BA French Studies

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
French Project

Course unit fact file
Unit code FREN10140
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No


Running parallel with the level-1 course units FREN10150 Identity in Modern France and FREN10070 French Cultural Studies, and building on the techniques of textual analysis that they introduce, this course will enable students to deepen their appreciation and understanding of French literature and cinema, and develop their reading skills in French. Through a combination of workshops, small group tutorials and private study, students will acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to write commentaries and essays on texts chosen from a prescribed list. The workshops will focus on a range of tutor-led and student-led activities designed to develop understanding of French literature (and other cultural forms), together with methods of analysis and critical discussion. The tutorials will provide individualized help with assessed coursework preparation.


  • To develop critical thinking, conceptual reasoning and analytical skills 

  • To develop the ability to read and analyse literary texts 

  • To develop the ability to place literary texts in social and political context 

  • To develop a better understanding of the historical and social realities of the Lusophone world 

  • To develop a better understanding of literary texts in French  

Learning outcomes



Teaching and learning methods



Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to: 

  •  demonstrate knowledge and understanding of French literary texts 

  • write commentaries and essays discussing and analysing French literary texts and films 

  • place the texts and films in their historical context 

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to: 

  • Conceive their own commentary and essay topics 

  • Write commentaries on French texts and essays discussing and analysing French literary texts or films 


Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to: 

  • Use the library, electronic and online resources. 

  • Use reporting skills during student-led in-class activities. 

  • Demonstrate understanding of French written language 


Transferable skills and personal qualities

.On successful completion of course units in French Studies, students will have developed their ability to: 

  • manage time, and work to deadlines; 

  • use information and communication technology (ICT); 

  • undertake independent learning and reflect upon their achievements; 

  • participate constructively in group/team work and group discussions; 

  • assess the relevance and importance of the ideas of others; 

  • demonstrate powers of analysis; 

  • display good literacy skills in English and French; 

  • show an awareness of and a responsiveness to the nature and extent of intercultural diversity. 

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students taking this unit will be able to analyze and evaluate both existing literature on the texts studied and the primary set materials themselves. Above all, committed students will emerge from this course unit with a capacity to think critically, i.e. knowledgeably, rigorously, confidently and independently.
On this unit students are encouraged to respond imaginatively and independently to the questions and ideas raised by existing literature on the topic and the primary corpus of texts studied.
Project management
Students taking this unit will be able to work towards deadlines and to manage their time effectively.
Students on this unit will be required to digest, summarise and present large amounts of information. They are encouraged to enrich their responses and arguments with a wide range of further reading.
Written communication
Students on this unit will develop their ability to write in a way that is lucid, precise and compelling.

Assessment methods

Commentary Plan - Formative 

Commentary - 40%

Essay Plan and Bibliography - Formative 

Essay - 60%

Re-sit Assessment- Essay

Feedback methods

Feedback method  

Formative or Summative 

  • Written and oral feedback on the commentary plan in week 12 


  • Written feedback on the commentary 


  • Written and oral feedback on essay plan and bibliography 


  • Written feedback on the essay 



Recommended reading

Set Texts: 

Semester 1: A selection of short stories, poems and plays will be made available on Blackboard 

Semester 2: A list of selected novels, novellas and films with short summaries will be made available on Blackboard. All texts suggested are available in the University of Manchester library and in affordable pocket editions. All films will be available at the University language centre library. 


Suggested further readings 

Chambers, Ellie, and Andrew Northledge, The Arts Good Study Guide (Milton Keynes: Oxford University Press, 1997) 

Cuddon, J. A., The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (any edition) 

A la ( 

Études littéraires ( ‘le commentaire littéraire’; ‘le commentaire composé’; ‘la dissertation littéraire’ 

Magister ( esp. ‘Notions’ (‘les genres littéraires’); ‘Vocabulaire’ (‘les champs lexicaux’); ‘Les corpus’ (‘le personnage de roman’); ‘le commentaire’; ‘la dissertation’ 

Reardon, Denis, Doing Your Undergraduate Project (London: SAGE, 2004) 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Project supervision 4
Seminars 5
Independent study hours
Independent study 191

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jonathan Hensher Unit coordinator

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