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Course overview

This course, combining Philosophy with degree-level study in French language and culture, is open to beginners in French as well as post-A level students. If you are a beginners' French student, you will follow an intensive language course designed to take you to degree level within four years. If you are a post-A level student you will 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 philosophy.

For the philosophy part of the degree you will take core foundational modules dealing with philosophical issues and optional modules in areas that interest you.

More information 

Why choose this course?

  • Develop core knowledge of philosophy through foundational modules and study specific philosophical modules within your language context 
  • Benefit from the skills development and assessment methods of studying two subjects
  • Immerse yourself in the life-changing opportunities of a year abroad, supported by our specialist team
  • Enjoy and belong to the vibrant communities of two departments

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 - 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.

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

This course contains a period of study or work abroad between the third 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.

This course includes one or more pieces of formative assessment.

Assessment methods

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

Contact time and study hours

As well as scheduled teaching you’ll carry out extensive independent reading and research. A typical 20 credit module involves between three and four hours of lectures and seminars per week. You would ideally spend 8-10 hours doing preparation work.

Your lecturers will usually be academic staff. Some of your classes may be run by temporary teaching staff who are also experts in their field.

Class sizes vary depending on topic and type. A weekly lecture on a core module may have 50-60 students attending while a specialised seminar may only contain 10 students.

You will have a personal tutor from the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures as well as a Joint Honours advisor from the Department of History.

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:

Placements

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

You will take 120 credits of modules as follows:

French

  • If you are taking French post-A level you will take 40 credits of compulsory core modules. You will also choose further 20 credits of optional modules focusing on literature, French history or contemporary France
  • If you are starting French at beginners' level, you will take 60 credits of core modules in the target language to take you from beginners' to advanced level. 

Philosophy

You will take 60 credits of philosophy modules. These modules introduce you to philosophical study at university level, and guide you through principles of good reasoning, argumentation, and writing.

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

Post-A level French route

Core 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 and Francophone Studies

This module, which is compulsory for all post-A level students of French, provides an introduction to a broad range of topics and study skills relevant to the field of 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 texts, 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 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.

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: 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.

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.

Beginners' French route

Core modules

French 1: Beginners

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

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.

Philosophy core modules

Reasoning, Argument, and Logic

This module introduces a series of key skills relevant to the aims and methods of philosophical inquiry. It is designed to:

  • help you understand the nature and structure of arguments
  • acquire critical tools for assessing the arguments of others
  • improve your ability to present your own reasoning in a clear and rigorous manner, particularly in essays
  • supply the basic minimum knowledge of logic and its technical vocabulary which every philosophy student requires
Mind, Knowledge, and Ethics

This module covers issues in ethics, epistemology, and the philosophy of mind. Topics might include the mind body problem, the nature of persons, perception, knowledge, free will, the nature of ethics, normative theories, the problem of moral motivation, and the nature of ethical judgements.

Philosophy optional modules

Choose one module from this group.

Metaphysics, Science, and Language

The module will cover topics from each of Metaphysics, Epistemology and the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of language. Indicative questions include:

  • metaphysics – why is there something rather than nothing? Does it make sense to talk of a telos, or purpose, to the universe? Is the universe deterministic, or is there chance
  • philosophy of science – is science the guide to all of reality? Is there a scientific method
  • philosophy of language – what is truth? Is truth relative? Does language create reality?
Philosophy of Religions

This module will explore the thought about religion of a few key philosophical thinkers chosen from more than one tradition. Representative thinkers might include, but are not limited to, atheists such as Feuerbach and Nietzsche, Buddhists such as Śāntideva and Dōgen, Christians such as Augustine, Pascal and Weil, Hindus such as the writers of the Upanisads and Shankara, Jews such as Spinoza and Buber, Muslims such as Mulla Sadra and Nasr, and Taoists such as Zhuangzi; in some years, more contemporary thinkers might be chosen.

The texts will be used to raise issues of wider philosophical significance, such as the variety of conceptions of ultimate reality; goals for the spiritual life; the nature of religious experience; the relations of religion and morality; explanations of suffering and evil; human nature and continuing existence after death; and problems of religious diversity. While such content may vary from year to year, each year will focus on a few key thinkers and themes.

Philosophy and the Contemporary World

This module will provide you with the resources necessary to critically understand and constructively engage with a variety of topical practical, social, and political issues and phenomena. These include a range of psychological phenomena of relevance to both university environments and social life, and large-scale political and cultural developments that invite moral and intellectual concern.

An overt aim of the module is to provide you with the intellectual skills necessary to undertake your duties as responsible citizens in a democratic society within a multicultural and multiracial world. 

History of Philosophy

Through considering some of the greatest thinkers who have ever lived, students on this module will become familiar with some of the main philosophical ideas which have shaped philosophy. You will understand how and why these ideas arose and developed across the history of philosophy in response to wider contexts and movements. The historical scope runs from the ancient to the modern period.

Typical figures might include: Plato, Aristotle, Ibn-Tufayl, Ibn-Rushd, Montaigne, Locke, Wollstonecraft, Marx, Gandhi, Fanon, Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Murdoch. Typical topics might include: ancient Greek conceptions of the good life, reason and tradition in classical Islamic philosophy, medieval philosophy, existentialism, and Afro-Caribbean philosophy.

Gender, Justice, and Society

Proposed topics include:

  • What is justice?
  • What is gender justice?
  • What would a just organisation of labour and resources look like?
  • How does the gendered distribution of labour and resources affect this?
  • What is autonomy?
  • How does gender affect the way we understand autonomy?
  • What is culture, and why does it matter?
  • How should the state respond to cultural differences?
  • What should feminists say about this?
  • Is violence justified?
  • How can we make sense of gender-based violence?
  • Should there be a distinction between the public and the private?
  • Does it make sense to think of our personal lives as ‘political’?
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.

You will take 120 credits as follows:

French

You will take 60 credits of French modules.

  • 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

Philosophy

In philosophy, modules typically cover social issues, the mind, ethics, freedom, Asian philosophy, the nature of reality, meaning, and understanding science.

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

Post A-level French route

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

Choose two of these modules.

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
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.

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.

Art and Contemporary Visual Culture in France

The course 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.

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.

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.

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. 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.

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)
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); and 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. 

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.

Beginners' French route

Core modules

French 2 (Beginners)

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

This module, which is compulsory for all post-A level students of French, provides an introduction to a broad range of topics and study skills relevant to the field of 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 texts, 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

Choose one of these modules.

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); and 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.

Philsosophy modules

Choose three modules from this group.

Social Philosophy

This module addresses issues in social metaphysics and social epistemology. We will examine the metaphysics of social kinds and explore different accounts of social kinds that have been offered. We will also examine how the fact that we are situated in a social world can affect what we can or cannot know or understand about ourselves, each other, and the social world itself. We will also address ethical and/or political issues that arise once we take account of social metaphysics and social epistemology.

In particular, we might consider whether there are special kinds of injustices that arise due to our social reality. What is epistemic injustice and how does it relate to social injustice? How do certain privileged groups structure the social world that create and maintain privilege and patterns of ignorance that perpetuate that privilege? What are some obligations that we have given metaphysical and epistemological concerns we have explored? 

The Nature of Meaning

The module begins with an exploration of various theories of naming, paying particular attention to the works of Frege, Russell (including the theory of descriptions), and Kripke. We then turn our attention to various puzzles concerning the nature of meaning, including the distinction between analytic and synthetic sentences.

In the final part of the module, we move on to a discussion of some of the mainstream theories of meaning; particularly, a truth-conditional semantics, and we explore how this might be developed to take into account indexical terms such as 'I', 'now', and 'here'. Some of the skills acquired in Elementary Logic will be applied in this module.

Freedom and Obligation

Are you obliged to obey the law even when you disagree with it? What features must a state have in order to be legitimate? In this module we will approach these classic questions of political philosophy by examining the work of a number of important past political philosophers, such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (this list is suggestive, and the line up each year may vary).

The emphasis of the module is partly exegetical and partly evaluative. That is, we will seek both to understand why the thinkers' works have been open to different interpretations, and to evaluate their arguments under these different interpretations.

Mind and Consciousness

This module aims to introduce you to some of the major issues within contemporary philosophy of mind. We will examine four topics and the interactions between them:

  • Intentionality
  • Consciousness
  • Mental Causation
  • The Status of Physicalism
Knowledge and Justification

This module explores contemporary treatments of issues pertaining to knowledge and the justification of belief. It addresses issues such as the following:

  • the structure of justification and its relation to one's mental states and evidence (foundationalism vs. coherentism; internalism vs.externalism; evidentialism)
  • the justification of induction; the notion of a priori justification
  • the relation between your evidence and what you know
  • the natures of perceptual experience and perceptual knowledge
  • safety and contextualist theories of knowledge
  • Moore's response to skepticism
  • testimonial knowledge, "virtue" epistemology and its relation to "reliabilist" epistemology
Normative Ethics

We all have opinions about moral matters. But for most of us, our moral opinions are not very well-organised. Indeed, upon reflection we may discover that some of our beliefs about morality are inconsistent. One of the main projects of moral theorising over the past few hundred years has been the attempt to systematically denominate right and wrong actions.

In this module you will examine some of these, including consequentialism, deontology and virtue ethics. 

Being, Becoming and Reality

We look at some fundamental metaphysical questions about the cosmos. A selection of the following topics will be studied:

  • Objects: concrete vs. abstract; existence and nothingness
  • Sets and mereology
  • Properties, Property bearers, Relations
  • States of affairs and non-mereological composition
  • Modality (including counterfactuals) and possible worlds
  • Time, persistence, change, and the non-present
Philosophy of Art

This module aims to promote a deeper understanding of philosophical issues pertaining to art. By the end of the module, you should be able to engage critically with positions and arguments in a wide range of areas within the philosophy of art.

These include debates such as those concerning the nature of art, the relationship between art and ethics, and the relationship between art and emotion.

Intermediate Logic

This module takes formal logic beyond the basics (as covered in first year Reasoning, Argument, and Logic). We’ll cover Propositional Logic, First-Order Logic, and Modal Logic (going into more detail where these were covered in first year).

We’ll learn about existence, identity, possibility, and necessity; and we’ll learn formal techniques for testing the validity of arguments. We’ll apply these logical techniques to help us make sense of challenging concepts and arguments in metaphysics and philosophy of language.

Topics in Asian Philosophy

This module explores some of the major figures, texts, and schools of the philosophical traditions of India, China, and Japan. The Asian traditions address familiar philosophical themes – in ethics, epistemology, and aesthetics - but often approach them in ways that may seem unfamiliar. Studying them can challenge our culturally inherited presuppositions in instructive ways, as well as illuminating the history and current state of those cultures – an important thing in an age when many Westerners are ‘looking East’.

Topics may include:

  • Confucianism, Mohism, Daoism, and Hinduism
  • the Analects, Bhagavad Gita, and Zhuangzi
  • the relationship between morality and religion
  • etiquette, ethics and aesthetics
  • the nature of ultimate reality and the good life
  • the relation of Asian philosophies to the Western tradition
Continental Philosophy

This module will introduce the European tradition of philosophical thinking prevalent over the past two centuries. It will begin with an introduction to the influence of Kant and Hegel and recurrent characteristics of European thought, before turning to focus on representative texts by key thinkers.

Texts for more in depth study might include, for example: Ludwig Feuerbach’s Principles of the Philosophy of the Future, Henri Bergson’s Creative Evolution, Friedrich Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols, Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time, Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition, and Luce Irigaray’s Speculum of the Other Woman.

Emphasis will be placed on the different images of thought at work in European philosophical texts, as well as on how differing approaches to metaphysics, ethics and politics are grounded in newly-created perspectives.

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:

You will take 120 credits as follows:

You will write a dissertation which can be in either Philosophy or French. You may combine both subjects in one dissertation.

French

You will take 60 credits in French. French, 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.

Philosophy

You will take 60 credits in Philosophy. Final year modules reflect the research expertise of members of staff in the department, including in criminal law, ethics, logic, metaphysics, Buddhist philosophy and advanced topics in the philosophies of art, mind, science, and social philosophy.

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

French modules

Core module

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.

Optional modules

You'll take one or two modules from this group.

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.
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.

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 photography)

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.

The Everyday in Contemporary Literature and Thought

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.

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.

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.

People and Propaganda: Representing the French Revolution

The 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).

La République Gaullienne: 1958 to 1969

The 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.

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.

Philosophy modules

You'll take three modules from this group.

Dissertation in Philosophy

The aim of this module is to provide you with an opportunity to write an 8,000-word dissertation on a philosophical topic, the precise subject of which is by agreement with the supervisor. At the completion of the module, you will have had an opportunity to work independently, though with the advice of a supervisor.

Buddhist Philosophy

The module will focus on a critical examination of core aspects of Buddhist thinking, with emphasis on some of its basic psychological, spiritual, and metaphysical conceptions.

These include, in particular: the origin and nature of suffering, the no-self thesis, enlightenment, consciousness, experiential knowing, and the doctrine of Emptiness (the lack of inherent nature in all things and impermanence).

Language, Metaphysics, and Metametaphysics

Typically, this module introduces you to some advanced topics in contemporary analytic metaphysics. The module focuses on important topics, which have received recent attention. The topics covered will include:

  • metaphysical nihilism (why there is something rather than nothing, and the subtraction argument)
  • causation (the counterfactual theory and other accounts)
  • the metaphysics of grounding (and concerns with such a notion)
  • the metaphysics of absolute and relational space and time, and vagueness and indeterminacy

The module presupposes a certain basic familiarity with general issues in metaphysics and the philosophy of language, but is designed to serve as an advanced introduction to new topics that is completely accessible to the uninitiated.

Philosophy of Criminal Law

There is perhaps no more vivid example of the exercise of state power over individuals than through the institution of criminal law. The criminal law raises a host of important philosophical questions, such as these:

  • Is there a general obligation to obey the law? If so, what is the basis for this obligation?
  • What sorts of acts should be criminalised, and why?
  • What does it mean for someone to be responsible for a crime, or for the state to hold someone responsible?
  • What is the proper role for the presumption of innocence: Who must presume whom to be innocent of what? Is criminal punishment justified? If so, why?
  • Is the state ever justified in imposing legal restrictions on offenders even after they have completed their punishment?
  • How should the criminal law function in the international context?

Readings will include seminal works by historical figures such as Plato, Bentham, and Kant, as well as prominent work by more contemporary philosophers such as Hart, Hampton, Duff, and others. All reading assignments for this module are accessible to students with no training in criminal law.

Philosophy of Sex

This module considers the conceptual, moral, political, and metaphysical issues raised by sexual activity. It also considers philosophical questions arising from the experience of groups considered sexual and gender minorities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people.

Topics include:

  • the nature of sexual desire
  • sexual consent
  • sexual objectification
  • prostitution
  • pornography
  • sexual orientation
  • trans and intersex experiences

You will be encouraged to explore the relationships between these topics and to consider their application to debates and practices outside of philosophy.

Philosophy of Recreation

We expect recompense when we work but appear to do recreational activities just for their own sake.

You'll use philosophical tools to examine the meaning and value of such recreational activities, exploring questions such as:

  • Is recreational sex and drug consumption merely about pleasurable sensations?
  • Why do we put such great effort into achieving seemingly arbitrary goals in sport?
  • Does it make sense for fans to feel elated if they played no part in a team’s success?
  • Is there something special about being in a zone of effortless attention whilst playing an instrument?
  • Could risking death seeking sensations of the sublime by climbing a mountain be better than safely siting on your sofa watching trash tv?
Communicating Philosophy

This module will teach you how to communicate philosophy through a variety of different mediums, assessing them in each. We will look at how philosophy can be communicated through legal documentation, press releases, handouts, lesson plans, webpages, funding bids and posters (with optional presentations).

A number of the sessions will be delivered by professionals from outside the University, with support from the module convener. Seminars will be used to develop each of the items for assessment. You will be invited to draw upon your prior philosophical learning to generate your assessments, except in the case of handout where you will be set a specific philosophical task and asked to complete some (very basic) independent research.

Marx

You will be introduced to the thought of Karl Marx thematically via texts selected from the Marx canon. Marxian themes considered will include:

  • Alienation
  • The Materialist Conception of History
  • Ideology
  • The Labour Theory of Value

Gaining an overview of Marx's attempt to synthesise German philosophy, French political theory, and British economics will be an important objective for the course.

Advanced Logic

This module investigates different kinds of contemporary logic, as well as their uses in philosophy. We will investigate the syntax and semantics of various logics, including first order logic, modal logics, and three-valued logics, as well as ways to apply formal techniques from these logics to philosophical topics such as possibility and necessity, vagueness, and the Liar paradox.

We’ll cover ways to reason and construct proofs using the logics we study, and also ways to reason about them. We’ll look at proofs regarding the limits of formal logic, including proofs of soundness, completeness, and decidability.

Free Will and Action

This module involves the study of a set of related issues concerning the nature and explanation of action and the requirements for free action and free will. Questions to be discussed are likely to include all or most of the following:

  • What would it take for an action to be free (or an exercise of ‘free will’) in a sense that would make it an action for which we are morally responsible?
  • Is there is any way in which our actions could be free in the relevant sense, whether or not determinism is true?
  • How do actions differ from bodily movements that are not actions?
  • Actions are typically (perhaps always) done for reasons, but what exactly is the relation between the reasons and the actions?
  • Do the reasons cause the corresponding actions – and if they do, can this be the same kind of causation as is involved in ordinary ‘mechanistic’ causal explanation?
  • And what about the fact that at least some of our actions seem to have purely physical causes?
  • If they do, doesn’t this make any ‘mental causes’ of those actions redundant?
  • What is the connection between intentional or voluntary action and rational action?
  • In particular, it seems that we sometimes intentionally and voluntarily do things that we ourselves regard as irrational – but how is such ‘weakness of will’ possible?
Environmental Ethics

Environmental ethics addresses the issue of how human beings should interact with the non-human natural world. This module will cover a range of topics from contemporary philosophical literature on environmental ethics.

Representative topics include:

  • the scope of moral concern (ie whether and how our moral theory should concern itself with animals, plants, rocks, ecosystems)
  • whether nature is intrinsically valuable, or whether it possesses value only by being valuable to us
  • whether it is reasonable to search for just one overarching ‘environmental ethic’ (ie the debate between monism and pluralism in ethics)
  • the metaphysics, ethics and politics of the ‘deep ecology’ movement; whether there is any connection between the twin oppressions of women and nature (as ecofeminists claim)
  • the ethics of zoos
  • the nature of sustainability
  • ethical issues relating to climate change
  • the ethics of restoring nature after it has been damaged by human development
  • whether there are any distinct environmental virtues
Taking Utilitarianism Seriously

This module is an extended discussion of utilitarian approaches to moral and political philosophy, including utilitarian accounts of:

  • the nature of wellbeing
  • reasons and rightness
  • rights and justice
  • democracy
  • individual decision-making
  • praise and blame
Philosophy and Mortality

The module explores philosophical issues related to human mortality – illness, ageing, death and dying, and other dimensions of our embodied vulnerability. Typical topics might include:

  • the phenomenology of chronic somatic illness
  • psychiatry and mental health
  • the oppression of ill persons
  • the nature and practice of pathography (narrative accounts of the lived experience of illness)
  • the social experiences of ill persons
  • the moral and spiritual significance of illness and ageing
  • anti-natalism
  • the experience of dying
  • empathy, grief, and mourning
  • death and the meaning of life
  • the significance of human mortality to wider philosophical issues and concerns

By the end of the module, you should be able to identify and articulate the ethical and existential significance of various experiences of human mortality; to employ a range of different methods and approaches to understanding those experiences; and to think sensitively and humanely about human experiences of ageing, illness, and dying.

Advanced Topics in Aesthetics

This module is a discussion of some philosophical problems pertaining to art. Topics could include definitions of art, the objectivity versus the subjectivity of aesthetic evaluations, emotional response to art, the ontological status of artworks, and Walton's theory of make-believe.

This module aims to promote a deeper understanding of philosophical issues pertaining to art. By the end of the module, you should be able to discuss and evaluate different views of the expressive power of art, to explain certain current views on the status of aesthetic evaluations, and to present the main contemporary viewpoints pertaining to the nature of artworks.

Subjectivism and Relativism in Ethics

One often hears the opinion that ethics is subjective. But what does this mean, exactly?

And one often hears the view that ethics is relative. But relative to what?

And what is ‘ethics’ anyway?

And if ethics is subjective, or relative, what does that mean for ethics as a discipline? Does it mean, for example, that our ethical pronouncements can never be incorrect, never be challenged, or never disagreed with?

This module addresses these and other questions about the foundations of ethics, and gives students the material to develop their own views of this peculiarly human phenomenon.

Knowledge, Ignorance and Democracy

Politics and truth have always had a complicated relationship. Lies, bullshit, spin, and propaganda are nothing new. But we have allegedly entered the era of 'post-truth' politics in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the facts. Moreover, polarization is on the rise in many democracies and political disagreements have spread to disputes about obvious matters of fact.

In this module, we will attempt to answer questions such as:

  • Should the existence of widespread disagreement in politics make us less confident in our own views?
  • Are voters morally or epistemically obligated to vote responsibly?
  • Is it rational for citizens to base their political views on group identity rather than reasoned arguments?
  • Should we have beliefs about complex policy questions about which we are not experts?
  • Is democracy the best form of government for getting at the truth?
Philosophy of Education

Education plays a fundamental part of all our lives. It shapes who we are, our value systems, our political and religious outlooks etc. This means it changes how society looks, how it operates, and what we think society ought to be like. Education is then of the most profound importance.

As philosophers we are uniquely placed to think long and hard about education: what its role is, what it role should be, who gets to decide what is taught etc. Rising to this challenge this module creates the space, and provides the tools, for you to do just this.

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.

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’ll have the abilities to argue persuasively, clearly articulate your ideas, criticise carefully, and think well, then you are in good stead for many different careers. Moreover, you’ll be have a strong command of the French language and be able to use it comfortably in a wide range of social and professional contexts, while your year abroad will have raised your cultural and inter-cultural awareness.

Find out more about skills gained and career destinations of French and Philosophy 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.

 

75.1% of undergraduates from the School of Humanities secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £22,180*

*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.