French and Politics BA

   
   
  

Fact file - 2018 entry

Qualification
French and Politics | BA Jt Hons
UCAS code
RL12
Duration
4 years full-time/year 3 out (available part-time)
A level offer
ABB 
Open to beginners and A level students of French
Required subjects
B in French at A level, if applicable. No language qualification is required for the beginners' pathway.
IB score
32; 5 at Higher Level or 6 at Standard Level (B programme) in French, if applicable.
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places
15 (across RL12 and RL22)
 

Overview

This course combines politics with degree-level study in French language. Alongside language modules, you will take core foundational modules dealing with key political issues and optional modules in areas that interest you.
Read full overview

This course, combining Politics with degree-level study in French language and culture, is open to beginners in French as well as post-A level students. Beginners’ French students follow an intensive language course designed to take them to degree level within four years, while post-A level students take language classes at an advanced level. Absolute beginners, GCSE, AS (beginners’ entry), or A level students (post-A level entry) in French are warmly invited to apply.  

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

Your third academic year is spent in France or a Francophone country doing one of the following:

  • a programme of studies in a higher education institution
  • working as an assistant in a school
  • a work placement.

For more information, see the Year Abroad page.

Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government. For more information, see our Year Abroad page and the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies statement on Brexit and our year abroad provision.

 

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, B in French at A level, if applicable. No language qualification is required for the beginners' pathway.

English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE), which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English. Successful students can progress onto their chosen degree course without taking IELTS again.

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 HND/HNC
  • 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.  
 

Modules


Typical year one modules (post-A level route)

French 1 (core)

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 French and Francophone Studies (core)
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.
 
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 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.
 
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.
 
  • Political Theory from Ancient to Modern

This module introduces students to the ideas of some of the canonical thinkers in the history of political thought, such as Aristotle, Plato, Machiavelli, and Hobbes. The module considers the impact of these thinkers on modern political thought and practice, with reference to key political ideas and historical developments (such as liberty and equality, and the Enlightenment). The module will be text based.  

 
  • Introduction to Comparative Politics

This module seeks to compare and contrast the decision-making structures of modern democratic states. Topics to be covered will include: 

  • politics
  • government and the state
  • the comparative approach
  • constitutions and the legal framework
  • democratic and authoritarian rule
  • political culture
  • the political executive
  • legislatures
  • political parties and party systems
  • electoral systems and voting behaviour
  • the crisis of democracy
 
Problems in Global Politics

This module explores some of the major problems that exist in contemporary global politics. It introduces you to a wide range of challenges faced by states and non-state actors in the international system and engages with topics ranging from security concerns to economic issues. 

The module draws on a wide range of ideas and examples from around the world to help you to better understand global politics.

 
 

Typical year one modules (beginners' route)

French 1 (Beginners) (core)

The module focuses on the intensive study from beginners’ level of the five key skills of listening, speaking, writing, reading, and grammatical competence. The module will use a set text book, but this will also be supplemented with other exercises and materials designed to work towards the specific requirements of a degree programme in French Studies, whereby students come into contact with modules in French literature, culture, history or linguistics. 

 
France: History and Identity (core)
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.
 
France: Twentieth-Century Texts in Translation (core)

The module offers an introduction to aspects of twentieth-century French culture and society to be studied through a selection of literary texts studied in English translation. By choosing texts with varied thematic and formal features the module will give an insight into the range of themes and issues which have preoccupied writers in France in the twentieth century. The module will also raise students’ awareness of a range of literary styles and techniques and the ways in which these may influence the reader.

 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
 

Typical year two modules (post-A level route)

French 2 (core)
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.
 
Contemporary France and Globalisation

This module looks at contemporary French society in the context of an increasingly globalised culture and economy. The module analyses recent attempts to defend, redefine and adapt key aspects of French economic and cultural life in order to negotiate ways of living in an era of globalisation. The material in the module focuses on key debates around globalisation: the national and the ‘local’ versus the global; constructions of Frenchness in opposition to America; the decline of rural France; the contemporary redefinition and possible continued significance of established French values and cultural practices; and the problems associated with maintaining a distinctively French social model in the face of globalisation.

 

Surrealist Photography in France

This module will introduce students to surrealist photography in inter-war France. Through close study of key texts, including André Breton’s ‘Manifeste du surréalisme’, alongside the work of male and female photographers associated with the surrealist movement, such as Man Ray, Maurice Tabard, Claude Cahun and Florence Henri, students will engage with the theoretical and aesthetic concepts of surrealism and related aspects of photographic history and technique. Wider socio-cultural and historical issues surrealist photography raises will be addressed, together with visual analysis and text-and-image relations.  

 
Post-War French Theatre
Examining the experimental theatre which flourished in France in the 1950s and 1960s, you’ll consider authors such as Genet, Beckett and Ionesco. Focusing on dramatic technique, theory, and performance, you’ll spend around two hours per week studying in lectures and seminars. 
 
New Wave French Cinema
Introducing you to teaching in film analysis, you’ll consider a particular period of French cinema through a detailed study of the New Wave. You’ll spend between 2-3 hours a week in lectures and seminars for this module. 
 
Enlightenment Literature: an Introduction

This module is an introduction to the study of eighteenth-century French literature, through a variety of texts chosen to offer an accessible approach to the period’s main literary genres and movements of thought.

 

Approaches to Politics and International Relations 

The module introduces students to alternative theoretical approaches to the study of political phenomena. We consider the different forms of analysing, explaining, and understanding politics associated with approaches such as behaviouralism, rational choice theory, institutionalism, Marxism, feminism, interpretive theory and post-modernism. The module shows that the different approaches are based upon contrasting ‘ontological’ suppositions about the nature of politics, and they invoke alternative ‘epistemological’ assumptions about how we acquire valid knowledge of politics and international relations. 

 

How Voters Decide

Elections are the foundation of representative democracy. The act of voting creates a link between citizens’ preferences and government policy. This means that the choices voters make have important consequences. But, how do voters make these choices? Are they based on the policies that parties promise to enact in the future, or is it more about the policy successes (or failures) that parties have experienced in the past? Does the party’s leader make a difference? Can campaigns or the media’s coverage change how voters see their electoral choices? Finally, given the importance of elections, why do many citizens choose to abstain from the process altogether? How Voters Decide will explore the choices that citizens make when they participate in elections and it will provide students with the skills necessary to evaluate arguments about electoral behaviour in Britain and beyond. 

 
Democracy and its Critics

Democracy is a contested concept and organising principle of politics both ancient and modern. Its appeal seems to be universal, yet it has always had its critics. 

This module investigates the nature of democratic principles, the arguments of democracy's opponents and the claims of those who say that contemporary life is inadequately democratised. A particular feature of the module is the use of primary sources to investigate historic and contemporary debates.  

 
  • International Political Economy 

This module will introduce the main approaches to international political economy, providing a brief overview of the post-war international political economy, before the main focus is turned towards globalisation and related structural changes in the global economy. You will engage with concepts of globalisation, regionalisation and regionalism, as well as analysing empirical changes in the areas of international trade, finance, production and development.

 
Civilisation and Barbarism

This module explores some of the major themes in the study of international relations. Power and order feature prominently, but so too do war and disaster, imperialism and race, totalitarianism and emancipation, law and human rights.

The course is distinctive in two respects. First, the study of these themes each week takes its bearings from a significant text, and that text in its entirety. Second, the emphasis is on the interplay between the form and style of these texts and the ideas they contain. This inquiry is interesting and important in itself, and should also help you appreciate texts encountered elsewhere during your studies.

 
 

Typical year two modules (beginners' route)

French 2 (Beginners) (core)

The module builds on the intensive language study undertaken in the first year, developing the key skills of listening, speaking, writing, reading, and grammatical competence. In this way it is anticipated that, by the end of the second year, students will be linguistically equipped to cope with the challenges of the year abroad.

 
Introduction to French and Francophone Studies (core)
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.
 

Introduction to French Literature: Representations of Paris (core)

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.

 

Literature and Politics in Modern France

In this module, we will reflect on various ways in which French writers have engaged with the political struggles of their time. Through the study of key authors of "committed literature" we will analyse how the tension between literature and politics has shaped their texts and trace the emergence of the "intellectual" as a key figure in modern French culture and society.

 

Language and Politics in 21st Century French

The module will focus on the interplay between language and politics in 21st-century French. It will address issues of ideology, identity, and power in French-speaking countries from a linguistic perspective. Students will examine the driving forces behind the invention and the preservation of standard French, the role of norms and variation in identity politics, and the role of language choices in current political debates in France. Students will apply the principles and methods of sociolinguistics and cognitive linguistics to a variety of recent textual and audiovisual documents, and digital data. These range from TV programmes, news broadcasts and interviews to radio podcasts, corpora based on social media and online newspapers.

 
  • Politics and Drugs 

This module studies the implications of the growing abuse of narcotics for the political system from both a national and international perspective. It will examine the production, consumption and trade in drugs as an international problem. 

The development of and issues associated with contemporary British drug policy will be explored and the theoretical questions raised by drug control policy will be examined.  

 

Airpower and Modern Warfare

 

The invention of the aircraft fundamentally changed the ways in which wars are fought and won. Over the course of only a century airpower developed into an indispensable instrument of warfare. Today, war without airpower is an unlikely prospect and major military operations, as a rule, are launched with overwhelming air attacks.

In recent years, however, the utility of 'strategic' airpower has increasingly come under question. Whilst technological innovation continues to strengthen airpower's capabilities, the relevance of these capabilities in contemporary conflicts cannot be taken for granted.

This module critically assesses the role of air power in modern conflict within the broader framework of strategic and security studies. It will assess the evolution of air power theory since the First World War and examine the limits of its practical application with reference to specific air campaigns.

 

 
 
Year three - study abroad

Your third academic year is spent in France or a Francophone country doing one of the following:

  • a programme of studies in a higher education institution
  • working as an assistant in a school
  • a work placement.

For more information, see the Year Abroad page.

 
Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government. For more information, see our Year Abroad page and the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies statement on Brexit and our year abroad provision.

 


Typical year four modules (post-A level and beginners' routes)

French 3 (core)
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.
 
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.
 
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 such as literature, ethnography, films and photography. You will spend two hours a week in seminars for this module.
 

French Documentary Cinema

This module introduces students to French documentary cinema, by examining the work of a range of filmmakers and exploring the theoretical, socio-cultural and ethical questions raised by documentary cinema. You will spend 2 hours a week in lectures and seminars on this module.

 
Peuple and Propaganda
Studying various forms of artistic works taken from key moments in the French Revolutionary decade (1789 – 1799), you’ll consider the reflection of contemporary events in such works. Around two hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars studying this module. 
 

The Everyday in Contemporary Literature and Thought 

From the 1930s onwards the French sociologist Henri Lefebvre argued that theorists who wanted to understand the political and ideological dimensions of life had neglected the sphere of the everyday. The module looks at the various ways in which the novel has evolved and adapted to “the contemporary” by responding to the “everyday”. Giving an overview of the various approaches to the everyday in the contemporary novel from the 60s to the present, this module will explore how key authors negotiate, through their writing, the everyday’s indeterminacy and the unstable space it occupies between the social and the individual. You will spend 2 hours a week in lectures and seminars on this module.

 

Subtitling and Dubbing from French into English

This module focuses on the theory and practice of two modes of audio-visual translation: subtitling and dubbing. The linguistic, technical, and cultural theoretical underpinnings of subtitling and dubbing from French into English will be examined in detail, and students will be able to put the theory into practice using professional dedicated software. 

 
Francophone Writing in Canada
This module studies a selection of texts which have played a significant part in establishing a tradition of Canadian writing in French. The module includes texts by both Québécois and non-Québécois writers. The texts are studied in the context of the specific cultures to which they belong and of the reception they found. You will spend two hours a week in lectures and seminars for this module.
 
Dissertation in French
You’ll undertake an in-depth study into a chosen subject within French and Francophone Studies, and will produce a 7,500 word dissertation. Teaching takes place in the form of regular individual meetings with the allocated supervisor, and group meetings with the module convenor, centred more generally on research and writing skills.
 
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.
 
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.
 

 

 

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

Your third academic year is spent in France or a Francophone country doing one of the following:

  • a programme of studies in a higher education institution
  • working as an assistant in a school
  • a work placement.

For more information, see the Year Abroad page.

Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government. For more information, see our Year Abroad page and the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies statement on Brexit and our year abroad provision.
 

Careers

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 2015, 93% of first-degree graduates in 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 £22,434 with the highest being £31,000.* 

In 2015, 95% 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 £21,278 with the highest being £35,000.* 

* Known destinations of full-time home and EU first-degree graduates, 2014/15

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.

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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

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 40 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.

 
 
 

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.

Assessment

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. 

How to use the data

Disclaimer
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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