French and Politics BA


Fact file - 2015 entry

UCAS code:RL12
Qualification:BA Jt Hons
Type and duration:4 year UG (year 3 out)
Qualification name:French and Politics
A level offer: ABB 
Required subjects: B in French. For beginners’ level entry, evidence of language learning ability is required, usually a GCSE in a modern language.
IB score: 32 (5 in French at Higher Level for post-A level equivalent entry)
Available part time: yes 
Course places: 80 for all Joint Honours courses in the Department of French and Francophone Studies
Campus: University Park Campus 

Course overview

On this course, you have the opportunity to combine studies in French language, literature and culture with a wide range of political topics. You can study French either as a post-A level subject or to take up the language at beginners' level.

If you have an A level or equivalent in French you will take core modules in French Language and French Studies plus further optional modules from a wide range covering French literature, culture, politics, society, history, media and linguistics.

If you are starting French at beginners' level, an intensive course in French in the first two years of study will enable you to devote sufficient time to your language learning in order to develop your French to degree level.  Students taking French at beginners’ level will also be introduced to key areas in French Studies in the first two years of study.

On both routes – post-A level or beginners’ – you will normally divide your time equally between French and Politics. In the Politics part of the degree all students will take core foundational modules dealing with key political issues and optional modules in areas that interest them.

Year one

If you are taking French post-A level you will receive a firm grounding in the structures of the language through the core language module. You will also take the core Introduction to French and Francophone Studies module introducing you to the study of French linguistics, literature, politics, society and film. You will also choose further optional modules focusing on literature, French history and contemporary France. If you are starting French at beginners’ level, you will pursue a structured course in the language to take you from beginners’ to advanced level. You will also take core modules taught in English that introduce you to key areas of interest in the field of French Studies.

In Politics, you will take modules in contemporary political theory, comparative politics and international relations. You will learn to compare and contrast political institutions and behaviour in liberal democracies and to apply political ideas and concepts to key social issues and issues in world politics.

Year two

On the post-A level route your French language studies will be consolidated to prepare you for the year abroad. You will also choose from a range of modules in French and Francophone literature, culture and society, history, politics, linguistics and film. On the beginners’ route you will continue to work intensively on key skills in the French language in preparation for the year abroad. You will also take a core Introduction to French and Francophone Studies module.

In Politics, you take a range of options from three designated 'core' areas: political theory, comparative politics and international relations.

Year three

Spent in France or a French-speaking country as a language assistant in a school, on an approved course of study or on a work placement.

Year four

Beginners’ and post-A level students will take the same core language module and all students will choose from a range of optional modules. You will develop your command of French to a high level and use it in increasingly sophisticated contexts. You will also study optional modules drawn from the areas of literature, culture and society, history, politics, visual culture and linguistics. One of your options in French will be to write a dissertation.

In Politics there will be free choice from a wide variety of more advanced modules, including the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic of your own choosing. You may opt to research and write a dissertation under the supervision of a member of staff, and/or choose options in political theory, comparative politics and international relations.

More information 

See also the School of Politics & International Relations.

Entry requirements

A levels: ABB, including B in French. For beginners’ level entry, evidence of language learning ability is required, usually a GCSE in a modern language.

English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

Pearson Test of English (Academic) 67 (minimum 55)

Alternative qualifications 

For details please see the alternative qualifications page.

Flexible admissions policy

We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances.


The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result, may change from year to year. The following list is therefore subject to change but should give you a flavour of the modules we offer.

Typical Year One Modules

Introduction the French and Francophone Studies

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 choose optional modules in French literature and the history and politics of contemporary France.

The French Language
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.

Political Ideas in Revolution
You’ll be introduced to some of the founding fathers of political thought such as Aristotle, Plato, Machiavelli and Hobbes. The evolution of political thought such as the concepts of liberty, equality and the Enlightenment will also be examined. You’ll consider their impact on modern political thought and practice, bringing together key political ideas with historical development. In this module you’ll have 2 hours of lectures per 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.
Power and the State
In this module you’ll compare and contrast the decision-making structures of modern states by examining different topics such as Democratic and Authoritarian Rule, Political Culture and Legal and Constitutional Frameworks. You’ll also be introduced to the method of comparative politics and theory testing. There is a mix of lectures, seminars and workshops on different weeks totalling around 3 hours per week throughout the semester.

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.

Problems in Global Politics
For this module, joint honours students will explore a range of issues in contemporary international relations. It focuses on the problems of security and insecurity since the end of the Cold War. You’ll learn to develop critical and reflective thinking using a variety of approaches and methods related to the study of global politics. You’ll have 3 hours of lectures, seminars and workshops per week studying this module.

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.

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.


Typical Year Two Modules

The French Language
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 in oral classes with a native speaker for this module.

Democracy and its Critics
You’ll examine the concept and organisation of democracy using primary sources to investigate historic and contemporary debates. You’ll consider the principles and arguments of democracy and its critics as well as the future for democracy in the context of accelerating globalisation. A variety of approaches and methods will be used to help you develop your skills for the study of political theory. You’ll have 3 hours a week of lectures and seminars studying this module.

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.

Civilisation and Barbarism
You’ll explore some of the major themes of international relations using a variety of different sources including novels, essays, manifestos, treatise and film. Power and Order is the underlying theme linking together areas such as imperialism, emancipation, human rights, terrorism and torture among others. The interconnectivity between all of these areas and the sources will help you appreciate texts from the breadth of your studies. There will be 3 hours a week of seminars and lectures for this module.

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. 


Year Three
: This year is spent abroad. You will spend it in France or a French-speaking country where 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 more information, please see the Department of French and Francophone Studies Year Abroad Page.

Typical Year Four Modules

The French Language
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 in oral classes with a native speaker.

Politics and Drugs
This module examines the implications of narcotics abuse for the political system from both a national and international perspective. Contemporary British drug policy will be the explored and questions raised by drug control policy will be discussed. You’ll consider the production, consumption and trade of drugs as a global problem. You will spend around 3 hours a week in lectures and seminars studying for 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.

Weapons of Mass Destruction
This module introduces a range of debates concerning weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to give you an appreciation of the importance of the issue. The reasons for states to develop or acquire WMDs will be explored through core concepts such as deterrence, the security dilemma and organisation theory.  You’ll discuss whether WMDs are good or bad and if Britain should build a missile defence system among other topics. 3 hours a week are spent in lectures and seminars studying for 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. 

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.

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. 



You will have a broad knowledge of political ideas and concepts and the ability to think and study independently. You will have a level of French that allows you to operate in sophisticated social and professional contexts. Your year abroad will suggest to potential employers that you are adaptable and independent.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2013, 98% 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 £22,735 with the highest being £35,000.*

In 2013, 91.3% of first-degree graduates in the School of Politics and International Relations who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £22,498 with the highest being £60,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home and EU graduates, 2012/13.

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.  


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.

Home students*

There are several types of bursary and scholarship on offer. Download our funding guide or visit our financial support pages to find out more about tuition fees, loans, budgeting and sources of funding.

To be eligible to apply for most of these funds you must be liable for the £9,000 tuition fee and not be in receipt of a bursary from outside the University.

* 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 International Office provides support and advice on financing your degree and offers a number of scholarships to help you with tuition fees and living costs.


KIS data

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 abroad. Students' language skills and cultural understanding are assessed through a mix of presentations and written assignments upon their return to Nottingham.   

How to use the data

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