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BA (Hons)

French Studies

Do a year abroad and experience the French-speaking world

R110UCAS code 3yrsfull time 1yrabroad

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

There are around 270 million French speakers in the world, across Europe, Africa and North America. French is the official language of 29 countries, as well as being an official language of a number of international organisations, including the United Nations and the European Union. You will study French in this global context, immersing yourself in the French language and its cultures within and beyond France. You will discover and study specific themes, such as controversies about food, religion and regional languages in France today,   the enduring impact of the French empire on contemporary culture and politics, France’s contribution to global economy and security,  or the impact of the recent terrorist attacks on the ways the French redefine who they are. This rich multidisciplinary approach will help you gain intercultural, linguistic and analytical skills to understand France, the French and those who study, critique, oppose and praise them.  By gaining access to French culture, and opting for units such as translation, interpreting, or ‘French language for professional communication’  you will also become culturally aware and linguistically fluent in French.  

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Develop high levels of fluency in French, with language learning fully integrated into the course. You do not need prior knowledge of French to follow this course; it is possible to follow our excellent beginners programme in your first years of study, and achieve the same level of fluency at graduation. You can also study a second  language as an option.
  • Gain career enhancing skills alongside your academic study with skills training ‘built-in’ to courses, work placements and the possibility to learn another language. You can develop an in-depth knowledge of French history, society, politics, and culture, or France as a world power.
  • Immerse yourself in the French way of life by spending a year in France, or in a Francophone country such as Belgium, and develop your linguistic, cultural and professional skills. If you wish, you can also experience French beyond France and work in a French-speaking African country.
  • Study with experienced lecturers employing innovative and exciting teaching techniques such as interactive lectures, simulations, scenario exercises, debate-discussions and the use of audio-visual sources. Our state-of- the-art  ‘Conference Interpreting Suite’ allows  our students to  develop valuable first-hand experience in interpreting.
  • Opt to follow a route through your degree that includes Initial Teacher Training (ITT). The ITT route entitles you to a bursary of £9,000 in the final year of your degree.

What opportunities might it lead to?

Language is used in a range of professional contexts including business, tourism, and finance – not just language teaching. Your transferable skills and area studies expertise can be used in many careers across the private, public and voluntary sectors. You may enhance your graduate employment opportunities, owing to strong partnerships with organisations across the globe. This course is great preparation for work at home or abroad and you will have a very wide range of career paths open to you. Our graduates  have found employment in such diverse careers as travel and tourism, working for international organisations, international research and consultancy, marketing, translation, interpreting, the media, NGOs, investment banking,  journalism and teaching foreign languages.

Lorna Baker, BA (Hons) French Studies student

I have units in French history, culture, society and politics, giving me a deeper perception of France as a whole.

Lorna Baker, BA (Hons) French Studies student

Want to start this course in 2017?

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Key Facts

UCAS Course Code:
3 years full time, 4 years full time with language year abroad
The UCAS tariff for 2017 entry has changed. See how this affects your tariff score A LEVELS
96-120 points from 3 A levels or equivalent. See full entry requirements

We accept UCAS points from other qualifications. See full details and English Language qualifications

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2017/18 entry: full time: £9,250 p/a*

International students
2017/18 entry: full time: £12,600 p/a**

*Tuition fee may be subject to annual increase.
**Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

+44 (0)23 9284 5566
School of Languages and Area Studies
Programme specification


Modern Languages and Area Studies

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Combining language learning with the study of culture and politics, promoting a deeper understanding of a country/countries of study
  • Fantastic opportunities for spending a year abroad
  • Interactive and practical nature of studying that will prepare you for a wide range of careers

Browse all courses in Modern Languages and Area Studies

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

Year one

This year is your introduction to and the beginning of your in-depth study of the French-speaking world. You will focus on French history, society, politics, the economy, language and culture, linguistics, and France as a world power.

Core units in this year include:

  • French General Language Grade 1 and 2 OR French General Language Grade 3 and Language Project
  • Introduction to French Studies
  • The Making of Modern Europe 1500–1990
  • Studying at University
  • Developing Research Skills

Year two

Continue to study units in French language with the choice to start a beginner’s course in a second language if you wish. Preparation for your year abroad and preliminary work on your dissertation is also incorporated into this year.

Core units in this year include:

  • French General Language Grade 3 and 4 OR French General Language Grade 4 and Language For Professional Communication 1
  • France’s Civil Wars 1936-1970
  • Text Analysis and Translation

Options to choose from in this year include:

  • Business and Markets in Global Environment
  • Colonialism and the End of Empire in French Africa
  • Comparing Extremism in European Liberal Democracies
  • Nation, Language and Identity
  • Culture and Ideas in Twentieth Century Europe
  • Managing Across Cultures
  • LiFE: Learning from experience (work placement)
  • Language for Professional Communication 1
  • The French Exception: Contemporary French Politics and Society

Final year*

Complete your dissertation in your final year and specialise in the topics that intrigue you the most.

Core units in this year include:

  • Colonialism and End of Empire: France and West Africa
  • French General Language Grade 6

Options to choose from in this year include:

  • France in the World: Global Actor or Global Maverick?
  • Translation Theory and Practice
  • Language for Professional Communication 2
  • Research Project
  • LiFE: Learning from experience (work placement)
  • Interpreting

*On this programme you will spend your third year in a country where French is spoken.

Initial Teacher Training route

In your first year, you will have the opportunity to apply for the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) route. If selected, you will complete a number of teaching placements, a professional practice teaching unit and a language research project. You will be entitled to a bursary of £9,000 in the final year of your degree and, on successful completion of the course, will gain Qualified Teacher Status.

The opt-in ITT route is available for French, German and Spanish routes, with training under expert lecturers from the University's PGCE team, and provides the ability to teach Modern Foreign Languages in English and Welsh schools. Throughout the course, you will develop and acquire specialist knowledge and skills in the language(s) you study, as well as professional skills which are central to the role of MFL teacher.  

Teaching and Assessment

We provide a varied, creative and stimulating learning environment. Teaching is via lectures and seminars which are supported by the University’s interactive learning facilities. Classes may also take the form of hands-on skills development sessions where you learn how to access electronic resources in our Sony Virtuoso multimedia digital classrooms (they are much more than language laboratories!) or via small oral practice classes with Language Assistants. All students have a personal tutor and, throughout your time with us, regular and frequent tutorials will be organised with you.

How are you assessed?

Our assessment methods are varied, with a good mix of formal and innovative assessment. Here’s how we assess your work:

  • written essays
  • professional and business report
  • examination
  • case studies
  • book reviews
  • group and individual projects
  • oral presentations
  • use of software including desktop publishing, podcasts, subtitling and web design
  • portfolio of achievement

We provide prompt, constructive and positive feedback on the preparation of your work and on the final assessment.

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Monitor Facilities & Features

Year Abroad

On this programme you will spend your third year in a country where your target languages are spoken. You may take advantage of our well-established links with universities in France, Belgium and West Africa, should you wish to spend this period studying; alternatively, with University approval, you may be able to arrange a work placement abroad.

Opportunities in Dakar (Senegal)

We have a unique and prestigious partnership with the British Senegalese Institute offering opportunities to graduates and students on their year abroad. In addition, there are opportunities to take up a post as an English language assistant or to work in development organisations in Dakar during the year abroad.

Language Laboratories

We have four state-of-the-art Language Laboratories, where you can manipulate video, sound, text and Internet sources in a rich, multimedia language-learning environment. Our staff are at the forefront in exploiting the potential afforded by this technology to create their own packages of materials.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Nick Dunn, BA (Hons) French Studies 2013

My year abroad in Rennes has easily been one of the best times of my life. Along with giving me confidence and practice to greatly improve my language skills, I developed as a person and it allowed me to experience another culture, whilst meeting many new people from all corners of the world who I am still in contact with today. It was a fantastic opportunity and something that I will never forget. I only wish I could do it again!

Nick Dunn, BA (Hons) French Studies 2013

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

For placements abroad that are taken in countries outside the EU/EEA, you will be required to meet travel costs. These costs will be in the region of £1000.

You will also be required to meet any extra tuition costs for units of study taken outside of your agreed study abroad programme. These costs will be in the region of £200.

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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Where next?
Where next?

Like all modern language graduates you will be highly employable. You can expect to find work in areas as diverse as management, banking, marketing and sales, commerce, export, tourism and the media, among others.

Graduates from this course have been successful in finding work in the following areas:

  • dealing with French conveyancing for a UK based solicitors
  • at a publishing house in London
  • as a lecturer in France
  • working for the Law Society with special responsibility for Africa and the Middle East
  • working in marketing with a computer software company

Work experience

Employment boosting opportunites
Employment boosting opportunites

Would you like to live in France or a French-speaking country for a year? Time spent abroad will enhance your inter-cultural awareness, which is a quality increasingly appreciated by employers in a globalised economy. You can also work as a teaching assistant in a school in France or another French-speaking country.  Or you can broaden your horizons further by combining a work and study placement in Senegal, West Africa.

In addition, this course allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option, which means you can earn credits towards your degree from work, volunteering and research placements.   You can also follow a professional pathway that includes Initial Teacher Training (ITT), required for teaching in English and Welsh schools.

The University has a unique and prestigious partnership in place with the British Senegalese Institute in Dakar, Senegal, which offers opportunities to our graduates each year. We also have a range of partners that offer teaching and work experience opportunities with NGOs and other voluntary organisations to students on their year abroad.

Career planning

Career planning
Career planning
6.04 minutes

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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