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BSc French & English Language

Why choose this course?

  • The Complete University Guide 2014 ranked French at Aston 5th for Graduate Prospects (80%) out of 58 universities
  • 2nd (84%) for Graduate Level Destinations six months after graduation, Guardian, 2014
  • Contemporary and applied focus, with a high level of teaching delivered in French
  • English Language at Aston is ranked 13th (out of 105 programmes in the UK) in the Guardian University Guide 2015

  • In the 2013 National Student Survey BSc English Language scored 100% for overall satisfaction 

4 years full-time with integrated year abroad

UCAS Code:
QR31

Typical Offers
A Levels:
ABB - BBB from 3 A-levels, including French Grade B.  General Studies accepted. 
IB: 32-33 points in the IB diploma including TOK/Bonus points. Standard level Maths and English 5 required and Higher Level French grade 6.
Access: Pass Access to HE Diploma with Merit in each module.  Humanities or Social Sciences Access course preferred, but other courses considered on an individual basis.  A-level grade B in French or equivalent.
BTEC: National Extended Diploma DDD.   A-level grade B in French or equivalent.  Mix of Diploma/ Subsidiary Diploma/A-levels acceptable.

We accept a wide range of UK, EU and International qualifications: please contact us for further advice.

Specific subject requirements:
GCSE English Language and Maths Grade C.

Tuition fees 2014/15: £9,000 (£1,000 during placement year) for UK/EU students. More on fees

Applicants receiving offers are invited to an open day.

Our French studies course is designed to develop your linguistic skills to near-native proficiency and fluency. We stress the development of your practical command of French, emphasising language as a means of communication and mutual understanding. Our programme is also designed to develop your understanding of French culture and society – its traditions, its complexities, its underlying ideas – and to develop your critical, analytical and collaborative skills. Language classes are supplemented by a series of thematic modules, also taught in French, which focus on contemporary French society, and particularly on French politics, history, sociolinguistics, media, film and literature. You will be taught by research experts with international reputations in their fields, all in a lively, friendly, experienced and enthusiastic department.

Our innovative English Language degree aims to provide you with a theoretical knowledge and understanding of the English language, how it works in society and its role in the world today. At the same time we emphasise the practical application of English Language studies to the real world through professionally relevant modules in areas such as Teaching and Learning English or Language in the Workplace or Language and the Law. Your First Year of studying English Language at Aston will give you a broad introduction to language and meaning, to the influence of form and context and to the role of language in society. In the Second Year you build upon the themes introduced in your First Year through the study of core and elective modules designed to equip you to describe the features of spoken and written language in technical detail, as well as collecting, managing and working with linguistic data. In the Final Year you can choose from a wide range of elective modules to suit your interests and/or career plans. You will also produce a substantial piece of individual work in the form of a dissertation on an agreed topic of your choice.

Year One

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: French

Module Content:

  • Revision of French grammar;
  • Practice of the following text types: résumé, dissertation.
  • Reading comprehension;
  • Aural comprehension.

Method of Learning and Teaching: Textual and Grammatical Skills classes will consist of lectures, discussions of reading and personal research, interactive workshops and exercises in class as well as in the computer lab.

Assessment method: Exam (90%), oral presentation (10%).

Number of credits: 10

Module content: This module introduces students to translation as a professional activity. They will be familiarised with key theoretical concepts of translation and their application in practice, so as to develop skills in translating. They will learn to produce translations into English that are appropriate for their specified purpose and readers, and learn to explain their own translation decisions.

Assessment method: group work (20%), coursework (40%) and examination (40%).

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: French

Module content: This course aims to give students a basic knowledge of French culture, starting with an attempt at definition and focusing on contemporary literature and text analysis. Rather than attempt to give a very general introduction to French culture, the course will aim to provide students with the tools to analyse, discuss and enjoy aspects of contemporary culture.

In teaching period one, it will focus mainly on 2 texts, L’Etranger by Albert Camus and La Place by Annie Ernaux. These texts will be complemented by a number of extracts from 20th century novels. The focus of group activities during the term will be text analysis and discussion, with a particular emphasis on the themes of alienation and protest or contestation. The course will provide students with the tools required for text analysis, not only of literary texts but also of texts in general.

Other cultural aspects will be studied, in particular the cinema of ‘La Nouvelle Vague’. Students will be given the tools to analyse cinematographic production, and will be expected to view at least 5 films from the period studied.

Teaching period two will be structured around student led sessions, in small groups. These will meet on a rota basis, every 3 weeks. The groups will be expected to concentrate on one aspect of culture, either literature or cinema. 

Method of Learning and Teaching: There will be a weekly lecture in French followed by an hour of group work, discussion and presentations in French in Term 1. Discussion and presentations will be led by students, often in groups of 2 or 3, on topics and texts distributed the week before to give students maximum time to prepare and to read. In teaching period two, there will be student led structured seminars, in 3 groups, each presenting a chosen aspect of French culture in turn. (Each group will therefore meet once in 3 weeks).

Assessment method: Group presentation (20%), exam (30%) and essay (50%).

In this module, students look at how words are used in written and spoken texts to create meanings, and use dictionaries, corpus analysis and other practical techniques to understand the processes involved, and to analyse words in different ways.


Assessment method: 2.5-hour written exam (100%)

This module introduces you to the basics of one model of grammar: Systemic Functional Grammar, including key concepts and terms. It also involves practical workshop activities where you apply in practice what you have learnt in theory. 

Assessment method: 3-hour written exam (80%), Attendance and participation (20%)

This module looks at language as it is employed for a variety of purposes in both private and public contexts. It also extends methods of communication to cover non-verbal means whereby messages are conveyed, as substitutes for and supplements to the use of words. Topic areas to be covered will include paralinguistics in interaction and in texts (links between image, gesture and word), language and technology, media language and the language of interpersonal communication.

Assessment method: A written assignment of 2500 words (50%), 2500-3000-word group project (50%)

The module provides a brief introduction to the historical development of English, as a basis for the investigation of the concepts of language varieties and boundaries. This leads to an exploration of the issues and controversies surrounding the present-day role of English as a world language. An emphasis on language description reinforces the terminology and concepts taught in the companion modules of Level 1, while the teaching also focuses on the socio-historical forces which have shaped the development of English, reflecting the perspective of the programme overall.

Assessment method: 4-5-minute individual presentation (20%), 2-hour closed-book written exam (80%)

This module introduces the concepts of register and genre: the ways in which spoken and written texts are shaped by their purpose, the relationship between reader and writer or speaker and hearer, and formal aspects of the communication (pictures, writing, speech, song etc).

Assessment method: 1,500-word essay (50%), 1,500-word essay (50%)


Year 2


Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: French

Module content: Along with a variety of language exercises, the module will focus on your textual comprehension skills and on the analysis of an advertising report (for Joint, Single, and Combined Honours French programmes) or a marketing report (for IBML) in the first TP, and on textual production in the second TP. Here, we concentrate on the production of a report based on a portfolio of press documents relating to specific issues in contemporary French society.

Method of learning and teaching: Classes of two hours in French (lectures, seminars, workshops, group work and presentations) are organised weekly. You will be asked to prepare material for the following session and to submit written analyses for regular feedback. Whilst oral proficiency is not explicitly tested in this module, you are required to participate actively in-group discussion, expressing and justifying your views. Translation exercises are used as a method to further the learning experience.

Assessment method: Exam (80%), grammar test (20%).  

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: French.

Module content: This module aims at furthering students’ understanding of the origins, evolution and development of French in its social context. It shows how extra-linguistic factors have an impact on the dynamics of variation and change. Lessons are a mixture of lecture, discussion of readings and in-class activities.

Method of learning and teaching: Lectures and interactive seminars (discussions, reading and analysis), consultations, as well as directed work.

Assessment method:
Essay (80%), class work (20%).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: French

Module content: This module examines social conflicts and issues that have been critical in the making of contemporary France. It considers how such conflicts and issues have changed with the evolution of French society, from those that defined France in the post-war years (economic modernisation, demographic change, new employment patterns, the ‘rural exodus’ etc) to those that define France today (national identity, immigration, religion, the banlieues, law and order, unemployment, gender etc). The module looks closely at a number of fault lines and fractures in French society and seeks to assess how social ‘conflict’ and ‘consensus’ are negotiated in France today.

Method of learning and teaching: Each two-hour session comprises both lectures in French and seminar/group activities also in French. The lecture programme provides the necessary background that underpins the learning outcomes listed above. Discussion and activities in the seminar hour permit the development of key themes and issues, and provide the opportunity for addressing related questions.  

Assessment method: Exam (100%).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: French

Module content: A number of assessed and practice exercises will structure the course. They will include:

  • Exercises in receptive language skills developed through listening and reading exercises. This will entail synthesising audio-visual or written material, reporting back orally on written or audio-visual material.

  • Exercises in productive language skills (speaking) developed through individual presentation of press reviews, group presentation based on a video project and debates, as well as role-plays.

Method of learning and teaching: A one-hour weekly class in French. The classes will be structured around the practice of the assessed exercises, which will involve work as a whole class (debates and their preparation; comprehension exercise), in small groups (group project and presentation) or individual contributions (press reviews). Students will be expected to critically evaluate each other’s work, and to give oral feedback to each other. They will be expected to prepare for each class, either by gathering material and acquiring information on a topic (discussion and debate) or by preparing a structured presentation (press review).

Assessment method: class exercises (100%).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: French

Module content: This course, delivered in French, enables students to acquire familiarity with main areas and problems of French politics, and with key concepts used in the analysis of political institutions and political culture. This knowledge forms the conceptual, methodological and analytical basis for many of the politics-related issues students will treat throughout their programmes.

Method of learning and teaching: Lectures: weeks 1-5, 7-10, Seminars: Group Work / Discussions / Presentations: Weeks 2-5, 7-11.

Students are expected to familiarise themselves quickly with the general literature, and then go on to more specialised reading in preparation for seminars and the exam. Week 6 is reserved for Guided Study and Consultation, and in week 11, the 2-hour seminar will help students reflect on the course content and prepare for the exam. 

Assessment method: Exam (100%).

Number of credits: 10

Module content: Topics covered include: What is research?; Action Research and Ethnography; Collecting spoken data; Transcribing data; Using electronic resources; Questionnaires; Ethical issues in research; Reading week; Quantitative Analysis; Writing a research report; Review of the Module.

Method of learning and teaching: 

  • lecture-type presentation

  • practical exercises

  • work in pairs or groups,

  • discussions and questions

Assessment method: Students will be required to submit a completed task or tasks totalling the equivalent of 1,800 words. The nature of the task or tasks will be notified in week 3, and may include exercises in areas such as the specification of a research question, outline research design, transcript analysis, the manipulation of qualitative and quantitative data, and/orshort answer responses to set questions. (100%).

This module introduces you to different variations of English, including: social and regional variation; Englishes around the world and differences between spoken and written modes. 

Assessment method: 3-hour exam 

This module aims to introduce you to the ways in which the social construction of gender both reflects and inflects our discursive practices. It addresses a range of issues, beginning with an overview of feminist language study and alternative views of the relationship between gender, language and society. The second part of the module then moves on to consider questions of how gender issues are reflected in a range of social and institutional contexts, including for example, education, the media and the workplace. You will be introduced, throughout the module, to a variety of methods for describing and critically evaluating gendered linguistic practices in relation to these issues and contexts.


Assessment method: 
Attendance and participation (20%), 3,000-3,500 word research project (80%)

This module aims to introduce you to the ways in which media texts both reflect and construct our social practice and values. It addresses a range of issues, such as what makes something newsworthy, whether there is objectivity in news reporting, whether different social groups are equally represented in mass media texts, and what part visual images and layout play in our media messages; and it introduces you to a variety of methods for describing and critically evaluating media texts in relation to these issues.


Assessment method: 2,000-word case study (80%), Attendance and participation (20%)

This is an introductory course to TESOL. By the end of the module, the students will have become aware of the basic requirements of a teacher of English to speakers of other languages. They will have had the chance to develop some of the skills necessary for the TESOL teacher. The emphasis will be on developing the skills, organisational and pedagogical, which will allow them to teach or tutor their specialism. The areas covered will be course and syllabus design, materials evaluation and preparation, strategies for teaching lexis and grammar, lesson planning, delivery and evaluation.

Assessment method: Short lesson (10-15 minutes) on approved topic (50%), 1000 word summary and critique of a journal article (50%)

Year 4 (following year abroad)

Number of credits: 20

Module content: Building on the year abroad, the module is designed to further improve students’ productive language skills. We focus on a range of current issues and controversies in French politics and society, and classes encourage development of increasingly sophisticated written and oral skills and increased fluency, accuracy and comprehension. These activities are underpinned by ongoing grammar learning.

Method of learning and teaching: The module will comprise one two-hour seminar, taught by the module tutor.

Each two-hour seminar will involve a range of activities using written textual material from a range of sources, using French as the medium of communication. Activities will include practical work with regular feedback on written practice work, pairs and group work. Much research, preparation and analysis will take place independently, through guided practice.

Each 2-hour seminar will also incorporate oral/aural skills, giving students the opportunity to further develop their productive oral and their aural comprehension skills.

The module objectives will be developed through in-class discussion, based on reading and preparation as indicated each week. Documentation skills will be developed through guided research using both the School Intranet and the Internet, in conjunction with other printed resources available in the School and in the main university library.

The seminars will also involve student oral group presentations, as a means of preparation towards assessed written work. Students will have the opportunity to practice and develop their presentation skills in a structured programme throughout the academic year.

Assessment method: Exam (75%), group oral presentation (25%).

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: French
 
Module content: This is an independent study module, for which you devise, research and write a dissertation on a topic of your choice, related to France or another Francophone country. The module develops your analytical and evaluative skills as well as your linguistic fluency and accuracy. Independent study is supplemented by small group classes and/or one-to-one consultations with your dissertation supervisor, enabling you to develop your presentational and communication skills.

Method of learning and teaching: Plenary sessions will provide information on the expectations for an LTS dissertation and viva and will present objectives, methodology, and a timetable for the module. These sessions will be supplemented by individual and group meetings between supervisors and students. It is the responsibility of the student to comply with deadlines set by the supervisor.  

Assessment method: 5000-6000 word dissertation and separate 300 word abstract in the target language (70%). 20-minute viva: 3/4 minutes of presentation on the dissertation topic and 15 minutes of questions from two examiners (30%).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: French

Module content: This module analyses the French overseas territories, and critically situates their role and status with respect to France and, more widely, the international system. We analyse the different geopolitical contexts in which the territories operate, and discuss their social, cultural, political, economic and strategic identities and relationships with France.

Method of learning and teaching:
A one-hour lecture followed by a one hour seminar each week, where students will be required to present an analysis, based on selected texts or audio-visual material, of one of the topics addressed during the lectures. These presentations will be followed by general discussions involving all the students. There will form part of the assessment for the course. 

Assessment method: Essay (70%), presentation (30%).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: French

Module content: This module examines the Vichy regime of 1940-44, when France was occupied and collaborated with Nazi Germany. It shows how the liberal, democratic, assimilationist model of French Republicanism was abolished by an authoritarian, repressive, ultra-nationalist regime. It explores the historical and political background to Vichy, its policies and personalities, its progressive radicalisation, the tensions between state collaboration and pro-Nazi ‘collaborationism’, and the difficulty of defining Vichy as a political regime. It also considers the aftermath of Vichy and the legacy of this brief regime within the Republican culture of contemporary France.

Method of learning and teaching: The module aims to build subject specific knowledge (historical, political, cultural) as well as developing analytical and textual skills, and to improve proficiency and range in the use of both spoken and written French. Proficiency in spoken French will be developed in seminars, for which students will be required to read, prepare and discuss set texts and other materials, and to participate actively in discussion.

Each two-hour session comprises both a lecture and seminar/group activities. The lecture programme provides essential historical and contextual background as a foundation for the learning outcomes listed above. Seminar work will include analysis of diverse materials, printed, audio-visual and other (historical studies, political writings and documentation, political speeches, propaganda tracts and posters, video documentaries and extracts). The seminars will provide the opportunity for detailed discussion of key themes and issues. Supplementary guidance on reading will also be provided to support coursework and revision for the Examination by which this module is assessed.

Assessment method: Exam (100%).

In this module, students learn the key concepts and terminology of corpus linguistics and how to use corpus tools to conduct research into language in use, and look at some areas of applied linguistics in which corpora are used, such as lexicography, pedagogy, and translation.

Assessment method: Written assignment of 2000 words (50%), Practical project report (equivalent of 1000-1500 words) (50%)

This module will focus on one specialist area of Applied Linguistics, the application of the tools and techniques of language description to spoken and written texts which have a significance in court cases. The module will look at topics such as: techniques for authorship attribution; questions of copyright and the detection of plagiarism; disputed police records of interview and confession; suspect suicide notes; and anonymous letters.

Assessment method: Mock expert report with literature review (2,000 words) (50%), Critique of expert report (1,500 words)

This course aims to enable students to research in significant depth a topic in English Language, and address, elaborate and apply key concepts used in the linguistic analysis of discourse, in professional, social, educational and/or cultural institutions and contexts. The dissertation allows students to undertake supervised research on a topic that is new to them. It is the longest and most sustained piece of research undertaken in the English Language part of their degree programme.

Assessment method: Dissertation proposal (20%), Dissertation (80%) 

Aston is 6th for Languages Graduate Level Destinations sixth months after Graduation - Guardian 2013

Our graduates are in demand from a wide range of employers who value their understanding of different cultures and societies, their communication skills and motivation for team work. Destinations for Language and Translation Studies graduates over the past three years include:   

  • English Teacher, Business Language Skills
  • PR Graduate Scheme, LIDL
  • French Customer Service Co-ordinator, CRP
  • Bilingual Sales Coordinator, Narrow Aisle Ltd
  • Language Assistant, British Council
  • Translator/Analytical Support, B&Q
  • Immigration Assistant, Australian Embassy UK
  • Marketing Analyst, Deutsche Bank
  • Graduate Trainee Managers for British Airways, Aldi Stores, John Lewis and Selfridges
  • Journalist, Tatler Magazine
  • Account Manager Interpreting, Smoby (French Toy Company)
  • Senior Administrator, Michelin
  • Public Relations Officers for a number of companies
  • European Union/European Parliament Officers/Assistants
  • PGCE Secondary Teaching Qualification at universities including King’s College London, Warwick University and Exeter
  • Marketing Assistant at Beiersdorf

You will take part in interactive seminars, presentations and group work as well as attending lectures and tutorials. There are also opportunities for individual research and guided study. We teach our French studies courses in French, which means that our students are at a real advantage when it comes to gaining maximum benefit and experience from the year abroad. 

You will be allocated a Personal Tutor when you join us and you will be encouraged to make regular contact with them throughout your studies. Personal Tutors are there to help discuss academic and, in some cases, personal issues. Personal Tutors can also often offer support by writing references for placement/graduate employment and academic research.

Assessment is through a combination of written and oral exams, coursework, essays, translation tasks, presentations and an extended dissertation during your Final Year. Exams take place in January and May/June.

For further information, see the French Joint Honours programme specification and the English Language Joint Honours programme specification.

Dr Graeme Hayes - Senior Lecturer in French 

Graeme Hayes

“I work on social movements, particularly environmental movements, and especially in France. I have just returned from a two-year EU research fellowship in Rennes, working on protest movements such as the current campaign against the construction of a new airport just north of Nantes. My work centres on collective memory, and what I call ‘activist tradition’ – in other words, how contemporary campaigns relate to previous campaigns, how the meaning of the past is a focus of dispute, and how this affects the forms that social movement campaigns take today. I teach a Year 2 module here at Aston called ‘French Society: Conflict & Consensus’, where I get to talk about these issues and ideas – how disputes about the environment, or about industrial relations, or about the education system, or about rioting in the suburbs, aren’t just disputes about what should or shouldn’t happen today and tomorrow – but also what it means to be French, what liberté and égalité and fraternité should be, what the Republic is. It’s great preparation for students about to go on their year abroad!”

Dr Krzysztof Kredens - Director of Undergraduate Programmes in English Language

Dr Kredens

“In my five years at Aston possibly the most flattering praise I received came from a student who said ‘This module messes with my head’. ‘Messing with students’ heads’ is not necessarily what the official course description promises but in my teaching I try and challenge students’ perceptions of what language is and what it can – and cannot – do for them. The key message I try to get across is that understanding the linguistic phenomena we encounter, but rarely notice, on an every-day basis is crucial for understanding and shaping the world around us. We all acquire knowledge in essentially two ways – either through direct experience or from others. For most of our knowledge we have to rely on other people’s perceptions, which, before reaching us, are encoded into language. Language then carries knowledge; once we realise the importance of this simple notion, we can make fully informed and conscious choices as to how we can use language as a powerful tool to achieve certain aims. At Aston our focus is on language use rather than structure. We do make sure our students acquire the relevant theoretical concepts, but our ultimate aim is to show how language works in actual interactions. We focus on the practical applications of English Language studies. We are passionate about teaching and, importantly, use our own research to inform it. As a result our students often have access to the latest research findings even before they are published in academic journals or the media.”

Campus accommodation guaranteed for First Year and Final Year students returning from year abroad.

The Third Year of your course is spent abroad in a French speaking country - increasing your fluency, enhancing your cultural awareness and adding value to your degree. The year abroad is an integral and assessed part of language studies at Aston University, fully supported by us, and of direct relevance to your degree. A distinctive feature of our year abroad is the flexibility that we offer. You will be able to choose between undertaking a paid work-experience placement with a company, working as a teaching assistant in a school or studying at one of our partner universities. We are extremely proud of the high level of preparation, orientation and support that we provide before and during your year abroad. We have a full-time International Placements Team who will give you plenty of individual help and advice, and even come and visit you during your time away. Find out more about the year abroad.

Contact Details

Tel: 0121 204 3777
Emaillss_ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk


Graduate Profile

Graduate Profile

Roberta Smith, Graduate 2013

BSc English Language

I love my course because it opens up so many doors for my future; it isn't the same old stuff from A-level but an exciting development into linguistics and language. My favourite module is one I am studying at the moment called “language of evidence” which is an introduction to Forensic Linguistics.

 

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Fees and funding

Fees and funding

Accommodation

Accommodation

Outstanding graduate career prospects

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