BA English Literature and French / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

Miriam Walker-Khan

The beauty of studying English Literature and French is that it felt like I was also doing history, film, sociology and linguistics degrees, because both subjects are so vast and varied.

The core language modules are structured fantastically and taught me how to be independent when learning a language.

Miriam Walker-Khan / Trainee Sports Journalist, BBC & 2016 Graduate

BA English Literature and French will enable you to explore a wide range of texts dating from a variety of periods.

You will also develop 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.

English Literature

  • You will explore more than 1,000 years of literature and culture: from medieval romance to the postcolonial and postmodern.
  • You can specialise in English Literature, American, Irish and post-colonial literatures, cultural theory, creative writing, and film.
  • You will engage with a range of literary/non-literary genres including film, music and texts, from Anglo-Saxon times to the present.
  • Benefit from our research activity in English and American Studies, with more than 12 active research groups ranging from Anglo Saxon literature to 21st century writing and film.
  • Enjoy creative writing course unit options in your second and third years of study.


  • You will have between three and six hours of classes in 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 Francaise 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 ab initio students and finalists. 
  • Our range and quality of courses are regularly cited for praise by external examiners and three colleagues have won University and Faculty Teaching Excellence Awards.

Special features

Study abroad

Your  year abroad  will offer the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of life in a French-speaking country, and further develop your language skills.

Literature events

Manchester Literature Festival holds literary events across Manchester throughout the year, many in partnership with the University.

The Centre for New Writing  also hosts a regular public event series, Literature Live, which brings contemporary novelists and poets to the University to read and engage in conversation.

Meet like-minded students

You can get to know your fellow students outside of your course by joining the English Society.

Learn more about our English Literature and Creative Writing societies .

You can also 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.

Learn more about our Modern Languages and Cultures societies .

Collaboration with the Institut de Touraine

In the Loire Valley, the Institut hosts Easter and Summer French language classes dedicated to University of Manchester French students, appropriate for both ab initio students and finalists.

Teaching and learning

You will be taught mainly through lecture and tutor-led sessions. 

Tutorials will give you the opportunity to consider the same texts and topics as the lectures, but with a different approach. 

Tutorial groups usually meet at least once a week, and numbers are kept as low as possible so that you can get to know one another and share your ideas. 

Other course units (mainly those in your final year) are taught through a weekly seminar led by a specialist member of staff.

For some course units, you will join in group work and other forms of collaborative learning. 

You'll also have access to our virtual learning environment, Blackboard and other digital resources to support your learning.

You will spend approximately 12 hours a week in formal study sessions. 

For every hour spent at University, you will be expected to complete a further two to three 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.

A significant part of your study time will be spent reading, taking notes, preparing presentations and writing essays (which examine aspects of a subject in greater depth).

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed using a variety of formats, including:

  • written examinations;
  • coursework essays;
  • research reports;
  • practical tests;
  • learning logs;
  • web contributions;
  • oral presentations;
  • final-year thesis.

Your second-year work counts toward 33% of your final degree result.

Your third-year work accounts for the remaining 67%.

Course content for year 1

You will study 60 credits from each discipline.

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
Reading Literature ENGL10021 20 Mandatory
French Cultural Studies FREN10070 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
Mapping the Medieval ENGL10051 20 Optional
Theory and Text ENGL10062 20 Optional
Literature and History ENGL10072 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

You will study 120 credits, and may choose to study up to 80 credits from either discipline or maintain an equal weighting between the two.

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
Race and Empire in the French-speaking World FREN20562 20 Optional
Temptations of the Tragic: Love and Death in French Literature FREN20681 20 Optional
Media, Performance, & Digital Culture in Contemporary France FREN21211 20 Optional
Gender and Sexuality in French Cinema FREN21332 20 Optional
Pragmatics: Meaning, Context, and Interaction LELA20291 20 Optional

Course content for year 3

You will spend your third year abroad studying and/or working in a French-speaking country under approved conditions.

Course content for year 4

You will study 120 credits, and may choose to study up to 80 credits from either discipline or maintain an equal weighting between the two.

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
Occupy Everything AMER30422 20 Optional
Beat Writing AMER30791 20 Optional
American Hauntings AMER30812 20 Optional
Introduction to Interpreting: Context, Skills and Modes ELAN30242 20 Optional
Long Essay ENGL30002 20 Optional
Narrative Theory and Victorian Fiction ENGL30171 20 Optional
Eros: Love and Desire in Victorian Poetry ENGL31201 20 Optional
Transnational Shakespeare: Texts, Places, Identities ENGL31212 20 Optional
Apocalypse: Early Modern Imaginings ENGL31271 20 Optional
Dreaming the Middle Ages ENGL31422 20 Optional
Things that Talk: Nonhuman Voices in Anglo-Saxon Literature and Culture ENGL31622 20 Optional
Sex, Disease and the Body: 1660-1800 ENGL33081 20 Optional
Telling Tales: Verse and Narrative from Chaucer to Shakespeare ENGL34042 20 Optional
Romantic Venice ENGL34072 20 Optional
Vital Matters: Medieval Ecologies ENGL34111 20 Optional
Writing Revolutions:Radicalism, Activism, Citizenship 1640-80 ENGL34131 20 Optional
Literary Landscapes ENGL34162 20 Optional
Imaginations of the Future: People, Earth and Power ENGL34172 20 Optional
Dissertation in French Studies FREN30000 40 Optional
Art, Culture and Activism in France in the Age of Social Media FREN30732 20 Optional
History and Memory in Francophone Cinema FREN30831 20 Optional
Exoticism & Orientalism in C19th France: French Romantics and Local Colour FREN30872 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 23 course units for year 4

What our students say


The John Rylands Library

Home to one of the world's richest and most unique collections of manuscripts, maps, works of art, and objects.

You'll have access to the Library's impressive special collections, including papyri, early printed books, key archives such as the Women's Suffrage Movement archive, and Shakespeare's first folio.

Find out more about the John Rylands Library .

The Centre for New Writing

The University is home to a major hub for new writing excellence and award-winning teaching staff, including Granta Best Young British Novelist Kamila Shamsie and Jeanette Winterson CBE.

The Centre also hosts Literature Live - a public event series which brings contemporary novelists and poets to the University to showcase their work.

Find out more about the Centre for New Writing .

The University of Manchester Library

One of only five National Research Libraries; you'll have access to our internationally renowned archival collections which range from the medieval period to the present day.

From a miniature 'Book of Hours' which once belonged to Mary, Queen of Scots, through major Victorian novelists such as Elizabeth Gaskell and George Gissing, key American writers including Walt Whitman and Upton Sinclair, and up to the present day with our Modern Literary Archives, you'll be amazed by the treasures on offer.

Find out more about The University of Manchester Library .

As well as making use of the wider University library network, you will have access to the University Language Centre, a modern open learning facility where you can study independently and make use of a library and audio-visual resources.

There are also language laboratories and multimedia facilities.

You'll also have access to other cultural assets on campus, including the award-winning  Whitworth Art Gallery  and  Manchester Museum .

Find out more on the Facilities pages for English Literature and Creative Writing and Modern Languages and Cultures .

Disability support

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