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History and French (BA)

Entry year


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

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Course overview

The School of Modern Languages and the School of History, Archaeology and Religion aim to develop and educate its students to become ‘global citizens’.  By combining French and History, you will gain a variety of transferable skills and knowledge beneficial to the world of employment and further study, making you competitive and attractive in an increasingly global workforce and opening the doors to a variety of career paths

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

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

France is a major actor on the European and world stage, possessing a rich and sophisticated culture. French is one of the official working languages of the European Union and of the United Nations.

In addition to developing high-level French language skills, you will gain an in-depth intercultural understanding that encompasses a specific knowledge of French culture. You will develop high-level communication and critical-thinking skills, and foster resilience and independence through time spent in immersive foreign language contexts.

We offer French for both advanced students and beginners. 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. 

As a joint honours student, you will find that often there are complementary issues and perspectives that link subjects, be they critical analysis, historical contexts or recent research. On completion of this four-year programme, you will have a high level of language proficiency, as well as a critical understanding of key aspects of French history, culture, literature, politics and contemporary society.   

Distinctive features

  • Research led teaching that allows you to engage with new ideas that are shaping the future of History and French studies.
  • High-quality language teaching delivered by native speakers.
  • A vibrant programme of extra-curricular activities to support your language learning and immersion into French culture, including optional conversation classes with Erasmus students, events at l’Alliance Française and the students’French Society and History Society.
  • A curriculum with a clear learning arc, drawing on the latest research and providing a thorough understanding of French culture
  • A structured skills programme which embeds academic, transferable and employability skills into learning from the very beginning
  • The option of taking a credit-bearing work placement
  • The opportunity to spend your third year either studying or working in France or a French speaking country.
  • An exciting range of opportunities beyond your formal studies to engage with local schools and communities in promoting language learning and develop your own skills and profile.
UCAS codeVR11
Next intakeSeptember 2020
Duration4 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has 320 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives 1800 applications.
  1. School of History, Archaeology and Religion

    John Percival Building

    Colum Drive

    Cardiff

    CF10 3EU

  2. School of Modern Languages

    66a Park Place

    Cathays

    Cardiff

    CF10 3AS

Entry requirements

The entry requirements shown are for students starting in 2019. Entry requirements for 2020 will be available in August 2019.

ABB including a B in History. Applicants holding a B in French will have access to the Languages advanced pathways. Please note that General Studies will not be accepted.   

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

Grades DM in a BTEC Diploma in Humanities or Social Science subjects plus grade B in A-Level History.

Achieve the IB Diploma with 665 in 3 HL subjects including 6 in HL History

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Modern Languages and School of History, Archaeology & Religion admissions criteria pages.

If you are an overseas applicant and your first language is not English, please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our accepted qualifications.

GCSE English Language Grade C or 4, IGCSE English First Language grade C, IGCSE English as a Second Language grade C

Selection

Each candidate’s profile is considered as a complete picture, taking into account your interest in and suitability for the degree, as shown in your personal statement and referee’s report, as well as achieved and predicted grades. Your ability to present an argument, evidence of intellectual curiosity and your enthusiasm for and commitment to studying will also be assessed.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Additional costs

Course specific equipment

Many students choose to invest in personal copies of unabridged bilingual dictionaries and reference grammars. While copies of most course materials are available in the library, many students opt to acquire personal copies of set texts.

Accommodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

The BA History and French is a four-year degree programme. It is structured in such a way that you will acquire high-level language and historical competencies and the skills to become an independent and critical thinker, equipped for professional employment.

In each year of the programme you will study 120 credits, equally split between 60 credits in History and 60 credits in French. Your third year will be spent studying or working abroad in France or another French-speaking country.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Year one

Year one is a foundation year to give you the skills for advanced study and an overview of the two subjects to inform your later choices. You will take 120 credits in total equally split between 60 credits in History and 60 credits in French.

In year one we run two language 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. 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.

You will also study a non-language module which introduces you to the development of France as a nation, exploring what it has symbolised for different groups at different moments in history. The module will enable you to develop a good understanding of intercultural awareness, and the highly-prized ability to mediate between cultures.

All first-year History students take the same core module which introduces you to the different frameworks that underpin historical research and the many different ways of writing history, while providing training in the skills necessary to practice history at undergraduate level.

Year two

In year two you will take 60 credits of optional History modules and 60 credits in French.

The language elements will build on the work undertaken in year one, and prepare you for your year abroad. In addition, you will study 30 credits looking at France in a transnational context. This will introduce you to key approaches, methodologies and critical tools which you can apply to an in-depth study, looking at a range of topics such as culture, history and politics.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Cultures in Context (French)ML628230 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Ex-Beginners Language Year 2 FrenchML628030 credits
Ex-Advanced Language Year 2 FrenchML628130 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Now and Next: From Academia to Employment (30 Credits)HS000330 credits
Approaches to HistoryHS170130 credits
Exploring Historical DebateHS170230 credits
Entangled Histories: Wales and the wider World, 1714–1858HS170330 credits
Hanes wedi ei Gyd-Weu: Cymru a’r Byd, 1714–1858HS170430 credits
War, Peace and Diplomacy, c.900-c.1250HS170730 credits
Heresy and Dissent, 1000-1450HS171030 credits
Poverty and Relief in Medieval EuropeHS171430 credits
The British Civil Wars and Revolution, c.1638-1649HS174230 credits
Nations, Empire and Borderlands from 1789-presentHS174930 credits
A Great Leap Forward China Transformed, 1840-presentHS175230 credits
The American RevolutionHS175430 credits
From King Coal to Cool Cymru: Society and Culture in Wales, 1939-2000HS175630 credits
Radicalism and the Common People, 1789-1880HS175830 credits
Spain and the Conquest of the Americas, 1450-1650HS175930 credits
"An Empire for Liberty": Race, Space and Power in the United States, 1775-1898HS176030 credits
Urban Visions, Rural Dreams: City and Country in Britain and the United States, 1850-2000HS176430 credits
India and The Raj, 1857-1947HS176530 credits
Martyrs and Collaborators: Catholicism behind the Iron CurtainHS177230 credits
Europe, East and West, 1945-1995HS177530 credits
Into the Vortex: Britain and the First World WarHS178730 credits
Making Empires: Britain and the World, 1541-1714HS179330 credits

Year three: Sandwich year

Your third year is spent in France or another French-speaking country. The year abroad will enable you to develop your language skills, deepen your understanding of French culture and develop your independence, resourcefulness and resilience.

Your options will 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, Grenoble, Lyon, Clermont-Ferrand, Montpellier and Nantes. We also have academic links with Brussels and Geneva.

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. The School can also assist you in finding suitable work placements. 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.

No matter what you choose, the year abroad is a great opportunity for you to improve your understanding of the language, immerse yourself in another culture, and gain international study or work experience. It is also excellent preparation for your final year and gives you a level of self-confidence and maturity that has proven popular with employers.

Any student who undertakes a study placement or a traineeship/work placement in Europe is currently eligible to apply for an Erasmus grant.

Year four

When we welcome you back to Cardiff in your final year, you will continue to develop your language skills, studying 30 credits of language and 30 credits of French optional modules, in addition to 60 credits from History option modules. You will have the opportunity to build on the broad base of knowledge and skills you have developed to study an area of research expertise in the School, through taught modules and/or a dissertation. You will also have the opportunity to take part in our very popular teaching module, an accredited module where you will build on study and workshops at the University to undertake a teaching placement at one of our partner schools in the area.

Final year dissertation modules give you the option to write a dissertation and engage more deeply with a chosen topic area, as well as enhancing your research and analytical skills.

Module titleModule codeCredits
High-Level Proficiency in French LanguageML636630 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Module titleModule codeCredits
DissertationHS180130 credits
The World of the Anglo-Saxons, c.500-c.1087HS180330 credits
Sexuality and the Social Order in Medieval EuropeHS180430 credits
The Military Orders, 1100-1320HS180530 credits
The Thatcher Age: Cultural and Social Revolution in Britain, 1975-1997HS181430 credits
Slavery and SinHS181830 credits
Witchcraft and Witch-Hunting in Early Modern Europe, 1400-1750HS182430 credits
Deviants, Rebels and Witches in Early Modern Britain and IrelandHS182830 credits
From Bismarck to Goebbels: Biography and Modern German History, 1870-1945HS182930 credits
Germany's New Order in Europe, 1933-1945HS183230 credits
Conflict, Coercion and Mass Mobilisation in Republican China 1911-1945HS183830 credits
Race, Sex and Empire: Britain and India, 1765-1929HS185530 credits
Wales, the English reform movement and the French Revolution of 1789HS185630 credits
Socialism, Society and Politics in Britain, 1880-1918HS186030 credits
Llafur, Sosialaeth a Chymru, 1880-1979HS186230 credits
Toleration and Persecution in Early Modern EuropeHS186630 credits
Class, Protest and Politics: South Wales, 1918-39HS186830 credits
Latin America: Conquest, Turmoil and Reconstruction, 1492-2000HS186930 credits
Slavery in the United States: National Experiences, Global OriginsHS187730 credits
Czechoslovakia: The View from Central EuropeHS188430 credits
Europe and the Revolutionary Tradition in the Long Nineteenth CenturyHS188730 credits
From Hernando de Soto to the Seven Years' War: Accommodation, Violence and Networks in Native American HistoryHS188930 credits
The Dangerous City? Urban Society and Culture, 1800-1914HS189630 credits
The Arts in War and Peace: Culture and Politics in Britain, c.1930-1960HS189730 credits
Culture, Political Protest & Dissent in the 1960sML136030 credits
European Cinema: Thinking the Real of FictionML136230 credits
Student Teaching ModuleML136330 credits
Final Year Dissertation - French (in English/Welsh)ML626230 credits
France & The Second World War: History & MemoryML636030 credits
Final Year Dissertation - French (in French)ML636130 credits
Conflict, Consensus & The French Labour MovementML636430 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.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

Most of our modules consist of a mixture of lectures, seminars and language classes that enable you to develop communication and analytical skills, and to develop critical thinking in a supportive environment. The teaching covers all the key competencies, and is enhanced by the inclusion of digital learning.

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 engage critically with key ideas and explore the ideas outlined in lectures in a small group environment, usually consisting 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, document workshops and student-led presentations.

Language classes are taught in groups to enhance confidence and active learning. A varied timetable includes oral expression, aural comprehension and writing skills, which are taught in small groups to enhance confidence and active learning. These vital communication skills are practiced and developed through regular classwork exercises and written work. Our teaching methods allow you to engage with a range of language-learning technologies. Materials including textbooks, videos, films, novels, audio files and websites are supported by online resources that compliment classroom activities and promote and enable independent learning. Class materials include a range from literary and historical to contemporary journalistic texts, providing a broad insight into language and culture.

Independent study forms a key part of your learning, and our independent learning portfolios have been developed to provide you with online resources to support your independent language learning.

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

19%

Guided independent study

81%

Placements

0%

Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

27%

Guided independent study

73%

Placements

0%

Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

0%

Guided independent study

0%

Placements

100%

Year 4

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

22%

Guided independent study

78%

Placements

0%

How will I be supported?

Our BA programme in History and French is team-taught, with the programme as a whole overseen by the Programme Director. You will be supported by a number of different staff, some focussing on academic performance in a particular area and some looking at learning and progress more holistically.

All academic staff have designated hours where they are available to meet with you to offer advice and feedback on the subjects that they teach.

You will also be allocated a personal tutor, who will meet with you regularly to reflect on your progress and development across your studies, and to think about how to build on your achievements and advance further. The personal tutor can also guide you if you are experiencing difficulties towards appropriate support.

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.

A skills development week each semester allows for guided study and a chance to catch up on assessed work, reading and revision. These weeks are also used by staff to visit students on their year abroad. 

You will have access through the Learning Central to relevant learning resources, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

We pride ourselves on the level of engagement we have with our student body, giving you the opportunity to express your opinions and be partners in School decision-making where possible. We survey students regularly to make sure we are always working in your best interests. 

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

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, the Academic Skills Development Centre and excellent libraries and resource centres.

Feedback

Feedback on your work is given frequently and in a wide variety of formats and is intended to help you identify strengths and weaknesses in your learning, as well as give indications of how you might improve in your performance in examinations and coursework.

You will be given general feedback in relation to examinations following the examination period and you will be able to discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor as part of the monitored student self-assessment scheme.

How will I be assessed?

The focus of assessment in both Schools is in supporting you to develop your ideas, skills and competencies, with the feedback you receive feeding forward into future work.

We use traditional assessment formats (such as essays, class tests, exams, presentations, and dissertation) as well as more innovative forms of assessment, (such as vlogs, participation in radio shows, video and audio projects, interviews, portfolios, and so forth). Assessments include formative assessments (which enable you to develop your skills and do not count towards your final degree classification) and summative assessments (which do count towards your final classification).

As part of your skills training in year one, you will be supported in understanding how the assessments work, what is expected of you, how you will be marked and how to make the most of your feedback.

Assessment methods (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Written exams

45%

Practical exams

3%

Coursework

52%

Year 2

Written exams

55%

Practical exams

3%

Coursework

42%

Year 3

Written exams

40%

Practical exams

0%

Coursework

60%

Year 4

Written exams

60%

Practical exams

5%

Coursework

35%

What skills will I practise and develop?

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • The ability to speak, write, and understand one or more foreign languages to a high level of competency.
  • An in-depth intercultural understanding including specific knowledge of other cultures, allied to the ability to navigate and mediate between more than one culture.
  • The ability to explain and apply concepts such as periodisation, national history and comparative approaches.
  • The ability to draw conclusions about historical practice from the use of case studies relating to particular areas of historical debate.
  • The ability to make connections between a range of different primary source materials, and historiographical debated and theoretical concepts.

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • Enhanced linguistic skills, as well as a broad appreciation of the culture, literature, and history of France and French speaking countries.
  • The ability to communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively in writing and speech, in English and French.
  • The ability to identify and interpret a variety of primary sources.
  • The ability to effectively formulate and present analysis and arguments clearly and concisely in both written and oral form.
  • The ability to identify strengths, weaknesses and problems, or identify alternative historical or historiographical interpretations of key themes.
  • The ability to apply a range of techniques to initiate and undertake analysis of information.
  • The ability to think critically and challenge assumptions.
  • The ability to formulate and justify arguments and conclusions and present appropriate supporting evidence.

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • Using a range of IT programmes and digital media, where appropriate.
  • Resilience and independence through time spent in immersive foreign language contexts.
  • The ability to identify strengths, weaknesses, problems, and or peculiarities of alternative historical/historiographical interpretations.
  • The ability to distinguish between popular and professional histories.
  • The ability to explain historical processes.
  • Historical analysis skills.
  • Knowledge of the broad themes and developments considered in the course through a case study of an event.
  • Time management skills and an ability to independently organise study methods and workload.
  • Communication and critical-thinking skills.
  • Skills when working as part of a team, developing a collaborative approach to problem-solving.

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • The ability to grasp complex issues with confidence.
  • The ability to analyse complex texts.
  • The ability to interpret and apply relevant data.
  • Practical research skills.
  • Imaginative solutions of your own that are rooted in evidence.
  • Learning from constructive criticism and incorporate its insights.
  • Taking responsibility for your own learning programme and professional development.
  • Critical skills (reasoning, evaluating evidence, problem-solving, relating theory to practice).
  • Creativity and innovative thinking.
  • Leadership, teamwork and self-management skills.
  • The ability to identify, record and communicate your relevant career attainments.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

School of Modern Languages

In 2015/16, 94% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduating.

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 Postgraduate Taught degrees or a PGCE. Others start work immediately following their graduation, and our graduates go on to secure excellent careers in international diplomacy, the Civil Service, teaching, business and journalism. Other employment options include roles as translators, language assistants, export assistants and proof-readers.

School of History, Archaeology and Religion

In 2015/16, 94% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduating.

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

Placements

If you are interested in teaching you may have the possibility of completing an internship teaching language in a UK secondary school in your final year.

Both Schools offer credit-bearing work placement opportunities.

Studying in Welsh

Up to 28% of this course is available through the medium of Welsh. Please contact the Admissions tutor for more information.

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