BA French Studies / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

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Course description

BA French Studies provides a comprehensive grounding in French language, literature, culture, history and linguistics, enabling you to become proficient enough in French to live and work effectively in a French-speaking environment.

With a strong heritage dating back to 1896, the discipline of French Studies at Manchester is the oldest in the UK. It's also one of the largest, with over 120 students registering on its various programmes each year. 

You will be taught by experienced academic staff of international distinction, including two winners of Manchester's Teacher of the Year award, and a dedicated team of specialist language tutors. Among our staff, more than two-thirds are native speakers of French and we teach you in that language from Year 1.

Our innovative language-teaching programme, which follows an enquiry-based learning approach, is central to a curriculum that offers an extremely wide choice of course units. These cover the Early Modern period to the present, and fall into the four broad categories of history and politics, literature, popular and visual culture, and linguistics and translation.

You will benefit from our rich Library resources - including precious manuscripts, a vast French literature collection, and contemporary digital media - and from our long-established partnership with the Alliance Française de Manchester, which hosts cultural events throughout the year, such as film screenings, talks, plays, concerts, exhibitions and intensive language classes.

You will also benefit from our collaboration with the Institut de Touraine in the Loire Valley, which hosts Easter and Summer French language classes that are appropriate for ab initio students and finalists.

Special features

Residence abroad

You can  study and/or work for up to a year in a country or countries relevant to your chosen language(s) to improve your communicative language skills in a native-speaker environment.

Palaver Festival

Palaver Festival , a collaboration with the neighbouring Contact Theatre, offers the opportunity to explore links between language and performance across a range of genres including literature, theatre, dance and more.

Collaborations and partnerships

The University has links with language and cultural institutions across the city, including:

  • Confucius Institute - a hub for Chinese culture
  • Instituto Cervantes - a centre for Spanish culture
  • HOME - international and contemporary art, theatre and film
  • Alliance Française - home of French language and culture.

Societies

Join The Francophone Society and benefit from French classes, discussion groups, cheese and wine nights, film screenings, themed socials, and a yearly trip to Paris.

The University is home to over 30 international and language-related student societies offering a breadth of cultural activities and experiences.

Teaching and learning

You'll learn through a mixture of formal lectures, seminars and tutorials, spending approximately 12 hours a week in formal study sessions.

For every hour of university study, you will be expected to complete a further 2-3 hours of independent study. You will also need to study during the holiday periods.

The individual study component could be spent reading, producing written work, revising for examinations or working in the University's Language Centre.

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed in various ways, including:

  • written and oral examinations;
  • presentations;
  • coursework (which may include library research, linguistic fieldwork and data collection, or web-based research);
  • in your final year, a dissertation based on a research topic of your choice.

Assessment methods vary from course unit to course unit - see individual course unit listings for more information.

Course content for year 1

Depending on the level at which you start ( ab initio or post-A-level), the first-year either delivers an intensive programme of basic French grammar and oral fluency, or allows you to quickly revise on the fundamentals before progressing with incremental levels of grammatical accuracy in writing, listening and speaking.

Other course units cover 350 years of French history and cultural production, enabling all students to locate key French and francophone events, people, ideas and artworks in their respective contexts.

Semester 1 lectures will be delivered online, with a sound and/or video recording available and accessible across time zones (for students who cannot be on campus). Semester 1 face-to-face teaching will go ahead for seminars and language classes if at all possible (the plan is to record and post these classes too wherever possible). However, government advice and the University's ability to accommodate social distancing requirements will need to be factored into the consideration. Thus it is simply too early at present to know whether small classes will be able to go ahead face-to-face in October. A view will be taken about teaching in Semester 2 nearer the time. Check our website for the latest advice

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
French Cultural Studies FREN10070 20 Mandatory
French Project FREN10140 20 Mandatory
Identity in Modern France FREN10150 20 Mandatory
French Language 1 FREN51011 20 Mandatory
French Language 2 FREN51022 20 Mandatory
French Language 3 FREN51030 20 Mandatory

Course content for year 2

You will build on the grounding already established. This year's core language course unit develops that of the previous year and prepares you for the linguistic challenges of your year abroad, including dedicated sessions on writing CVs and cover letters for job applications in French.

The other course units available in your second year are options broadly falling under four categories: Literature; History and Politics; Popular Culture; Linguistics and Translation. Topics covered include race and colonisation; cinema; literary representations of the tragic'; socio-linguistics.

All include a research component that encourages you to develop your skills of analysis and information-gathering, working independently or in a group.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
French Language 4 FREN51040 20 Mandatory
French Language 5 FREN51050 20 Mandatory
French Cinema to 1980 FREN20142 20 Optional
Race and Empire in the French-speaking World FREN20561 20 Optional
Temptations of the Tragic: Love and Death in French Literature FREN20682 20 Optional
Pragmatics: Meaning, Context, and Interaction LELA20291 20 Optional

Course content for year 3

Your third year of study is spent abroad under approved conditions.

Course content for year 4

On your return to Manchester you will continue with your core language course unit and choose additional units from a wide range of even more specialised options, building effectively on Year 2 study.

Language study is centred on essay writing, translation and oral work involving discussion of texts, debates and presentations.

Also available in this year are course units that cover topics closely related to the research interests of individual members of staff (eg exoticism and travel writing; popular music; France and Algeria; Animal Studies). As part of your final-year work, you can write a dissertation on a theme of your choice related to one of your course units.

Course units for year 4

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
French Language 6 FREN51060 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Interpreting: Context, Skills and Modes ELAN30242 20 Optional
Dissertation in French Studies FREN30000 40 Optional
Protest Music in France FREN30002 20 Optional
Dangerous Liaisons FREN30362 20 Optional
Exoticism & Orientalism in C19th France: French Romantics and Local Colour FREN30871 20 Optional

Scholarships and bursaries

Residence Abroad Support We offer dedicated financial support packages of up to £2,000 for residence abroad students, based on household income. You will be automatically assessed for this, based on your Student Finance finance assessment - you just need to make sure you apply for a financial assessment in the academic year in which your residence abroad will take place.

RWS Brode Scholarship You may be eligible for this scholarship if you fulfil the following conditions:

  • Your qualifications were achieved at a state-funded school in the UK
  • your total household income does not exceed £60K (as verified by the Student Loan Company)
  • You achieve high marks in your A-levels (or equivalent qualifications), usually AAB or above
  • You apply to (and remain on) either a single honours Language programme, or a dual-language programme

Awards will be made according to a sliding scale, benefitting those who have the achieved the highest marks, whilst being from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.  Again, you will be automatically assessed for this, after you have registered on your degree programme. You simply need to make sure you allow the University access to your records when applying for your Student Loan (we cannot otherwise assess your eligibility).

Facilities

The University Language Centre is home to language resources, including a new interpreting suite, purpose-built recording rooms and resources for over 70 languages.

The Centre also offers multilingual word processing, language learning software, off-air recording and AV duplication, multilingual terrestrial and satellite TV, and extensive support and advice for learners.

Learn more on the Facilities page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk