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Course overview

French and International Media and Communications Studies at Nottingham is a global degree. More than 275 million people speak French across all five continents. Media and communications influences how we live and interact with each other. Combining these subjects enables you to learn about the theory and history of communications in a global context, and develop your French language skills. You will cover a range of subjects such as media and society, inter-cultural communications, and cultural studies. You will divide your studies equally between French and media and communications. 

We offer two pathways:

  • Beginners' French pathway: You will follow an intensive language course designed to take you to degree level within four years
  • Post A-Level French pathway: You will take language classes at an advanced level and develop your existing language skills

Whichever pathway you take, you will graduate with the same degree.

At the end of the course, you will have a range of transferable skills. As well as degree level French, you will have an understanding of international media and an in-depth knowledge of French history and culture. The exciting experience of a year abroad in a Francophone country develops your communication skills, builds your confidence and helps you stand out to future employers.

More information 

Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies

Why choose this course?

  • Meet visiting speakers from the creative industries through the Creative Student Network
  • Take part in work placements and internships
  • Stand out from the competition with your language skills
  • We have partner Universities across the globe
  • Benefit from skills development and assessment methods from both subjects

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level offer ABB
Required subjects

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

IB score 32

DDM at BTEC. Open to beginners and A level students of French

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

If you have already achieved your EPQ at Grade A you will automatically be offered one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject.

If you are still studying for your EPQ you will receive the standard course offer, with a condition of one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject if you achieve an A grade in your EPQ.

Foundation progression options

You can also access this course through our Foundation Year. This may be suitable if you have faced educational barriers and are predicted BCC at A level.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Oral classes
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

How you will be assessed

As well as scheduled teaching you’ll carry out extensive self-study such as seminar preparation and writing assignments.

This course includes one or more pieces of formative assessment.

This course contains a period of study abroad. Your language skills and cultural understanding, developed during the year abroad, is assessed by a presentation.

Assessment methods

  • Dissertation
  • Commentary
  • Essay
  • In-class test
  • Oral exam
  • Portfolio (written/digital)
  • Presentation
  • Reflective review
  • Written exam

Contact time and study hours

As well as scheduled teaching you’ll carry out extensive self-study such as seminar preparation and writing assignments.

A typical 20 credit module is usually three hours of lectures and/or seminars per week.

Your lecturers will usually be permanent academic staff. Some of our postgraduate students also support teaching after suitable training.

Class sizes vary depending on topic and type. A popular lecture may have up to 100 students attending while a specialised seminar may only contain 10 students.

You will have a personal tutor from the Department of Cultural Media and Visual Studies and a Joint Honours advisor from the French section.

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

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.

Placements

Work experience gives you the skills and experience that will allow you to stand out to potential employers and is a crucial part of becoming 'workplace-ready'.

Become 'workplace-ready' with our Work Placement and Employability programme tailor made for students in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies. It helps you develop skills and experience that allow you to stand out to potential employers.

You also have access to a wide range of work experience and volunteering schemes through the:

Impact of the coronavirus on work placements, field trips and volunteering

We work with a range of organisations to provide work placements, field trips and volunteer opportunities. As you'll appreciate they are all disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

We expect opportunities to run as usual from the academic year 2021/22 but this cannot be guaranteed. We will do our best to arrange suitable activities as previous students always tell us how much they appreciate these opportunities.

Our Careers and Employment Service have arranged "virtual placements" with some employers and provide other advice on work experience during the coronavirus pandemic.

Why study more than one subject?

Watch our animation about studying a joint honours degree with us.

Modules

Post-A level French route

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.

Beginners' French route

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.

International Media and Communications Studies

In international media and communications studies you will be introduced to cultural and communications theories, and debates surrounding mass media and new media.

You will take 120 credits of modules split as follows:

  • 60 credits of core media and communications studies modules
  • 60 credits of chosen language

You must pass year one but it does not count towards your final degree classification.

Core module for all students

Questioning Culture

This module supports first year students as they make the transition into degree level work. You will gain skills in independent and collaborative learning with the aid of guided and self-directed learning tasks and individual and group research projects. The module prepares the ground for subsequent research training and for the final year dissertation.

French beginners' pathway

French 1: Beginners

This 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

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. The module looks at the way in which their 'stories' have been written and woven into the fabric of 'le roman de la nation', and how they have been appropriated to serve a range of different ends. It will also introduce students to the iconography of the French historical landscape.

French Texts in Translation

This module is designed as an introduction to some of the main skills required to study literature by looking at landmark French texts (novels and films) 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, as well as the fictional forms they have used to explore these themes. The module will raise your awareness of a range of literary styles and techniques and the ways in which these may influence the reader. This module is for students taking French 1 Beginners only.

French post A-level pathway

Core French modules

French 1

This module consolidates and develops your command of the French language, both written and spoken. The work covers grammar, aural and oral skills.

Introduction to French & Francophone Studies
This year-long module provides an introduction to the range of topics and study skills that students will need and will go on to further develop over the course of their degree study in French and Francophone Studies. Drawing on the expertise of the teaching team, the module will cover the main fields of the discipline, including linguistics, politics, history, thought, French and Francophone literature, media, visual culture and cinema. Through engagement with a range of different text, images and film, students will also be introduced to core study skills, such as reading strategies, awareness of register, close reading, essay writing, commentary writing, bibliographical and referencing skills and visual analysis.

Optional French modules

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. The module looks at the way in which their 'stories' have been written and woven into the fabric of 'le roman de la nation', and how they have been appropriated to serve a range of different ends. It will also introduce students to the iconography of the French historical landscape.

Introduction to French Literature: Landmarks in Narrative

This module aims to introduce you to the comparative study of literature and culture, focusing in particular on how the city of Paris is represented in a range of texts (poetic, narrative and filmic) in the modern period (post-1800).

You will learn reading techniques adapted to different genres and media, and representations of the city will be considered within their broader social, historical and political context.

Contemporary France

On this module, you will focus on a selection of themes that explore the distinctive social and political landscape of contemporary France: French political institutions, with particular emphasis on the presidency; political parties in France; and immigration and questions of identity.

A close analysis of these themes will provide you with a general understanding of contemporary French society and institutions. In more specific terms, you will begin to explore the ways in which France is faced with the challenge of adapting its republican traditions to a changing world.

Introduction to French Literature: Representations of Paris

This module aims to introduce you to the comparative study of literature and culture, focusing in particular on how the city of Paris is represented in a range of texts (poetic, narrative and filmic) in the modern period (post-1800). You will learn reading techniques adapted to different genres and media, and representations of the city will be considered within their broader social, historical and political context.

International Media and Communications Studies

Optional modules

You will take two modules from this group.

Communication and Culture

This module surveys the field of communications theory and provides an introduction to the key methodologies and topics of cultural studies within the context of contemporary life. Students will be introduced to key theoretical approaches to the communications process and encouraged to develop literacies across a wide range of visual and written sources, including advertising, TV, and journalism. Students will also be encouraged to assess the gains and shortcomings of particular theoretical models and to consider the processes that obstruct and frustrate the ambition of establishing clear channels of communication. The module also introduces approaches to cultural studies through the following key themes: 'high' versus 'popular' culture; race and ethnicity; feminism, Marxism and postmodernism; and the internet.

Communication and Technology

This module takes a detailed look at debates around the impact of new information and communications technologies such as the internet, digital TV, and mobile and wireless communications on processes of communication. The module emphasises the social, economic and political implications of information communication technology adoption, such as the ongoing 'digital divide' between the information-rich and -poor. It also investigates issues surrounding human-machine interaction, exploring the reshaping of communication forms and practices together with notions of posthumanism and cyberbodies.

Media and Society
In this module you will critically examine the social forces that have shaped different media, focussing on the press, broadcasting, the internet, and film & television. You will explore key debates surrounding the development, composition and function of these different media forms, and examine the social, political, economic and cultural conditions that shaped their evolution.
You will be introduced to a range of theoretical approaches to understanding the production, content and reception of media messages and representations, with a particular focus on the social and political role of the mass media.
This module is worth 20 credits.
Cultures of Everyday Life

Our daily lives are filled with 'realities' and phenomena that exceed our abilities to account for them: we might order a headstone on the way to the supermarket or be captivated by a carrier bag blowing in the wind; we may spend much of our time bored or dreaming of winning the lottery. While we may take the idea of the everyday for granted, associating it with routine, familiar and repeated experiences, our everyday lives are, simultaneously, punctuated by the exceptional, the random and the disruptive. Traditional theoretical attempts to account for the everyday tend to overlook aspects of daily life that refuse system and order: sociology, anthropology, cultural and media studies, for example, deal with activities such as work and leisure but neglect the unique texture of everyday experience. This module thus emphasises the everyday world as fraught with difficulty (in terms of seeing, theorising and representing), and looks at a wide range of attempts to register daily existence, including the modernist novel, photography, film, time capsules, poetry, video diaries and comics.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

Post-A level French route

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.

Beginners' French route

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.

International Media and Communications Studies

In international media and communications studies you will explore issues around public relations, political communication and global media and news production. You will also receive specific research training in the area of culture, film and media in order to lay the foundation for your final year dissertation.

You will take 120 credits of modules split as follows:

  • 20 credits of core international media and communications modules
  • 20 to 40 credits of core language modules
  • 60 to 80 credits of optional modules

You must pass year two which is weighted at one third of your final degree classification.

French post A-level pathway

Core module

French 2

This module seeks to consolidate and build on the skills and knowledge and skills acquired in the year one language module. The various language skills required for competence in French language – reading comprehension, listening comprehension, creative writing, summary, review, translation and oral production – are developed through a variety of means and exercises.

Optional modules

You will take two to four modules from this group.

Literature and Politics in Modern France

This module looks at various ways in which French writers have engaged with the political struggles of their time. Through the study of key authors of what is often referred to as ‘committed’ literature, the module will analyse how the tension between literature and politics has shaped these texts. Through an analysis of this committed literature, the module will trace the emergence of the ‘intellectual’ as an important figure in modern French culture and society.

Huit Tableaux: Art and Politics in Nineteenth-Century France (1799-1871)

Huit Tableaux examines the course of French history from the Consulate (1799) to the Paris Commune (1871). On this module you will trace how a succession of regimes struggled and ultimately failed to move on from the preoccupations of the Revolution.

Eight more or less well-known works of art (principally painting but also sculpture) are used as a platform for exploring the period, focusing on the way in which these works tackle issues of national identity, religion and political culture.

Among the Huit tableaux dealt with are David's Sacre de Napoléon, Delacroix's La Liberté guidant le peuple, and Meissonier's Le Siège de Paris.

Enlightenment Literature: An Introduction

This module is an introduction to the study of 18th 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. Alongside an investigation of how literature developed during this era, you will consider key questions that thinkers and writers grappled with:

  • What is like to fall in love?
  • What is happiness and how do we find it?
  • How important is personal freedom?
  • Are people naturally good?
  • How do we live well with others?
  • How do we learn about the world and make sense of our experiences?
Contemporary Francophone Cinema and Social Issues

This module engages in a detailed analysis of four recent Francophone films that deal with contemporary social issues and institutions: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, L’Enfant (2005); Jacques Audiard, Un prophète (2009); Thomas Lilti, Hippocrate (2014); Stéphane Brizé, La loi du marché (2015). It focuses on the way in which the films present characters in a social context. The module looks at the ways in which these characters are subject to economic forces, interact with institutions, and function as members of social groups. The films are analysed from a formal perspective, considering the ways in which they all draw on the resources of cinematic realism in order to provide a representation of contemporary life that is both compelling and challenging for viewers.

Contemporary Translation Studies

The module introduces the key concepts of translation theory, such as equivalence, text type, skopos, alongside relevant linguistic theories such as register and relevance, with a focus on enabling students to apply these concepts to translation practice.

Art and Contemporary Visual Culture in France

This module explores contemporary art and media production in France and beyond, looking at how recent French art and ideas feature in and contribute to a cultural world-system. We will be looking at pioneering artworks from the late 20th century and the 21st century, examining work in film, visual art of many genres, photography, music and also media technology.

Beginning with key foundational artists from the 1960s and 1970s, we move on to consider works across artistic media, mostly from the 21st century, and this will form the principal course content.

We will be looking at the work of individual artists in detail, both for the value of the work, but also to explore how contemporary cultural production reflects and reacts to the world in which it is made. Visual art is particularly useful in this context as it necessarily contains a reflective element, and this is often critical of existing situations. We will also incorporate key readings by theorists who have reflected on the themes, media, technology and politics of both art and culture in the broader sense.

European Silent Cinema

This module will examine the development of cinema during the silent era, from its invention in the 1890s through to the early 1930s, in France, Germany and the Russian Empire/Soviet Union. Because silent cinema was easy to translate and export from one country to another, it was highly transnational, and the module will enable you to see how filmmakers in different countries entered into dialogue with one another. You will be able to compare and contrast the themes and preoccupations of films produced in these countries, and consider how these reflected distinct political and cultural agendas.

The first part of the module will introduce students to the history of early film, primarily as it developed in France, looking at short actualité films produced by the Lumière brothers and others. It will consider the practices of display of ‘silent’ film (looking especially at how it was accompanied by music, speech and sound effects), and look at its appeal to popular audiences as well as its broader critical reception. We will then go on to consider a range of films made during the silent era, which represent two main tendencies:

  • A tendency towards realism and the examination of everyday life
  • A tendency towards fantasy and the creation of spectacular new realitie

You will be introduced to the fundamentals of film language and will be encouraged to engage in close analysis of short extracts from the films.

Films will include (but will not be limited to):

  • Georges Méliès, Voyage to the Moon (1902)
  • Louis Feuillade, Fantômas serial (1913)
  • Paul Wegener, The Golem (1920)
French Cinema: The New Wave

The module is designed to introduce you to a particular period of French cinema by offering a detailed study of the New Wave of the late 1950s and early 1960s, focusing in particular on the films of Godard, Truffaut, Resnais and Chabrol.

As the module will show, New Wave film-makers often employed a variety of new and challenging formal techniques in order to make films that reflected an emergent, modern, iconoclastic sensibility in post-war France. For these reasons, the module combines a contextual approach with introductory teaching in film analysis.

Nineteenth Century French Narrative

This module provides an introduction to short narrative in the nineteenth century. It invites students to consider how texts combine literary craftsmanship with an effort to represent, understand and engage with the political, cultural and physical world beyond the page. The module takes in a range of different short narrative genres and themes:

  • The crowd-written character sketches Les Francais peints par eux-memes (1840-1842)
  • Nostalgic and impressionistics stories from Emile Zola's Contes à Ninon (1864)
  • Lyrical, colonialist depictions of the Orient by Maupassant (1880s)
  • Fin-de-siécle decadent writing by Rachilde (1900)

Through these texts, you will also be introduced to a range of reading techniques and critical theory relating to each of these textual forms, whilst exploring the ever-changing landscape of a nation shaken by ongoing revolution and social change.

Introduction to Modern French Poetry

This module provides an introduction 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, including the prose poem and free verse. Students will learn to analyse, interpret and write commentaries on poetry, and individual poems will be considered in relation to broad themes such as the representations of self, and notions of modernism. 

On Location: Cinematic Explorations of Contemporary France

This module offers students an opportunity to explore actual cultural, economic and social differences within modern France through its representations in contemporary filmmaking. Beyond narrative themes, students will gain an understanding of how filmmakers engage the formal resources of cinema, both fiction and documentary, to capture the specificities of diverse spaces and places and to invite reflection on larger questions of identity and community, nation and citizenship, mobility and belonging.

Sociolinguistics: An Introduction

This module provides you with an introduction to the rich field of study known as sociolinguistics, which investigates the relationship between language and society through an exploration of the social contexts of language use.

Particular areas of focus in any one year of the module could include:

  • intercultural communication
  • politeness and face
  • linguistic determinism
  • power and solidarity
  • language choice
  • speech act theory
  • the ethnography of communication
  • language and gender
  • approaches to the study of discourse/talk
Introduction to Contemporary Science Fiction

Focusing on texts ranging from the novels of Jules Verne through to Élisabeth Vonarburg, this module will engage with key themes in French science fiction writing. Whether it deals with the discoveries of new worlds or the confrontation with new technologies, science fiction as a genre expresses the anxieties and hopes specific to the contemporary era. Science fiction is political in that it deals with questions of power, ecology and science. It is also philosophical, since it calls into question boundaries between cultures, times, genres and species. Drawing on these political and philosophical dimensions, the module will look in particular at how science fiction explores the ways in which identity is constructed and reconfigured by material and technological forces.

French beginners' pathway

Core modules

French 2

This module seeks to consolidate and build on the achievements of the language module of year one. The various language skills required for competence in the French language - reading comprehension, listening comprehension, summary, translation and oral production - are developed through a variety of means and exercises.

Introduction to French & Francophone Studies
This year-long module provides an introduction to the range of topics and study skills that students will need and will go on to further develop over the course of their degree study in French and Francophone Studies. Drawing on the expertise of the teaching team, the module will cover the main fields of the discipline, including linguistics, politics, history, thought, French and Francophone literature, media, visual culture and cinema. Through engagement with a range of different text, images and film, students will also be introduced to core study skills, such as reading strategies, awareness of register, close reading, essay writing, commentary writing, bibliographical and referencing skills and visual analysis.
Introduction to French Literature: Representations of Paris

This module aims to introduce you to the comparative study of literature and culture, focusing in particular on how the city of Paris is represented in a range of texts (poetic, narrative and filmic) in the modern period (post-1800). You will learn reading techniques adapted to different genres and media, and representations of the city will be considered within their broader social, historical and political context.

Optional modules

You will take one module from this group.

Sociolinguistics: An Introduction

This module provides you with an introduction to the rich field of study known as sociolinguistics, which investigates the relationship between language and society through an exploration of the social contexts of language use.

Particular areas of focus in any one year of the module could include:

  • intercultural communication
  • politeness and face
  • linguistic determinism
  • power and solidarity
  • language choice
  • speech act theory
  • the ethnography of communication
  • language and gender
  • approaches to the study of discourse/talk
French Cinema: The New Wave

The module is designed to introduce you to a particular period of French cinema by offering a detailed study of the New Wave of the late 1950s and early 1960s, focusing in particular on the films of Godard, Truffaut, Resnais and Chabrol.

As the module will show, New Wave film-makers often employed a variety of new and challenging formal techniques in order to make films that reflected an emergent, modern, iconoclastic sensibility in post-war France. For these reasons, the module combines a contextual approach with introductory teaching in film analysis.

Nineteenth Century French Narrative

This module provides an introduction to short narrative in the nineteenth century. It invites students to consider how texts combine literary craftsmanship with an effort to represent, understand and engage with the political, cultural and physical world beyond the page. The module takes in a range of different short narrative genres and themes:

  • The crowd-written character sketches Les Francais peints par eux-memes (1840-1842)
  • Nostalgic and impressionistics stories from Emile Zola's Contes à Ninon (1864)
  • Lyrical, colonialist depictions of the Orient by Maupassant (1880s)
  • Fin-de-siécle decadent writing by Rachilde (1900)

Through these texts, you will also be introduced to a range of reading techniques and critical theory relating to each of these textual forms, whilst exploring the ever-changing landscape of a nation shaken by ongoing revolution and social change.

Introduction to Modern French Poetry

This module provides an introduction 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, including the prose poem and free verse. Students will learn to analyse, interpret and write commentaries on poetry, and individual poems will be considered in relation to broad themes such as the representations of self, and notions of modernism. 

On Location: Cinematic Explorations of Contemporary France

This module offers students an opportunity to explore actual cultural, economic and social differences within modern France through its representations in contemporary filmmaking. Beyond narrative themes, students will gain an understanding of how filmmakers engage the formal resources of cinema, both fiction and documentary, to capture the specificities of diverse spaces and places and to invite reflection on larger questions of identity and community, nation and citizenship, mobility and belonging.

Introduction to Contemporary Science Fiction

Focusing on texts ranging from the novels of Jules Verne through to Élisabeth Vonarburg, this module will engage with key themes in French science fiction writing. Whether it deals with the discoveries of new worlds or the confrontation with new technologies, science fiction as a genre expresses the anxieties and hopes specific to the contemporary era. Science fiction is political in that it deals with questions of power, ecology and science. It is also philosophical, since it calls into question boundaries between cultures, times, genres and species. Drawing on these political and philosophical dimensions, the module will look in particular at how science fiction explores the ways in which identity is constructed and reconfigured by material and technological forces.

International media and communications modules

Core module

Researching Media and Culture

For this year-long core module you'll spend two hours a week in lectures and workshops to become familiar with different methods for investigating research topics, including methods such as ethnographic, historical and textual study, and determining their suitability for different projects. You'll investigate the interdisciplinary nature of film, television and media studies and demonstrate this knowledge by choosing your own research project and methods.

Optional modules

You will take two modules from this group.

Understanding Cultural Industries

You'll learn how show business is broken down into 'show' and 'business' in film, television and promotional industries and examine how creative decision-making, technology and legislation influence those industries. You'll also learn about how advertising and market research influence the design and production of media in certain regions and how film and television industries have developed in different contexts and periods.

Media Identities: Who We Are and How We Feel

This module develops critical modes of attention to the mediation of identity. On our screens and in our headphones, we shape and reshape our selves. Media do not reflect identities but play an active role in bringing them into being. This module takes up the question of 'identity politics', enhancing students' knowledge and understanding of key identity categories that have been advanced and problematized by media scholars, such as gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, national, regional and local belonging, age, ability and disability, and more. The module also interrogates the mediated forms these identities take, considering the politics of looking and visual culture, the politics of hearing and auditory culture, and the politics of affect, emotions and embodiment. The module encourages historical as well as contemporary perspectives.

Political Communication, Public Relations and Propaganda

This module explores the evolution of political communication from the turn of the 20th century and considers its links to the emergence of modern public relations. Starting with the influential work of Edward Bernys, widely considered as the father of modern public relations, we will consider how PR has developed and how its tactics and practices have increasingly been co-opted by modern politicians. The module examines the promotional strategies employed by political parties in campaign cycles and during non-election periods, strategies sometimes described as news management and 'spin'. This module will also look at the history of modern propaganda campaigns from their early origins during the First and Second World Wars, through to more contemporary examples.

The Sixties: Culture and Counterculture

Described variously as an era of dissent, revolution and experiment, the 1960s offers a unique vantage point from which to explore a range of issues and topics pertinent to media and cultural studies. The art of the period brings into view a volatile world where distinctions between different media were becoming blurred (as in performance art, for instance) and where inherited ideas, hierarchies and values were contested, if not exploded. Notions such as the Establishment, the underground, celebrity, obscenity, mass culture, alongside those of personal identity (gender, race, class, sexuality) were all subject to radical questioning in an era where events, such as those of the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, challenged the received order of things. This module critically evaluates the idea of the 1960s, starting with its status as a fabled decade that is said to cast its shadow today. Historiographical and geographical questions structure the module.  When and, crucially, where were ‘the Sixties’? Was it primarily an Anglo-American phenomenon? Was it the 1950s until 1963? Did it end in the early 1970s, as some believe, with the Oz Trials?  These and other questions will help us to demythologise the period and begin investigating it anew.

European Avant-Garde Film
This module examines avant-garde cinema in early 20th century Europe. It will begin by exploring what is meant by the term ‘avant-garde’, and consider the development of experimental filmmaking in the context of artistic movements such as Futurism, Cubism, Dada, Surrealism and Constructivism. You will focus on developments in Germany, France and the Soviet Union during the 1920s and 1930s, and consider key trends from abstract animation to cinema pur. The module will highlight some key concerns of non-mainstream cinema such as narrative, abstraction, reflexivity, spectatorship, movement, time and space. You will also examine the engagement of experimental film with modernity, considering both aesthetic and political strategies of the European avant-gardes.
Black Art in a White Context: Display, Critique and The Other

You will explore the works and practices of Black artists that have been displayed or produced in Europe and America from the nineteenth century to the present day. This includes how methods of display, tactics of critique and attitudes towards the 'Other' have defined and influenced how Black art is viewed and produced in the Western world.

You will begin by considering nineteenth-century attitudes towards African objects, before exploring the influences of ethnography and African material culture on artists working in the early- to mid-twentieth century, such as the Surrealists. You will then consider artworks produced in the Harlem Renaissance by painters like Aaron Douglas and photographers like James Van Der Zee.

You will then think about how artists like Jeff Donaldson and Faith Ringgold sought to recover African history, culture, and forms of memory in the context of the civil rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s, and how their work responded to the political and social pressures of this period.

Examining the practices of more recent artists like Lorna Simpson, Glenn Ligon, and Kara Walker, you will then explore how artists have critically re-presented history’s narratives in ‘the present’ before focusing on the curatorial works of Fred Wilson.

Finally, you will consider the rise of contemporary African art within European and American art markets, and the related economic and political shifts that have occurred since the colonial era. 

Film and Television in Social and Cultural Context

During this year-long module you'll think about industries, audiences and surrounding debates from a social and cultural viewpoint. You'll learn about the way that social and cultural meaning is produced by film and television programmes and explore the social practices that surround the consumption of media, such as movie going and television viewing.

Transnational Media

You'll learn about the concepts of ‘transnational’ and ‘postnational’ media, taking into account the movement and interactions of people, finance, technology and ideas around the world. The module addresses in particular global media interactions emerging from tensions between forces of cultural homogenisation and heterogenisation. You'll develop a foundation of theoretical knowledge to be applied to case studies in global film, television and other screen and print media.

Digital Communication and Media

Digital communication and media are significantly transforming the ways our societies operate. This module critically explores key issues behind this transformation. The module tracks the emergence of digital communications and associated media cultures, engages with issues and practices that differentiate digital communication from older forms of media and their associated forms of communication, and draws on a range of theories and methodologies. The module investigates theoretical and practical foundations of digital communication and media and their relationship to contemporary culture. Students also study the cultural, political, economic, technical and regulatory contexts from which digital communication and media have emerged and in which they continue to operate. To link conceptual frameworks to real-life experiences and situations, the module provides opportunities to explore the interactive forms and practices that result from the use of digital communication and media through a range of both individual and group activities.

Art and Architecture in Nottingham

A vital introduction to the first-hand study of art and architecture.

Through a series of weekly site visits you’ll explore:

  • space - residential, commercial, industrial, recreational, ceremonial
  • function - art galleries, streets, churches, factories, monuments, municipal buildings, museums, private estates, public parks
  • identity - civic, familial, institutional, political, religious

We’ll examine how these change as a city develops and ask important questions about heritage and conservation.

The on-site study will be supported by archival material from Manuscripts and Special Collections. This might include architectural drawings, guide books, maps, newspapers, pamphlets, and photographs.

Memory, Media and Visual Culture

Media, TV, film and visual culture play a central role in forming our knowledge of the past. There is no memory without its representation in language or images.  Using a range of case studies, this module explores how different forms of remembrance add weight to what they represent. Who remembers what, when, where, why and to what purpose? Why do screen and other media retell certain stories over and over again, and how is such remembrance linked to the erasure of other pasts? How can we explain an abundance of remembered soldiers from the First World War, while millions of victims of the ‘Spanish Flu’ have been publicly forgotten? What is the relationship between national and transnational memories, when set against memories of enslavement and its visualisations? How do images of disaster respond to audience expectations,  and what do they tell us about the ethics of viewing? What needs to be considered when knowledge about atrocities is mediated in photographs taken by perpetrators?  These, and other questions, will guide our approach to an interdisciplinary field of media, film and visual studies. The module will encourage students to reflect critically on regimes of visibility and narration, and on the distinct ways that memories of certain events are communicated via different genres, institutions, and artefacts.

Los Angeles Art and Architecture 1945-1980
This module introduces a number of artistic and architectural practices that emerged in Southern California after 1945. Exploring their cultural and historical context, we will consider the role of Los Angeles in the development of post-1945 American art and architecture, including mid-century modernism, Pop Art, Conceptual Art and Light & Space Art. Central to this module is the question of whether all art made in Los Angeles can be classified as “Los Angeles Art” – that is, the extent to which the art and architecture of the region necessarily reflected the geographical location, climate, and expansive urban layout of Los Angeles. To this end, we will consider the critical reception of art of this period, investigating, amongst other critical constructs, the notions of centre and periphery, regionalism and the cultural construction of the American west that shaped much writing on California during the period.
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

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

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.

French

The final year will allow you to consolidate the command of the French language obtained during your year abroad, as well as deepening your understanding of French literature, cinema and politics. Former beginners and post-A level students take the same French language classes, and graduate at the same level in French.

International Media and Communication Studies

Modules in international media and communications studies will allow you to explore the political issues arising from, among other things, cultural policy and media coverage of conflict. You will also undertake a dissertation project under the close supervision of a member of staff with knowledge of your chosen area.

You will take 120 credits of modules split as follows:

  • 40 credits core dissertation module
  • 20 credits core language module
  • 60 credits of optional international media and communications and French modules

You must pass year four which is weighted at two thirds towards your final degree classification.

Core modules

French 3

This module develops the following language skills:

  • Oral and written skills
  • The written skills to include translation into and out of French
  • Creative writing in different registers
  • Linguistic commentary
  • Production of summaries

Attention is also applied to perfecting knowledge of French grammar and to increasing knowledge of French vocabulary.

Dissertation in French Studies
This year-long module is based on guided independent study of a chosen topic in the field of French and Francophone Studies for which supervision can be offered by the Department. Topics typically relate to a module taken in the second year, or to a module to be taken in the final year, and it is expected that students have some familiarity with the chosen field.

Dissertation topics in past years have included:
  • The feminist and humanist aspects of Christine de Pizan's work.
  • How Albert Memmi's philosophy of colonised identity is prefigured in his literary work.
  • The representation of women in three novels by Dany Laferrière.
  • The representation of women in the films of Jean-Luc Godard.
  • The definition of malaise in the context of contemporary socio-economic and political issues in France.
  • Presidential Power in the Fifth Republic.
  • The urban landscape in surrealism.
  • Translating humour from English to French.
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.

Semester 1 is devoted to research, reading and planning, leading to the submission of a dissertation abstract, chapter outline and preliminary bibliography, as well as the presentation of posters. In the second semester, students write up and complete the dissertation under the continued guidance of the supervisor.

Optional modules

Group 1

You will take two modules in this group.

Communicating and Teaching Languages for Undergraduate Ambassadors

In this module students learn to devise and develop projects and teaching methods appropriate to engage the age and ability group they are working with. The module enables students to gain confidence in communicating their subject, develop strong organisational and interpersonal skills, and to understand how to address the needs of individuals.

La République Gaullienne: 1958 to 1969

This module explores how the Fifth Republic came into being and examines the problems of bedding in a regime that revolutionised French political culture without jettisoning the key features of the 'modèle républicain'.

We follow a chronological narrative of French politics between 1958 and 1969, and will also examine themes such as the ‘écriture de la constitution’, the clash of political visions and bipolarisation and its tensions. We conclude with de Gaulle's apparent act of 'political suicide' in 1969.

Contemporary Representations of Travel

This module will study the different ways travel has been used and represented in contemporary French and Francophone texts, arts and films. From tourism to exploration, from exile to migration, from pilgrimage to business travel, we will question the tacit ideologies found in contemporary travel discourses. We will study more specifically how contemporary discourses of travel have been, or not, adapting themselves to a post-colonial awareness and how it has enabled travellers to represent travel differently. 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 and photography).

French Documentary Cinema

This module aims to introduce you to key aspects of French documentary cinema by considering a range of documentary cinematic techniques, and by looking at the ways in which documentary form has developed over time. The module examines the work of a range of filmmakers and explores the theoretical, socio-cultural and ethical questions raised by documentary cinema.

You will develop analytical tools that can be used to understand the different ways in which documentaries attempt to engage audiences and deal in sophisticated and often challenging ways with a range of issues.

The Everyday in Contemporary Literature and Thought

This 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.

People and Propaganda: Representing the French Revolution

This module is designed to introduce you to the study of various forms of artistic work in relation to the political and social background of the French Revolutionary decade (1789 - 1799). A variety of works will be studied (theatre, opera, song, iconography, painting) in order to consider the reflection of contemporary events, the notion of politically engaged arts, and questions of cultural administration (theatrical repertory, representation, censorship and privilege).

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.

Language Contact and French

This module looks at various issues relating to the field of language contact, including bilingualism, multilingualism and diglossia.

The module also explores the outcomes of such language contact:

  • linguistic borrowing
  • code-switching
  • language maintenance
  • language shift and language death
  • the emergence of pidgins and creoles
  • the development of language policy and planning
  • the shaping of attitudes towards language

These topics will be explored by using examples from several different languages, and by looking at the French language in contact with other languages in France and further afield.

Citizenship, Ethnicity and National Identity in Post-War France

You'll 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 which engage with questions of citizenship, identity and ethnicity.

Individual and Society

On this module we will look at the changing relationship between individuals and society in a French context. Key sociological concepts relating to the social construction of the individual are explored in order to analyse fiction and non-fiction texts that deal with work and social organisation in contemporary France.

The theoretical starting point of the module is Michel Foucault’s analysis of the emergence of ‘disciplinary’ societies.

Key fictional works include Laurent Cantet’s film L’emploi du temps and Thierry Beinstingel’s novel Retour aux mots sauvages.

Group 2

You will take one module from this group.

Self, Sign and Society

This module equips students you with the theoretical tools needed to explore how social identity is both asserted and challenged through the deployment of signs broadly conceived. 'Sign' is understood here primarily with reference to Saussurean linguistics, and the impact of the structuralist and then poststructuralist movements on disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, semiotics, postcolonial theory, cultural studies and visual culture.

  • How does our accent function as a sign of our class origins or cultural sympathies?
  • Does skin colour always function as a social sign?
  • How do the clothes we wear align us with particular lifestyles and ideological positions and how is this transgressed?
  • How has the phenomenon of self-branding colonised our everyday lives?
  • What does our Facebook profile say about how we would like to be read by the wider world? Does the logic of the sign itself exceed what we intend to do with it?
  • How do the signs that construct a social 'self' circulate in the context of new media?
  • Are there psychological costs associated with living in this society of the sign?

This module will address these and other related questions by introducing students to the approaches of thinkers such as Freud and Lacan, Saussure and Greimas, Barthes and Baudrillard, Levi-Strauss and Geertz, Derrida and Bhabha, and Mirzoeff and Mitchell among others.

Mediating Disaster

This module critically evaluates the roles that media play in scenarios of disaster. From war and famine to train crashes and natural disasters, the media play a central role in our understanding of, and imaginative engagement with, disaster. From the disaster movie to documentary photography and news coverage, a variety of media forms regularly link us to the real and imaginary landscapes of disaster, war, conflict and emergency, particularly with the technological expansion of the means of image-making in the 21st century. The module investigates the aesthetics and ethics of representation where disaster is concerned, introducing students to research in fields concerned with the mediatisation of disaster, conflict and emergency.

Global Cinema

This module investigates critical concepts and theoretical work on cinema in global context, introducing students to critical and theoretical models surrounding global production, film texts, distribution and reception. Addressing ways films have been made and seen worldwide, the module locates aspects of global cinema within historical contexts of production and consumption. The module also seeks to untangle such overlapping categories as global cinema, transnational cinema and world cinema. Looking at a range of historical and contemporary cases, students will interrogate a body of films that both serve and challenge the interests of dominant institutions in their producing cultures.

Working in the Cultural Industries

The cultural and creative industries are at the forefront of government strategies across the world for developing post-industrial economies, are seen as exciting places to work, and regularly feature at the top of graduate employment destinations.  But what are these industries, and what is it like to work in them? How do graduates gain entry to these competitive, highly skilled jobs? What is ‘creativity’ and why is it so important to modern economies? And what does the future hold for cultural and creative sectors?

This module combines traditional academic scholarship on the structure, organisation and working patterns in the creative and media industries with practical exercises designed to help identify and evaluate your own skills and interests, to help you to find a rewarding and exciting career when you leave university.  We will explore issues in the history and theory of contemporary work including key concepts such as creativity, the knowledge economy, precarious labour, and important issues such as internship culture, exploitation and inequality.  Students in the module also conduct independent research on areas of creative and media work of their choosing.

Photographing America

This module examines the development of photography in America from roughly 1945 onwards. The module breaks the period down into themes and considers:

1. the transformation of ‘documentary’ photograph;

2. the emergence and importance of colour photography;

3. experimental, conceptual and post-conceptual photography;

4. issues of serialism and seriality;

5. landscape photography;

6. the photobook

7. analogue/digital

The module will draw on the work of a diverse range of photographers, including Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Ed Ruscha, Lewis Baltz, Robert Adams, Robert Heinecken, Stephen Shore, Todd Hido, William Eggleston and Doug Rickard.

Teaching Film and Media Studies for Undergraduate Ambassadors

This module is part of the nationwide Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme, which works with universities to provide academic modules that enable students to go into local schools to act as inspiring role models. You will split your time between the university-based seminar and your allocated school, where you will be placed in an appropriate department as a teaching assistant. You will design and deliver a teaching project aimed at improving pupil understanding of selected aspects of media studies. You will be supported by the module convenor, the education specialist on campus, and the school's contact teacher. The module typically includes fortnightly seminars and seven half-days spent in school. Placements are in secondary schools and Sixth Form or FE colleges.

Film and Television Genres

You'll be introduced to the key concepts and theoretical work on specific film genres. Each year, the module investigates a particular genre or cycle such as action cinema, television drama, low-budget film productions and TV movies, and more. Combined with what you have learnt on previous modules, you will look at genre in the context of production and consumption, spending around five hours a week in workshops and seminars.

Screen Encounters: Audiences and Engagement

Through four hours a week studying in workshops and seminars, you'll gain an in-depth understanding of film and television audiences and why they watch media, taking into account the social, political and historical factors that shape audience experiences. The module also reconceptualises media users by exploring interactive media experiences such as videogames and smartphone apps. You'll also explore the role of marketing systems used to engage specific audiences and how this knowledge is applied in industry market research.

Auditory Cultures: Sound, Listening and Everyday Life in the Modern World

This module introduces students to the cultural and social role of sound and listening in everyday life. Scholars have argued that, since the Enlightenment, modern societies have privileged sight over the other senses in their desire to know and control the world. But what of hearing? Until recently, the role of sound in everyday life was a neglected field of study. Yet Jonathan Sterne argues that the emergence of new sound media technologies in the nineteenth century - from the stethoscope to the phonograph - amounted to an 'ensoniment' in modern culture in which listening took centre stage.

Beginning with an examination of the relationship between visual and auditory culture in everyday life, this module introduces a variety of cultural contexts in which sound played an important role, including:

  • how people interact with the sounds of their cities
  • how new sound technologies allowed people to intervene in everyday experience
  • why some sounds (such as music) have been valued over others (such as noise)
  • the role of sound in making and breaking communities
  • the role of sounds in conflict and warfare
  • the importance of sound in film and television from the silent era onwards.

We use a variety of sound sources, such as music and archival sound recordings, in order to understand the significance of sound in everyday life from the late eighteenth century to the present.

Gender, Sexuality and Media

This module examines the politics of gender and sexuality in media and popular culture. It offers advanced inquiry into the intersectional fields of feminism, queer theory, and media and cultural studies. This module asks the key questions: how gender and sexuality are represented in media and popular culture, how media and cultural industries structure gender and sexual inequalities, how identities and practices of media audiences and users are gendered and sexualised, and what are creative and radical ways of resistances to gender and sexual norms?

Public Cultures: Protest, Participation and Power

This module will adopt an interdisciplinary approach to exploring the relationship between public space, politics and technology. Drawing on research in a range of fields including: critical theory, cultural studies, cultural geography, digital studies, urban sociology and politics, it will give students an empirically focused account of debates the changing nature and uses of public space, with an emphasis on contemporary developments in urban environments. A range of protest movements will provide case-study material and offer a central focus for both theoretical and practical explorations of the role of new technologies in controlling space, resisting control and enabling new forms of civic participation.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

£19,000*
Per year
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

Fees and funding

There are no extra compulsory fees to be paid beyond your standard tuition fees. You'll be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to buy your own copies of core texts. The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offers a year-round price match against any of the main retailers (i.e. Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith). They also offer second-hand books, as students from previous years sell their copies back to the bookshop.

For voluntary placements (such as work experience or teaching in schools) you will need to pay your own travel and subsistence.

Year Abroad

Reduced fees (subject to change)

As a Year Abroad student, you will pay reduced fees, currently set at:

  • Home/EU students: £1,385
  • International: 50% of the relevant international fee

Costs incurred during the year abroad

These vary from country to country, but always include:

  • travel
  • accommodation
  • subsistence
  • insurance

Depending on the country visited you may also have to pay for:

  • visa
  • vaccinations
  • self-funded language courses
  • additional administration fees and study supplies in the host country or organisation

There are a number of sources of funding:

  • Student Finance Loan
  • Means-tested travel grant
  • University of Nottingham bursaries and scholarships

Your access to funding depends on:

  • the course you are taking
  • your residency status
  • where you live in term time
  • your household income

You may be able to work or teach during your year abroad. This will be dependent on your course and country-specific regulations. Often students receive a small salary or stipend for these work placements. Working or teaching is not permitted in all countries.

For more information please contact our Year Abroad Officers.

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 £1,000 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

We offer a range of Undergraduate Excellence Awards for high-achieving international and EU scholars from countries around the world, who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers. This includes our European Union Undergraduate Excellence Award for EU students and our UK International Undergraduate Excellence Award for international students based in the UK.

These scholarships cover a contribution towards tuition fees in the first year of your course. Candidates must apply for an undergraduate degree course and receive an offer before applying for scholarships. Check the links above for full scholarship details, application deadlines and how to apply.

Careers

You will have developed independence of mind and will be inclined to question the modern world in more detail. Your transferable skills will include the ability to critically analyse the media, communicate effectively, develop and sustain a reasoned argument, and produce independent research. The language skills you will have gained, particularly if you have spent a year abroad, will recommend you to employers.

Find out more about skills gained and career destinations of French and International Media and Communications Studies students.

Average starting salary and career progression

76.7% of undergraduates from the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £22,668*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

 

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 consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

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Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2017-18

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.