confidence and active learning.   We place great emphasis on strengthening reading, writing, oral and aural skills.  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 materials including videos, films, websites as well as interactive learning tools.

You will be taught in small groups to enhance confidence and active learning

Most optional modules consist of a mixture of lectures and seminars that enable you to develop communication and analytical skills, and to develop critical thinking in a supportive environment.

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 lecture in a small group environment. Seminars would usually consist of around 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 you prepare for seminars (undertaking any set reading, developing independent critical thought) in order to gain the maximum benefit from the sessions. 

Admissions tutors

Ms Cathy Molinaro, Course Administrator

Ms Cathy Molinaro, 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.

Applying

Get information and advice about making an application, find out when the key dates are and learn more about our admissions criteria.

How to apply
Students outside the Glamorgan Building

Open Day 2016

Open days are your chance to get a real first-hand experience of the university and the city.

Related courses

Related links