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BSc International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response and French / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course description

On the Modern Languages side of the degree students will study compulsory language units (the number of credits will depend on whether students are ab-initio or post-A-Level and whether they are studying European or non-European languages) and the study of the culture and history of a specific region. Teaching within Modern Languages in these latter areas are characterised particularly by the historically and politically contextualised study of culture and cultural practices, including in literature, visual culture and music, with thematic focus on such issues as the environment, popular culture, gender, immigration and transnationalisms, and religion. Crucial here is the understanding of language skills being informed by intercultural awareness and cultural knowledge being mediated by linguistic skills.

On the HCRI side of the degree students critically explore contemporary and historical issues within the broader fields of: international disaster management; peace and conflict studies; and humanitarian response. The thematic focus of the HCRI degree significantly overlaps with that of Languages. For instance, the investigation of environment, gender, migration, cultural norms and behaviours, power, politics, and popular culture. As such, students will be able to apply their theoretical understanding of these broader ideas, and contextualise them in different disciplinary and empirical areas. Furthermore, teaching within HCRI is very much research led, and draws on contemporary and historical case sites from across the world. The vast majority of these cases are located in countries where English is not the principal language. For example, students will explore issues such as resilience, peacebuilding, relief aid, maternal mortality, and refugees in diverse contexts including Puerto Rico, China, Haiti, Venezuela, Mexico, Iraq, Japan, and Cameroon. This will make the content particularly engaging and relevant for students of Languages.

In the first, second and final year students will follow core compulsory and optional introductory modules on both sides of the degree. In their final year students will also have the option of taking a dissertation on either side of the degree alongside their core language units and other optional units. Students will be allocated a dissertation supervisor according to existing procedures for the respective subject areas. Students will also be able to take one free-choice unit at levels 2 and 3, though they will not be required to do so.

In the third year of the degree students will undertake a period of residence abroad according to the School's established residence abroad requirements and provision. It is likely that many students on this degree combination will want to undertake work placements with relevant organisations where possible; but students will also be able to take up the offer of a study placement at one of the existing partner universities in the region of study.


  • Provide a critical insight into destabilising events and develop an understanding and appreciation of disaster risk reduction and humanitarian response.
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of key issues which inform the debates on disaster risk reduction and humanitarian response.
  • Develop practical expertise in risk and vulnerability analyses, disaster preparedness and response and the integration of development and humanitarian action.
  • Foster an informed attitude on ethical issues related to humanitarianism, including international actions taken by governments, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations in response to disasters of both natural and human origins.
  • Develop strategic research methodologies and techniques, including data gathering, collation, analysis and dissemination of results in disaster risk management and humanitarian action contexts.

Special features


You'll have the opportunity to undertake field study - either here in the UK or overseas - where you'll learn how your knowledge of disaster management and humanitarian response might be applied in the context of real-life hazards and vulnerabilities.

Work placements

Work placements with key partner humanitarian organisations, such as Rethink Rebuild Society, Women Asylum Seekers Together (WAST) and Mines Advisory Group (MAG), will allow you to gain valuable professional experience.

You can also apply your subject-specific knowledge in a real-world context through a placement year  in your third year of study, enabling you to enhance your employment prospects, clarify your career goals and build your external networks.

Industry partnerships

Our pioneering partnerships with specific national and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) shape the real-world focus of our teaching, as well as offering strong industry links to key career destinations for graduates.

Partners include Save the Children, International Alert, Medecins Sans Frontieres, The Overseas Development Institute, ALNAP, Mines Advisory Group (MAG), and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

HCRI is also a World Health Organization collaboration centre. 

Course content for year 1

You will split your study time equally between the two components of your degree.  

In French in first year, you follow two weekly hours of grammar classes (post-A-level) or 4-5 weekly hours (ab initio), complemented by oral classes for conversation and fluency.

Regular independent practice is paramount in order to progress well and fast.

A compulsory module on `Modern French Identity' introduces you to 300 years of French history, politics and culture, alongside extracts of literature, cinema and other art forms.

Course content for year 2

You can study up to two-thirds of your credits on either side of your Degree. 

In French, you build on the grounding established in Year 1, while getting prepared for the challenges of the year abroad (dedicated sessions on writing CVs and cover letters, and mock interviews for jobs in French).¿  

Other course units¿are optional and broadly falling under three categories: Literature, History and Popular Culture, or Linguistics and Translation.

Topics include French literature (17th century to the present), Colonisation and exoticism, Francophone cinema, theatre, philosophy and contemporary popular culture. 

Course content for year 3

You will¿spend the third year  abroad  in approved study or work in a Francophone country or countries.

Work opportunities include teaching as an English language assistant. 

Course content for year 4

You can study up to two-thirds of your credits on either side of your studies.

In French, you continue with your core language course for increased accuracy and sophistication, with regular practice in essay writing, translation, oral debate and presentations.

You also choose additional cultural units that build on Year 2 study and relate to the research interests of staff members (e.g. representation of race and conflict, performance, gender, national identity, linguistic creativity across theatre, literature, cinema, poetry, and popular music).

You can also write a dissertation on an approved topic of your choice.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: