BA French and Italian / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course description


  • Over 70% of our staff are native speakers, teaching you in French in 'language' classes as well as most 'culture' classes.   

  • You will experience between 3 and 6 hours of French grammar and conversation every week (at post A-Level or beginners' level), in order to reach near-native precision and fluency. This will run in parallel with optional course units on French and Francophone history, politics, literature, popular culture and/or linguistics, from the Early Modern period to the present.   

  • You will benefit from our long-established partnership with the Alliance Française de Manchester with 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 anyone from beginners to finalists.   

  • Our range and quality of courses are regularly cited for praise by external examiners and three colleagues have won University Teaching Excellence Awards.  


  • Our course units give you advanced Italian language skills together with an in-depth understanding of Italian culture and society, taught by a range of specialists within these fields. 

  • We also offer linguistics options for those interested in the history of the Italian language and its dialects.   

  • Language courses are taught by native speakers, and involve comprehension, translation, grammar and oral work.  

  • Colleagues in Italian have won University Teaching Excellence awards and are regularly nominated for the annual Student Union teaching awards. They have also been recognized nationally for their innovative use of digital technologies in teaching and learning and for their research 

  • You will benefit from extensive interaction with Italian cultural agencies in the North West.  

  • You will also benefit from the world-class Italian holdings of the John Rylands Library, including one of the largest collections of early Italian printed books in the UK.


  • Provide you with a comprehensive grounding in French and Italian language, literature, culture, history and linguistics, enabling you to become proficient enough to live and work effectively in French and Italian-speaking environments. 
  • Develop your knowledge of the language and culture of Italy from the medieval period to the present day.

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.

Collaborations and partnerships

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

  • Instituto Cervantes - a centre for Spanish culture;
  • HOME - international and contemporary art, theatre and film;
  • Manchester China Institute - promoting mutual understanding in UK-China relations through research, teaching, and activities;
  • Alliance Française - home of French language and culture.


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

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.

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, you will have the option to write 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

You will study 60 credits from each discipline. 

The first year equips you with a range of important skills such as linguistic expertise, the ability to read and analyse material, skills in presentation, group work and independent language learning. 

Language instruction is divided between complete beginner (ab initio) and post-A-level groups. 


  • Course units are broad-based at this level and cover 350 years of key French events, people, ideas and cultural production. 


  • In Year 1 Italian language instruction is divided between complete beginners (ab initio) and post-A-level groups (with the majority of students being beginners). 

  • Ab initio students have four contact hours per week with their nominated Italian teacher as part of a course specifically designed to build confidence in comprehension, writing, speaking and listening skills. Post-A-level students have 3 hours consolidating and building competency on specific language points. All first year students also have an additional linguistics hour, introducing them to the history and structures of the Italian language. 

  • Culture units cover topics from the filmic and literary to the historic and linguistic, all of which reflect academic staff research interests. 

  • Year 1 is specifically designed to begin furnishing candidates with the tools to enable them to read cultural products with confidence, be they texts, pictures, buildings or linguistic constructions. 

You will take only the language units relevant to your level of language in each year of study.

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 Optional
Identity in Modern France FREN10150 20 Optional
French Language 1 FREN51011 20 Optional
French Language 2 FREN51022 20 Optional
French Language 3 FREN51030 20 Optional
Italian Cultural Studies ITAL10300 20 Optional
Reading Italy: Medieval to Modern ITAL10500 20 Optional
Italian Language 1 ITAL51011 20 Optional
Italian Language 2 ITAL51022 20 Optional
Italian Language 3 ITAL51030 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

You may choose to study up to two-thirds of your credits from either discipline or maintain equal weighting.  

This year's core language course units develop those of the previous year and prepare you for the linguistic challenges of your year abroad, including dedicated sessions on writing CVs and cover letters for job applications in your chosen language(s).  


  • Year 2 course units broadly fall under four categories: literature, history and politics, popular culture, and linguistics and translation. Topics covered include race and colonisation, cinema, literary representations of the 'tragic', and sociolinguistics. 

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


  • In Year 2, the core language component builds on the grammar topics covered in Year 1, in order to prepare you for the year abroad. Both the post-beginners and post-A-level language modules have three contact hours per week in addition to working on set assignments and undertaking private study.  

  • Your course units in second year are more specialized than in first year, allowing you to explore a diverse range of subjects and approaches. Current options include the Italian Renaissance and Italian Fascism.   

  • All our culture units have three contact hours per week and are augmented by materials and content placed in the units' Blackboard virtual learning environment.  

  • Our modules are assessed by a variety of different coursework assessment types, including essays and commentaries, book reviews, reports, presentations, and innovative digital projects such as group curated exhibitions.

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
Temptations of the Tragic: Love and Death in French Literature FREN20682 20 Optional
Gender and Sexuality in French Cinema FREN21331 20 Optional
French Language 4 FREN51040 20 Optional
French Language 5 FREN51050 20 Optional
Aesthetics and Politics of Italian Fascism ITAL20501 20 Optional
The Italian Renaissance ITAL21012 20 Optional
Italian Language 4 ITAL51040 20 Optional
Italian Language 5 ITAL51050 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

You may choose to study up to two-thirds of your credits from either discipline or maintain equal weighting.  

You will continue with your core language course unit and choose additional units from a wide range of even more specialised options, including a dissertation in one of your subjects.  


  • In Year 4, your language study is centred on sophisticated essay writing, translation and oral debate.   

  • Also available are course units that cover topics closely related to the research interests of individual members of staff (eg exoticism and travel writing, popular music, and cinema).   

  • 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.  


  • In Year 4, you build on the linguistic authenticity acquired abroad in the core language unit, and can choose from a range of specialized content course units.   

  • The final year language course develops your core skills to an advanced level, including translation into English, writing different kinds of target-language texts, and oral work including discussion of texts, debates, and presentations. The language component of the course comprises three contact hours per week, in addition to working on set assignments and undertaking private study. 

  • Course units available in final year are closely related to the research interests of individual members of staff, in areas such as romance linguistics, Renaissance Florence, Italy and the Grand Tour, book history, and the political and cultural history of Italy. 

  • You will also be able to undertake a research-orientated dissertation in Italian (often using the primary sources held in the Rylands Library, which has outstanding Italian holdings), and can participate in the Italian department's mentoring and outreach programmes.

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 ELAN30241 20 Optional
Protest Music in France FREN30001 20 Optional
History and Memory in Francophone Cinema FREN30832 20 Optional
Exoticism & Orientalism in C19th France: French Romantics and Local Colour FREN30871 20 Optional
Political and Cultural History of Italy ITAL30342 20 Optional
Topics in Romance Linguistics ITAL32001 20 Optional
Italian Language 6 ITAL51060 20 Optional
Dissertation in Modern Languages and Cultures LALC30000 40 Optional


The University Language Centre is home to language resources, including a new interpreting suite, purpose-built recording rooms, and resources for more than 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 at facilities

Disability support

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