French Studies BA


Fact file - 2019 entry

BA Hons French Studies
UCAS code
4 years full-time/year 3 out (available part-time)
A level offer
ABB (or BCC via a foundation year)
Required subjects
B in French at A level 
IB score
32; 5 in French at Higher Level or 6 at Standard Level (B Programme) 
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places


This course allows you to choose from a wide range of optional modules covering French literature, linguistics, history, politics, culture and film alongside core language modules.
Read full overview

Alongside core language modules in years one, two and four of the course, you can choose from a wide range of optional modules covering French literature, linguistics, history, politics, culture and film. More specialised language modules are available in year four. In years one and two, you also take modules from outside French and Francophone studies in your own areas of interest.

Year one 

You will receive a firm grounding in the structures of French through the core language module and pursue introductory studies in reading French texts, contemporary France, French history and linguistics.

Year two

Your language studies will be consolidated and developed to prepare you for the year abroad. You will study a choice of modules aimed at developing your knowledge in some or all of the fields mentioned in the course description above.

Year three

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

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

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

Year four

You will perfect your command of the French language and its use in increasingly sophisticated contexts and study optional modules drawn from a list covering a wide range of topics in the fields mentioned in the course description. You also have the option to do a dissertation.


Entry requirements

A levels: ABB, including B in French at A level

This course may also be accessed via a foundation year for which the entry requirements are BCC at A level, find out more here.

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

Alternative qualifications

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

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

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

For more information, please see the alternative qualifications page.

Flexible admissions policy

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


The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication 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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical year one modules


Introduction to French and Francophone Studies

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

French 1

You’ll develop your understanding of the French language including grammar, written expression, aural and oral skills. 3 hours per week will be spent in lectures, workshops, and oral classes with a native speaker studying for this module. 



France: History and Identity

The module aims to introduce students to the course of French history since the late Middle Ages through the study of a series of historical figures, their times and lives, how their 'stories' are written and woven into the fabric of 'le roman de la nation' (the national story) and how they have been appropriated to serve a range of different ends. It will also introduce students to the iconography and visual manifestations of the French historical landscape.

Introduction to French Literature: Landmarks in Narrative

This module aims to introduce students to the critical study of French narrative, covering key examples of novels from the seventeenth century to the present. In studying each text we will focus on (a) understanding the text within its historical context, and (b) developing critical approaches to the text. The module will develop students’ key skills in literary study, from the basics of understanding a text with unfamiliar syntax and vocabulary, to close reading and the application of complex literary theories.

Contemporary France

This module will focus on a selection of themes: French political institutions, with particular emphasis on the presidency; political parties in France; Immigration and identity, including questions of identity in contemporary French culture. 

Introduction to French Literature: Representations of Paris

This module aims to introduce students to the comparative study of literature and culture, inviting students to consider how Paris is represented in a range of texts (poetic, narrative and filmic) in the modern period (post-1800). Students will learn reading techniques adapted to different genres and media, and to consider representations of the city within their broader social, historical and critical contexts.

Typical year two modules


French 2

Building upon the language module studied in year one, you’ll further improve your skills in reading, listening, speaking, creative writing and translation. You’ll spend two hours per week in workshops and in oral classes with a native speaker for this module.



Francophone Africa: Exploring Contemporary Issues through Culture

Through literature, film and popular culture, you’ll explore a range of political and social issues relevant to contemporary sub-Saharan Francophone Africa. Spending around two hours a week in lectures and seminars, you’ll be given an overview of the history of the French language in Africa and introduced to the range of varieties of French spoken there today. 


Post-War French Theatre

This module focuses on developments in French theatre in the mid-twentieth century. This includes plays that dramatise existentialist issues, as well as examples of what was known as the Theatre of the Absurd: a new, experimental approach to theatre, which flourished in France in the 1950s and 1960s. Authors studied will include Sartre, Beckett and Ionesco, and the module will analyse dramatic technique and theory, along with performance. The module will explore the various ways in which these plays challenged dramatic conventions and how they engaged with fundamental questions relating to meaning, causality, language and society.


Literature and Politics in Modern France

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


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. 


Language and Politics in 21st Century France

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


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.


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 Français peints par eux-mêmes (1840-1842); prose-poetic evocations of drug intoxication by Baudelaire (1860); lyrical, colonialist depictions of the Orient by Maupassant (1880s); and fin-de-siècle 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.


Contemporary France and Globalisation

This module looks at contemporary French society in the context of an increasingly globalised culture and economy. The module analyses recent attempts to defend, redefine and adapt key aspects of French economic and cultural life in order to negotiate ways of living in an era of globalisation. The material in the module focuses on key debates around globalisation: the national and the ‘local’ versus the global; constructions of Frenchness in opposition to America; the decline of rural France; the contemporary redefinition and possible continued significance of established French values and cultural practices; and the problems associated with maintaining a distinctively French social model in the face of globalisation. A key component of the module delivery will be an in-depth analysis of the much discussed recent documentary film Mondovino, which examines the cultural and economic dimensions of global wine production. We will also look at the documentary film Ma Mondialisation and recent writing by the French politician Arnaud Montebourg, who argues for ‘la démondialisation’.


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.

French Cinema – The New Wave

This module is designed to introduce students 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.


Surrealist Photography in France

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

Huit tableaux. Art and Politics in Nineteenth-Century France (1799-1871)

You’ll examine the course of French history from the Consulate (1799) to the Paris Commune (1871). Using works of art as a platform, you’ll explore political choices and change, tracing how a succession of regimes struggled and failed in the aftermath of the Revolution, as well as tackling issues of national identity, religion and political culture. Among the pieces considered are David's Sacre de Napoléon, Delacroix's La Liberté guidant le peuple, and Meissonier's Le Siège de Paris. Two hours will be spent in lectures and seminars each week studying this module. 


Sexuality, Religion and War: Sixteenth-Century Writing in France

This module provides a general introduction to an essential moment in French national self-definition, the Renaissance, witnessing the rise of the novel; the invention of new varieties of first-person writing; surprising explorations of gender and sexuality, the prevalence (and flaunting) of censorship amidst bloody religious conflict, and transformative encounters with non-European cultures. Writers studied (for the most part in shorter excerpts, studied both from a literary and linguistic point of view) include François Rabelais, Marguerite de Navarre, Louise Labé, Pierre de Ronsard and Michel Montaigne. 

Typical year three 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.

Typical year four modules
French 3

Building on the skills gained in years one and two, you’ll further develop your oral and written skills, translation into and out of French, creative writing in different registers, linguistic commentary and production of summaries, as well as perfecting your French grammar and vocabulary. In the course of this year-long module, you’ll spend two hours per week in language workshops and one hour in an oral class with a native speaker.



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. 

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. You’ll spend two hours each week in lectures and seminars studying this module.


Enlightenment Literature: An Introduction

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

Individual and Society

You’ll explore the ways in which French social theory and fiction have thought through the changing nature of the individual and the self in society. You’ll spend two hours in lectures and workshops each week studying this module. 

Contemporary Representations of Travel

From tourism to exploration, from exile to migration, from pilgrimage to business travel, we will question the tacit ideologies found in contemporary travel discourses. The importance of this field has been steadily growing in between disciplines that range from literary studies to ethnography. The module will use these cross-cultural influences to create an arena in which to develop connections between key disciplines and different forms of arts (literature, ethnography, films photography). You will spend two hours a week in seminars for this module.


French Documentary Cinema

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

Peuple and Propaganda

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


The Everyday in Contemporary Literature and Thought 

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


The French avant-garde

This module will consider a series of avant-garde movements in France, from the late 19th century through to the middle of the 20th century. Students will look at each of these movements through a range of texts (including manifestos, theoretical tracts, art criticism, poetry, plays and novels), as well as through film and the visual arts. The module will thus encourage a comparative and interdisciplinary approach. The first part of the module will consider the Symbolist movement that emerged in the 1880s, touching on the Nabi painters, free verse poetry and Alfred Jarry’s play Ubu roi. We will then consider Cubism and Futurism in the years running up to the First World War, focusing on the poetry and art criticism of Guillaume Apollinaire. In the second semester, we will look at Dada and Surrealism, including André Breton’s Nadja and various short films. In the final part of the module we will consider the impact of the Second World War on avant-garde cultural production, focusing on a novel by Georges Perec and a film by Chris Marker. Throughout the module, students will be asked to reflect critically on theories of modernism and avant-gardism, and to grasp a range of critical concepts used in the analysis of avant-garde works. We will also be relating avant-garde movements to their broader historical and cultural contexts, and querying in particular whether the avant-garde is always political - and if so, whether it is always associated with a progressive politics.

Francophone Writing in Canada

This module studies a selection of texts which have played a significant part in establishing a tradition of Canadian writing in French. The module includes texts by both Québécois and non-Québécois writers. The texts are studied in the context of the specific cultures to which they belong and of the reception they found. You will spend two hours a week in lectures and seminars for this module.


Communicating and Teaching Languages for Undergraduate Ambassadors

This module is part of the nationwide Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme (UAS) which works with universities to provide academic modules that enable students to go into local schools as teaching assistants and to act as role-models (for more information please check Students split their time between the university-based support seminar and their allocated school, where they will work in the language department as an assistant. This may involve one-to-one tuition, small group teaching or extra-curricular activities in the context of the school’s language provision. Students will develop a special (teaching) project and will be supported in their activities by the module convenor, the education specialist on campus, and their contact teacher at the school. Typically there will be a fortnightly seminar on campus and seven half-days spent at school. This module is especially suitable for students with prior experience as a language assistant during the year abroad.


You’ll undertake an in-depth study into a chosen subject within French and Francophone Studies, and will produce a 7,500 word dissertation. Teaching takes place in the form of regular individual meetings with the allocated supervisor, and group meetings with the module convenor, centred more generally on research and writing skills.


Year abroad

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

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

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.



You will have developed a sophisticated command of French that will enable you to work comfortably in professional and social contexts, and you will have acquired a broad knowledge of French history, literature and culture. The experience gained during your year abroad will demonstrate to potential employers that you are adaptable, resourceful, and independent.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 94.2% of undergraduates in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £21,336 with the highest being £31,000.* 

Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers support and advice

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

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


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

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

Home students*

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

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

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

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


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

How to use the data

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


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