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
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 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

Languages and related subjects

Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Mrs Marie-laure Jones , Admissions Tutor

    Welsh medium provisionThis course offers elements that are taught through the medium of Welsh. Please contact the Admissions tutor for more information.

    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.


    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.


    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.


    • Teaching
    • Interpreting
    • Finance


    4 Year(s)

    Next intake

    September 2016

    Places available

    Typical places available

    The School admits 230 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes.

    Applications received

    Typical applications received



    QAA subject benchmark

    QAA subject benchmark

    Languages and related subjects

    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, as British Council teaching assistantships or work placements) 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 Professional Translation. 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. 

    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.

    How is this Programme Structured?

    BA French 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. For each of the 4 years, 120 credits are studied. The Third year is a year spent studying or working abroad in France or in a Francophone country and is compulsory. 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, teaching assistants (in France or the UK) 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

    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.

    Single Honours French students also do an extended dissertation with one-to-one tuition. Students interested in teaching may have the possibility of completing an internship teaching French in a UK secondary school. All Single Honours students must do a full academic year in France, Switzerland or Belgium. Students may go abroad on the Erasmus scheme, or on work placement. Students working abroad need to write two long essay projects on relevant contemporary French issues, with the help of a tutor in Cardiff. 

    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. 

    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. 

    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

    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. 

    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.