BA Arabic and French / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

BA Arabic and French is a four-year degree with a year of study abroad divided between a Middle Eastern country and French-speaking country.

The course combines compulsory language elements on both sides, delivered by native-speaker staff and with the possibility of pathways in business language, translation and interpreting.

Alongside this, you will study the culture, politics, history, literature, popular culture, linguistics and religion of the areas in question.

Arabic

  • You have the opportunity to achieve near-native proficiency in modern Arabic while studying the language within its cultural and historical context.
  • You will also look more widely at Arab culture and literature from the medieval period to the present day, and be introduced to social and cultural trends in the Arab Middle East and beyond.
  • The range of culture units offered across all years of the programme combine the study of the history, politics, literary, and visual culture of the Arab world and are taught by a range of specialists within these fields.
  • The course is carefully structured so you can measure your progress step by step. Learning modern Arabic also opens the door to the vast literature of classical Arabic, including religious and secular texts, and provides a perfect platform from which to learn one or more of the colloquial dialects.

You will become proficient enough to live and work effectively in both environments.

French

  • Over 70% of our staff are native speakers, teaching you in French in 'language' classes as well as most 'culture' classes.
  • You will experience 3 hours of French grammar and conversation every week 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.

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:

  • HOME - international and contemporary art, theatre and film.
  • Alliance Française - home of French language and culture.

Societies

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.

Engage in cultural activities

Manchester is a multicultural city that provides excellent general opportunities for contact with speakers of Arabic and the pursuit of Arabic and Islamic interests outside of the University (eg public lectures, societies, cultural events).

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 .

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.

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

You will study 60 credits from both subjects. 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.

First year study will concentrate on intensive language learning. It also features a core course unit on the contemporary Middle East and fosters the development of study and IT skills.

Arabic

  • In Year 1, you learn Arab language from complete beginner level - or `ab initio'. Ab initio students have seven contact hours per week with their nominated mother-tongue teacher as part of a course specifically designed to build confidence in comprehension, writing, speaking and listening skills.
  • The Arab culture units offer a range of courses from the filmic and literary to the historic and religious, all of which reflect academic staff research interests.

French

  • French language and grammar study is tailored to your existing level of French (beginner or post-A-level) and enables progress in all areas of linguistic reception and production (listening, reading, writing, speaking). A growing emphasis is placed on group work and independent language learning provides transferable skills.
  • Your other units are broad-based at this level and cover 350 years of key French events, people, ideas and cultural production.

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
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
History and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa MEST10711 20 Mandatory
Arabic Language 1 MEST51011 20 Mandatory
Arabic Language 2 MEST51022 20 Mandatory
The History and Sociopolitics of Palestine/Israel (1882-1967) MEST10042 20 Optional
Cultures of the Middle East and North Africa MEST10091 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

In the second year you will continue your language learning, increase your reading of authentic texts in both languages and choose from a wide range of optional units that cover the history, politics, literature and popular culture of the countries in question.

Arabic  

  • In Year 2, the language component of the course includes three contact hours per week in addition to working on set assignments and undertaking private study.
  • Various options are available ranging from Arabic literature, Middle Eastern cinema, gender and cultural studies to the anthropology of Modern Islam as well as history and politics of the Arab World. The units are largely assessed by coursework.

French

  • Year 2 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 Year 2 are options broadly falling 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.

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
Introduction to Post Colonial Arabic Literature MEST20002 20 Mandatory
Arabic Language 3 MEST51031 20 Mandatory
Arabic Language 4 MEST51042 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
Themes in the Histories of Arab and Jewish Nationalisms MEST20271 20 Optional
Women and Gender in the Middle East and North Africa MEST20352 20 Optional
History of Modern Islamic Thought MEST20501 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 content for year 4

The fourth year covers advanced language course units, a variety of specialised thematic course unit choices in the two chosen cultures, and an optional dissertation on an approved topic of your choice.

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.

Arabic

  • You will complete your Arabic language studies at a high level. There is also the opportunity to study Business Arabic as well as to choose from a variety of specialised final year course units covering the Arab world.

French

  • In your final year, language study is centred on sophisticated essay writing, translation and oral debate, with the option to study Business French if you like.

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
Media and Business Arabic MEST30182 20 Mandatory
Arabic Language 5 MEST51050 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Interpreting: Context, Skills and Modes ELAN30241 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
Dissertation in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies MEST30000 40 Optional
Contemporary Debates in Islam MEST30031 20 Optional
Nature, the Environment and Politics in Modern Arabic Literature MEST30122 20 Optional
Media and Business Arabic MEST30182 20 Optional
Historical Controversies in the Study of Israel/Palestine MEST30721 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 13 course units for year 4

What our students say

Law has always interested me, so during my third year abroad as part of my degree at Manchester, I worked as a 'stagiaire' in Paris for the French office of a small English law firm for six months.

Frances Jenkins , BA French and Russian graduate, and Lawyer

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.

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.

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