French and Contemporary Chinese Studies BA


Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:RT11
Qualification:BA Jt Hons
Type and duration:4 year UG (year 3 out)
Qualification name:French and Contemporary Chinese Studies
UCAS code
UCAS code
French and Contemporary Chinese Studies | BA Jt Hons
4 years full-time/year 3 out (available part-time)
A level offer
Required subjects
French at A level 
IB score
32; 5 in French at Higher Level or 6 at Standard Level (B Programme)  
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places
20 (across RT11, RT21, RT71 and RT41)


This course offers the opportunity to study the two very different, but complementary cultures of France and contemporary China.
Read full overview

While a great deal of attention in the western media in recent years has focused on the arrival of China as a significant player on the global stage, it is easily forgotten that France is still a leading force in world politics. This course offers you the opportunity to study these two very different, but in some ways complementary cultures and to begin to understand how they stand as counterpoints to 'Anglo-Saxon monoculturalism'. You will normally devote half your time to each discipline. You will follow core language modules in French and Mandarin and will also select optional modules covering a wide range of topics in the fields of Chinese and French literature, history, society and linguistics.

Year one 

In French, in addition to core modules in the French language, you take optional modules in reading a variety of French texts (the novel, poetry, film, for example), contemporary French politics, economics and society, French history or French linguistics.

In Chinese you begin a structured course in Mandarin Chinese (that leads you from beginners' stage to final degree level) and take optional modules in Chinese culture and institutions.

Year two

You consolidate your language studies and study a choice of modules offering further broad coverage of both subjects.

Year three

This year is spent abroad. For French, you can follow a programme of studies in a higher education institution, work as an assistant in a school, or take up a work placement in France or a Francophone country.

For Contemporary Chinese Studies, you have the opportunity to learn about Mandarin and Chinese culture by spending a semester at our campus in Ningbo.

For more information see our Year Abroad page.

Year four

In both fields, you will perfect your command of both languages and their uses in increasingly sophisticated contexts and study optional modules covering a wide range of topics in the fields of Chinese and French literature, history, society and linguistics.

More information 

See also the French and Francophone Studies website.

Entry requirements

A levels: ABB, including French at A level

English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

Students who require extra support to meet the English language requirements for their academic course can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) to prepare for their future studies.

Students who pass at the required level can progress directly to their academic programme without needing to retake IELTS.

Please visit the CELE webpages for more information.

Alternative qualifications 

We recognise that potential students have a wealth of different experiences and follow a variety of pathways into higher education, so we treat applicants with alternative qualifications (besides A-levels and the International Baccalaureate) as individuals, and accept students with a range of less conventional qualifications including:

  • Access to HE Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • BTEC Extended Diploma

This list is not exhaustive, and we consider applicants with other qualifications on an individual basis. The entry requirements for alternative qualifications can be quite specific; for example you may need to take certain modules and achieve a specified grade in those modules. Please contact us to discuss the transferability of your qualification.

For more information, please see the alternative qualifications page.


Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, The University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  


Typical Year One Modules

French 1 (core module)
You’ll develop your understanding of the French language including grammar, written expression, aural and oral skills. 3 hours per week will be spent in lectures, workshops, and oral classes with a native speaker studying for this module.
Introduction to Business and Economy of China
This module introduces you to the economy, business, institutions and economically-related political aspects of contemporary China with a focus is on the reform period. You will gain an overview of macro- and micro- economic, institutional and political factors that affect business and development in China, as well as major economic sectors in China. Issues covered include: economic development, economic reform, exports and FDI, the financial and banking system, state and non-state firms, technology, major challenges including income inequalities, and the state’s role in the growth and management of the economy. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture and one 1-hour seminar each week.
France: History and Identity
The module aims to introduce students to the course of French history since the late Middle Ages through the study of a series of historical figures, their times and lives, how their 'stories' are written and woven into the fabric of 'le roman de la nation' (the national story) and how they have been appropriated to serve a range of different ends. It will also introduce students to the iconography and visual manifestations of the French historical landscape.
Introduction to Contemporary China
This is an introductory course designed to provide students with an overview of contemporary China and help students establish a foundation of knowledge and skills to pursue more advanced studies of China in their later years of study. You will examine a variety of topics such as Chinese economy and politics, security and foreign relations, and Chinese media since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 with particular attention paid to the changes in China since 1978. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week.
Introduction to French Literature: Landmarks in Narrative
This module aims to introduce students to the critical study of French narrative, covering key examples of novels from the seventeenth century to the present. In studying each text we will focus on (a) understanding the text within its historical context, and (b) developing critical approaches to the text. The module will develop students’ key skills in literary study, from the basics of understanding a text with unfamiliar syntax and vocabulary, to close reading and the application of complex literary theories.
Popular Culture in China
This module examines the rise of ‘popular culture’ in China and the wider Chinese-speaking world from the end of the 19th century through to the present era. You will debate about what ‘counts’ as popular culture in a Chinese context, the module traces the development of specifically ‘modern’ forms of popular culture, ranging from music and film to the ‘mass culture’ of Maoist China and television in more recent decades. The module also focuses on significant sites and periods in the development of modern popular culture, including 1930s Shanghai, post-war Hong Kong, Taiwan in the 1970s and 1980s, and the Reform-era PRC. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week.
Contemporary France
This module will focus on a selection of themes: French political institutions, with particular emphasis on the presidency; political parties in France; Immigration and identity, including questions of identity in contemporary French culture.
Approaches to Contemporary Chinese Studies
This is an introductory course designed to provide students with appropriate study skills, familiarity with resources, an understanding of the methodological approaches used in studying contemporary China, to develop students' understanding of how to use critical approaches to study all aspects of contemporary Chinese society. Topics include: understanding interdisciplinary approaches, presentation skills and essay writing, familiarity with e-learning resources among others. For this module you will have one 1-hour lecture and one 1-hour seminar each week.
Introduction to French Literature: Representations of Paris
This module aims to introduce students to the comparative study of literature and culture, inviting students to consider how Paris is represented in a range of texts (poetic, narrative and filmic) in the modern period (post-1800). Students will learn reading techniques adapted to different genres and media, and to consider representations of the city within their broader social, historical and critical contexts.
Introduction the French and Francophone Studies (core module)

You will receive a firm grounding in the structures of French through the core language module. You will also follow a core module 'Introduction to French and Francophone Studies' which will prepare you for studying the range of topics and skills you will develop in your degree course. You will also take additional modules in French literature and the history and politics of contemporary France.

Introduction to the Chinese Legal System
Studying this module you will gain an introduction to the origin, key elements and characteristics of the evolving Chinese legal system including the history of Chinese law, the organization of the P.R. China as a state and its constitutional laws, the law making process in China, the legal institutions and the Chinese court system, the criminal process, and the civil process and legal profession in China. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week.

Typical Year Two Modules

French 2 (core module)
Building upon the language module studied in Year One, you will further improve your skills in reading, listening, speaking, creative writing and translation. You will spend two hours per week in workshops and one hour in oral classes with a native speaker for this module.
The Rise of Modern China
In this module you will study the history of China from the 1840s, through to the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949. You will focus in particular on the ways in which Chinese society responded to the arrival of ‘modernity’ in the form of the Western powers and Japan throughout the period in question, but also how different groups in China tried to remould or redefine China as a ‘modern’ nation-state and society. In this module you will have a two-hour lecture each week.
Francophone Africa: Exploring Contemporary Issues through Culture
Through literature, film and popular culture, you will explore a range of political and social issues relevant to contemporary sub-Saharan Francophone Africa. Spending around two hours a week in lectures and seminars, you will be given an overview of the history of the French language in Africa and introduced to the range of varieties of French spoken there today.
Introduction to Modern French Poetry
You will be introduced to three major figures in modern French poetry (Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Apollinaire) and to the major formal developments in poetry in the period 1850-1914. Learning how to analyse, interpret and write commentaries on poetry, you will spend around two hours per week studying in lectures and seminars.
International Political Economy
The study of International Political Economy is essentially interdisciplinary, based on the premise that the political and economic domains are inextricably intertwined in the international system. You will learn the main approaches to International Political Economy, related to a conceptual as well as empirical engagement with the history of, and recent changes in, areas such as international trade, global finance, transnational production and development related to the North-South problematic. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture and one 1-hour seminar each week.
Difference and Equality in Post-War Thought
This module explores two key texts by prominent French and Francophone thinkers: Roland Barthes's 'Mythologies' and Frantz Fanon's 'Les Damnés de la terre'. It considers the equality and inequality of class, gender and race through close readings of the texts within the wider context of twentieth-century French and Francophone history and culture as well as in relation to major philosophical and theoretical ideas and traditions. You will have a one hour lecture as well as a one hour workshop per week to study this module.
Chinese Business Law
This module aims to provide an overview of the development of Chinese business law in the context of economic globalization and in particular of China's WTO membership. The module mainly include: Political Economy of Business Regulation in China and China's WTO Membership; Introduction to the Chinese's Legal System and Law Making Process; Chinese Contract Law, Law on Business Organizations, Company Law and Corporate Governance in China, Chinese Antimonopoly Law and Intellectual Property Laws. It concludes with discussions on the possible impacts of China's integration into the economic globalization on its domestic business regulation. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture each week.
The Golden Age of French Cinema
Studying a range of French films from the early days of cinema up to the post-war period, you’ll examine the development of French cinema and the evolution of film-making techniques. Films studied will include the work of Méliès, Buñuel, Vigo, Carné and Renoir. You will spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars for this module.
Social Change and Public Policy in China's Reform Era
In this module you will learn how the Chinese central government has responded to socio-economic changes by issuing a number of key policy initiatives, most notably in the field of social security, health, education, labour, innovation and the environment. In the first part of the module participants will be sensitized about the interplay between socio-economic transformation, administrative reform and public policy making during China's reform era (1978). 

In the second part of the module students will learn about the expanded spaces for participatory policy making in China by analysing case studies in all five substantive policy fields. As part of their course assignments students will be asked to write one 3,000 word essay and put insights into practice by developing group presentations on a selected public policy. This optional module will provide a socially relevant policy curriculum and help students develop necessary skills for a democratic practice of policy inquiry. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week.

Year Three

This year is spent abroad. For French, you can follow a programme of studies in a higher education institution, work as an assistant in a school, or take up a work placement in France or a Francophone country.

For Contemporary Chinese Studies, you have the opportunity to learn about Mandarin and Chinese culture by spending a semester at our campus in Ningbo.

For more information see our Year Abroad page.

Typical Year Four Modules

French 3 (core module)
Building on the skills gained in Years One and Two, you will further develop your oral and written skills, translation into and out of French, creative writing in different registers, linguistic commentary and production of summaries, as well as perfecting your French grammar and vocabulary. In the course of this year-long module, you will spend two hours per week in language workshops and one hour in oral classes with a native speaker.
Mao's China
In this module you will learn China under the communist party in the pre-reform era of 1949-1978. You will examine how China was organized and governed, changes in rural and urban society, the family, the economy and the Chinese workplace under Mao Zedong's CCP. You will have an hour a week of both lecture and seminar learning during this module.
Citizenship, Ethnicity and National Identity in Post-War France
You will examine the range of social, political and philosophical questions raised by mass immigration to France in the post-war period. These questions will be tackled through historical analysis of patterns of migration and changing immigration policies, as well as through the study of relevant films, novels and theoretical texts. You will spend two hours each week in lectures and seminars studying this module.
China Through Film and Literature
In this module you will first examine the close linkage between literature and cinema in China and the consequences and then explore trends in modern Chinese literature and cinema, with a primary focus on different genres and themes developed since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. By placing Chinese literature and film within their cultural, social and historical contexts, you will analyse, interpret and appreciate such phenomena. You will analyse individual texts in translation and films with English subtitles to increase your awareness of the major developments in literature and film as they are embedded in the wider changes in contemporary China. You will have one 3-hour practical class each week studying this module.
Individual and Society
You will explore the ways in which French social theory and fiction have thought through the changing nature of the individual and the self in society. You will spend two hours in lectures and workshops each week studying this module. 
Media and Communications in Globalising China
Media systems are critically important in any modern political system, and this module leads you directly to the heart of understanding how the media relates to contemporary society and politics in the People’s Republic of China. It introduces you to the unprecedented transformation in contemporary Chinese media and communication in the context of economic reforms, development of new media technologies and globalisation through a two hour weekly lecture.
Contemporary Representations of Travel 
From tourism to exploration, from exile to migration, from pilgrimage to business travel, we will question the tacit ideologies found in contemporary travel discourses. The importance of this field has been steadily growing in between disciplines that range from literary studies to ethnography. The module will use these cross-cultural influences to create an arena in which to develop connections between key disciplines and different forms of arts (literature, ethnography, films photography). You will spend two hours a week in seminars for this module.
Chinese Business and Society
In this module you will be introduced  to the economic, social, cultural and institutional settings in which businesses operate in China. Possible topics to be covered include: Chinese firms and business groups and internationalization, management business culture, management and business practice, and consumption and regional development. Students will also apply this knowledge to the analysis of business opportunities and risks in contemporary China. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week.
Theories and Practices of Translation
You will examine the history of translation and different translation models across a range of genres, including novel, drama, audiovisual media and poetry. For each theory, you will examine a number of case studies, either French texts translated into English or English texts into French. Spending around 1.5 hours per week in lectures, you will be encouraged to develop a critical and reflective approach to translation practice. 
China's Political Economy
This module examines the interaction between politics and economy in China during the economic reform period from 1978 onward. Particular attention will be given to the progress and periods of China’s reform, the political context of major economic policies, reform of major aspects of the economy, evolution of economic institutions, as well as an overview of economic development in China prior to 1978. The module will highlight the role of the political factors and state policies in China’s economy, which is important for a good understanding of the reform and economic development in China. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week.

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.


Year abroad

One year is spent abroad. For French, you can follow a programme of studies in a higher education institution, work as an assistant in a school, or take up a work placement in France or a Francophone country.

For Contemporary Chinese Studies, you have the opportunity to learn about Mandarin and Chinese culture by spending a semester at our campus in Ningbo.

For more information see our Year Abroad page.



You will have developed a sophisticated level of written and spoken French and will be able to use the language with ease in professional and social settings. You will also have a good command of Mandarin. The experience of your year abroad will suggest to potential employers that you are adaptable and independent.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2014, 93% of first-degree graduates in the Department of French and Francophone Studies who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £20,777 with the highest being £32,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home an d EU graduates, 2013/14.

Careers Support and Advice

Studying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our Careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.  

The University of Nottingham is the best university in the UK for graduate employment, according to the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.



Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

The University of Nottingham provides information and advice on financing your degree and managing your finances as an international student. The International Office offers a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.


This course contains a period of study or work abroad between the second and final year of the degree programme. Students' language skills and cultural understanding are assessed through a mix of presentations and written assignments upon their return to Nottingham.   

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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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