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BSc French

Why choose this course?

  • 2nd (84%) for Graduate Level Destinations six months after graduation, Guardian, 2014
  • Excellent student feedback in successive National Student Surveys (NSS)

  • French at Aston is ranked 11th in the UK for Employability in the Complete University Guide 2015.

  • This subject line at Aston is ranked Top 15 in the UK for student satisfaction in the Guardian University Guide 2015.

4 years full-time with integrated year abroad  

UCAS Code: R120

Typical Offers: 
A Levels: ABB - BBB from 3 A-levels, including French Grade B. General Studies accepted. 
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.
IB: 32-33 points in the IB diploma including TOK/Bonus points. Standard level Maths and English 5 required and 6 n Higher Level French. 

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.

French can be studied as a Single Honours subject, or combined with a selection of other subjects as a Joint Honours programme. Whichever combination you choose, the course builds each year on your key language skills – listening, oral, reading and writing, and of course your accuracy and understanding of grammar – to encourage you to express yourself with increasing sophistication, fluency and complexity. The thematic modules focus on politics and society, media, cultural studies and linguistics. Each year you will develop your knowledge, understanding and analytical skills. The Third Year is spent abroad on a work placement, at an exchange university, or on an assistantship. On returning to Aston in your Final Year, you can take an independent study module (dissertation) on a subject of your choice.

Sample module options: The following module descriptions are indications only -  the University reserves the right to change the modules on offer, the module content and the assessment methods.

Year 1

Core modules:

Number of credits: 20


Language of delivery: French

 

Module content: This module is designed to improve your language skills and to develop your fluency and accuracy, in both written and oral production. Key areas of focus include the production of academic texts (summary, essay), the revision and reinforcement of grammar, and the ability to communicate and to argue in a structured and appropriate format.

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: 20

Language of delivery: French

Module content: This module offers an introduction to the study of French history. Starting with the Revolution of 1789, it provides an overview of major events and processes which have shaped the course of modern French history, examining the enduring significance of the past for contemporary France. Key historical events and personalities are considered against a historical backdrop of political turbulence, regime change and the continuous debate over what constitutes the French ‘value system’.

Method of learning and teaching: One lecture (one hour) every second week and one seminar (one hour) on the alternate weeks, plus private study. The lectures will provide the key elements to understand and further develop each topic through individual research.

The seminars will be dedicated to deepening students’ understanding of issues discussed in lectures and consolidating their familiarisation with the relevant vocabulary in French. Seminars will also encourage the development of each key theme and provide the opportunity to clarify and deepen some aspects of the theme in general discussion.

Assessment method: Exam (100%).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: English and French

Module content: This module provides a general introduction to film studies as an academic discipline for students of French, covering analytical aspects such as mise-en-scène, use of sound and montage as well as the history of film and European cinema. Bi-weekly lectures in English introduce students to film as a medium for both artistic expression and social critique. Bi-weekly seminars allow students to maintain a strong focus on working in their chosen foreign language.

Method of learning and teaching: Bi-weekly lectures and seminars, complemented by self-study portfolio tasks in the target language. Students are provided with glossaries to familiarise them with film studies terminology in both English and the target language. These projects are supervised in French and guidance for independent research is given.   

Method of assessment: portfolio of 3 film analysis tasks in French (30%), essay (70%).

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: French

Module content: The aim of this module is to provide a basic grounding in French culture. Amongst a range of different texts, we focus on contemporary literature (looking at writers such as Camus and Ernaux) and on the cinema of La Nouvelle Vague. Group activities centre on text analysis and discussion, with particular emphasis on the themes of alienation and protest or contestation. Above all, the module aims to provide you with the tools to analyse, discuss and enjoy aspects of contemporary culture.

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%).

Year 2

Core modules:

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: French
 
Assessment method: Exam (80%), grammar test (20%).  

Module content: This module aims to develop your proficiency in spoken French to a standard which enables you to communicate effectively and confidently with French native speakers and sustain a work or study placement in a French-speaking country, as well as to broaden your knowledge of contemporary French society and culture.

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.

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: Enlglish and French

Module content: This module aims to develop your awareness of translation problems and your research skills, focusing on the translation process from English to French. Texts for preparation, analysis and translation are distributed weekly, from a range of text types of immediate topical, or contemporary, interest. We take a functionalist approach as our basic framework of analysis.

Methods of learning and teaching: Each one-hour seminar will involve discussion of potential problems in a text that has been analysed and translated at home, with discussion of translation solutions supported by relevant documentary research.


Texts for weekly practice will illustrate a range of text types: journalistic, legal, advertising, semi-specialised reports on scientific and/or technical subjects. During the course the emphasis will shift from production accompanied by text analysis to a greater focus on text production, bringing into play all the criteria studied previously.

Assessment method: take-away paper, translation English into French (100%).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: English (with some reading in French)

Module content: The module will be based on three thematic blocks, plus one two-hour slot of consultations in preparation for the assessed essay. Block 1 (two teaching weeks): Theories of cultural importation. Block 2 (six teaching weeks): History of literary translation in major European countries (with a focus on French speaking countries). During this block, each week’s work will consist of an overview lecture, discussion exercises and a student presentation on a short text or pair of texts set by the lecturer. Block 3 (two teaching weeks): Continuities and change: literary translation in Europe today. Present-day translation practice in Western Europe (including children’s literature, film, literary criticism); ethical aspects of literary translation

Method of learning and teaching: Each week students are introduced to theoretical arguments and to particular historical case studies, in the form of a short formal lecture, a student group presentation, and related discussion exercises. In most cases a short text will be set for preparation before class, encouraging students to process and evaluate the information presented in the lecture. Student presentations consolidate the lecture content by applying it to a case study. The topic of the assessed essay may be theoretical or a case study. For both presentations and essays, students are encouraged to work with primary sources in English and French / German / Spanish.

Assessment method: 

One oral presentation to be done in class (20%)
500-word essay on a topic relating to the course, to be written in English (80%) 

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: 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%).

Year 3 - Year Abroad
Final Year

Core modules:

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.
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.

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.

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

 Language of delivery: French

Module content: This module introduces you to a range of critical discourses about technology in France since 1945, examining utopian and dystopian views of technology’s influence in the writings of a range of French intellectuals. Classes focus on atomic technology, cyberculture, the influence of speed, and the impact of technology on social, political and cultural life in the past and in the future.
Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: French 

Module content: This module presents the French language through its use in authentic documents, as opposed to representations in grammars. More specifically, it focuses on how particular linguistic forms lose or develop functions over time. The module is split between presentation of areas of contemporary language variation and change and a group research project.

Method of learning and teaching: Weekly lecture and seminar delivered in French.

Assessment method: Seminar work (40%), report (60%).

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%).

2nd  (84%) for Graduate Level Destinations six months after graduation, Guardian, 2014


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 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 Single Honours programme specification.

Helene Stafford

''As a lecturer in French at Aston University for the past 16 years, I have seen a vast number of our students graduate with a good degree in French and go on to graduate-level jobs. The relatively small French section provides a welcoming and nurturing environment, in which our students can thrive. Almost all teaching is delivered in French, which provides our students with an excellent level of written and spoken French, as well as in depth knowledge of francophone culture. Studying French at Aston University will guarantee an enriching experience, and provide you with the means to go on to a great future career!''


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.

Campus accommodation guaranteed for First Year and Final Year students returning from the Year Abroad.

Contact Details

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


Graduate Profile

Graduate Profile

Ria Bush, Graduate 2013

BSc Translation Studies French

The French department at Aston is so close-knit; you become friends with your lecturers. There is no doubt that the lecturers are the best in their field and this is shown through their teaching and lessons. When I graduate this summer I already have a graduate job lined up - I am going to be working as an Assistant Director at Explore Learning!

 

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Fees and funding

Fees and funding

Accommodation

Accommodation

Outstanding graduate career prospects

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