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French (BA)

Entry year


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.

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Course overview

Our aim at the School of Modern Languages is to enable our students to become ‘global citizens’. Our graduates are highly skilled linguists with a comprehensive skillset which prepares them to work in a host of careers and professions nationally and internationally. 

Our BA French programme (which has both beginner and post A-level entry points) allows you to gain very high level language skills and an in-depth intercultural understanding of French and Francophone culture. A year abroad spent working, studying or teaching in the French-speaking world hones your language, your intercultural awareness and builds a valuable skill set for your CV in a job market thirsty for strong foreign language capability.

France is a major language with a global reach, possessing a rich and sophisticated culture. French is one of the official working languages of the European Union and of the United Nations. By studying French, you will gain a wealth of transferable skills and knowledge beneficial to the world of employment, making you competitive and attractive in an increasingly international workforce and opening the doors to a variety of career paths.

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 depending on your areas of specialisation.

Distinctive features

  • High-quality language teaching delivered by native speakers, with blended learning and digital technologies embedded in the teaching and assessments designed to feed forward into future learning.
  • A vibrant programme of extra-curricular activities to support your language learning and immersion into French culture, including extra optional conversation classes with Erasmus students and with the students’ French 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 codeR100
Next intakeSeptember 2020
Duration4 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has 185 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives 600 applications.

Entry requirements

ABB - BBB. Applicants holding a B in French will have access to the Languages advanced pathways. Please note General Studies and Critical Thinking 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.

DDM - DMM in Social Science, Humanities, Arts and Science subjects.

IB 32-30 or 665-655 from 3 HL subjects

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

GCSE

Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-score.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

62 with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language 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 French is a four-year degree programme. It is structured in such a way that you will acquire over successive years language 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. Your third year will be spent studying or working in France or a 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

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.

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. It also explores France’s exchanges with the world, enabling you to explore France’s role beyond national borders. The module will enable you to develop a good understanding of intercultural awareness, and the highly-prized ability to mediate between cultures.

Year two

The language elements of year two build on the work undertaken in year one, and prepare you for your year abroad.

In addition to language, 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 of your target culture, looking at a range of topics such as culture, history and politics.

You will be able to choose from a range of optional modules including Business French (which prepares you for the highly sought-after Paris Chamber of Commerce examination), and Specialised Translation.

Outside of your formal studies, you will have the opportunity to take part in our highly-praised Student Mentoring Scheme, which is supported by Welsh Government.

The scheme places undergraduates into local schools to mentor pupils and encourage them to consider modern foreign languages when choosing their GCSE options.

You may also choose to take part in the Student Language Ambassador (SLA) scheme, acting as an advocate for language learning. Following specific training, as an SLA you may get the opportunity to speak publicly at events, sharing your personal experience of language learning. You may take part in a range of activities, such as language taster sessions, presenting and promoting the year abroad, supporting School language days and events, or promoting modern languages at career fairs or open days.

Year three: Sandwich year

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

Your options for this year include studying at one of our partner universities, working as an English assistant in a school, or working for a French organisation or company. 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.

Established exchange programmes provide exciting opportunities to study in French cities including Paris, Toulouse, Chambéry, Grenoble, Lyon, Clermont-Ferrand, Montpellier and Nantes while some of our students have spent their year abroad in Brussels, Geneva and Quebec.

Year four

When we welcome you back to Cardiff for your final year, you will continue to develop your language skills, studying 30 credits of language and 90 credits of French optional 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 Student 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 on the area.

The module allows you to go into local secondary schools and teach pupils who are learning foreign languages. You will have the opportunity to observe teaching by professionals, take part in classroom activities and generate new learning materials. This in turn enhances your ICT, presentation, preparatory and organisational skills and, ultimately, your employability. Those students who wish to go onto a career in teaching gain valuable experience which can be used to feed into their PGSE application. These students also have the opportunity to take a dedicated (optional) training session for PGSE applications with an expert in the field.

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 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 French 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

22%

Guided independent study

78%

Placements

0%

Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

33%

Guided independent study

67%

Placements

0%

Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

0%

Guided independent study

0%

Placements

100%

Year 4

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

17%

Guided independent study

83%

Placements

0%

How will I be supported?

Our BA French programme 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.

Our undergraduate Professional Services Team provides academic and student support for all programmes. The team are located in a dedicated ‘student hub’ within the school and provide information and guidance in response to any queries you may have. We also have a dedicated Student Support Administrative Officer within the School, who can provide you with the necessary advice and guidance in a supportive, caring and confidential environment.

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.   

Beyond the School, 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.

How will I be assessed?

Feedback and assessment is a priority area for the School of Modern Languages, with a dedicated assessment and feedback lead tasked with ensuring you have the best experience. The focus of assessment 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 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

57%

Practical exams

7%

Coursework

37%

Year 2

Written exams

65%

Practical exams

3%

Coursework

32%

Year 3

Written exams

0%

Practical exams

0%

Coursework

100%

Year 4

Written exams

47%

Practical exams

5%

Coursework

48%

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.

Intellectual Skills:

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

  • The ability to communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively in writing and speech, both in English and French.
  • Applying a range of strategies to initiate and undertake analysis of information.
  • Reaching conclusions about the strengths and weaknesses of views and arguments, justifying these with sound reasoning and detailed interpretations of source material.
  • Relevant and effective research techniques to plan and write an academic essay, using the correct referencing conventions.
  • Critical evaluation of ideas and arguments, through the coherent presentation of information and ideas using a plethora of written and oral skills.

Professional Practical Skills:

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

  • Using IT programmes and digital media, where appropriate.
  • Resilience and independence through time spent in immersive foreign language contexts.
  • Communication and critical-thinking skills.
  • Working to deadlines and priorities, managing a range of tasks at the same time.
  • 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.
  • Enhanced linguistic skills, as well as a broad appreciation of the culture and literature of France.
  • 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.

 

Other information

As part of the curriculum design, the School consulted with employers’ organisations about the attributes they look for in graduates. Employers highlighted the importance of intercultural awareness and the ability to write well in English, both of which are key learning outcomes for the programme, in addition to developing super language skills and the ability to think critically analytically.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

In 2016/17, 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 after graduation they take time out to continue travelling or they go abroad to work.

Our graduates flourish in the job market as our employment statistics underline. Their language degrees lead them into a diverse and exciting range of careers which have included finance, international sport liaison roles, business consultancy, education, health, the media, politics, diplomacy, interpreting, translation, law and teaching.

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.

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