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

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

On the modern languages side of this course, 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 transnationalism, 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 humanitarian response 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 humanitarian response 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 humanitarian response is very much research-led, and draws on contemporary and historical case sites from across the world.

Most of these cases are 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.

Special features

Insight from the field

Due to current travel restrictions we're currently unable to go on field trips overseas.

However, our adapted fieldwork unit for third years brings insight from humanitarian practitioners into the classroom.

The unit explores concepts such as preparedness and response, recovery, migration, and conflict in relation to a specific hazard, vulnerabilities and disasters.

Work placements

Our Professional Experience Project module will allow you to gain valuable professional experience with a humanitarian organisation.

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.

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.

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.

For the IDMHR component of your degree you will take compulsory modules introducing you to the key concepts and theories necessary to make sense of the humanitarian world.

You will also take modules introducing you to international disaster management and humanitarianism.

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
Key Concepts in International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response HCRI11021 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Disaster Management HCRI11032 20 Mandatory
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

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. 

In second year for IDMHR, you can choose between compulsory units which allow you to explore aspects of responding to crisis; the links between disaster and development; and peacebuilding. 

There is also an option to take a module centred on a professional experience project.

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
Introduction to Conflict Analysis HCRI10002 20 Optional
Governing Aid HCRI11081 20 Optional
Everyday Peace Building and Security HCRI20001 20 Optional
Disasters and Development HCRI20011 20 Optional
Rethinking Crisis HCRI20022 20 Optional
Emergency Humanitarian Assistance HCRI20212 20 Optional
Professional Experience Project HCRI20220 20 Optional
Introduction to Global Health HCRI20321 20 Optional
Pragmatics: Meaning, Context, and Interaction LELA20291 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 13 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

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

Course units for year 3

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
Dissertation and Research Methods HCRI30000 40 Optional
Introduction to Global Health HCRI30021 20 Optional
War, Migration and Health HCRI30032 20 Optional
Ethical Decision-Making Under Pressure HCRI30061 20 Optional
Practical Approaches to Researching Disasters and Conflict HCRI30111 20 Optional
Geographic Information Systems and Disasters: A Critical Introduction HCRI30212 20 Optional
Systemic Approaches to Disaster Management HCRI30221 20 Optional
Building Nations: nations, nationalism and post-conflict reconstruction HCRI30622 20 Optional
Disaster Mobilities of Climate Change HCRI30632 20 Optional
Dissertation in Modern Languages and Cultures LALC30000 40 Optional
Displaying 10 of 15 course units for year 3

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 (eg, 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. 

You can also choose from a range of options within IDMHR, which will allow you to specialise in a specific area of the degree such as humanitarianism or disaster management.

Disability support

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