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.

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 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 or Senegal, and develop your linguistic, cultural and professional skills.

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.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • travel and tourism
  • teaching foreign languages
  • translation and interpreting
  • European and international organisations
  • media and journalism
  • charities and NGOs
  • investment banking
  • international research
  • marketing
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

Apply for September 2016

There's still time to join us through UCAS or UCAS Extra.

Key Facts

UCAS Course Code:
3 years full time, 4 years full time with language year abroad
240-300 points from 3 A levels or equivalent. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5. Other qualifications

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2016/17 entry: full time: £9,000 p/a*

International students
2016/17 entry: full time: £12,000 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 8299
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 third 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
  • Learning From Experience
  • 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
  • Interpreting

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

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

The British Senegal Institute offers year abroad and graduate positions to our students each year. Due to our ongoing partnership with them, more opportunities are becoming available, and we are exclusive partners with a number of business in Dakar, Senegal. 

Language Laboratories

We have four state-of-the-art Sony Virtuoso 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/EAA, 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 intercultural awareness, which is a quality increasingly appreciated by employers in a globalised economy.

Work as a teaching assistant in a school in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Corsica or one of the French territoires d'outre- mer (such as Martinique or La Réunion). Or broaden your horizons even further by combining a work and study placement in Senegal, West Africa. 

This course also allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option, which means you can earn credits towards your degree for work, volunteer and research placements that you’re involved in alongside your study.

The University has a unique and prestigious partnership in place with the British Senegalese Institute. The Institute, along with other partners in Dakar offers different opportunities to our graduating students each year. We also have a range of partners that offer teaching and work experience opportunites 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.

Rosie Parkin, BA (Hons) French Studies 2013

The lecturers really push you to think of your own development. I'm still friends with a lot of the people I met here, who have all gone on to do very different, disparate things: journalism, sales, teaching, and in my case international development.

Rosie Parkin, BA (Hons) French Studies 2013

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