.

BSc French and German

Why choose this course?

  • The Complete University Guide 2014 ranked German at Aston joint 2nd for Graduate Prospects (85%) out of 44 universities
  • 2nd (84%) for Graduate Level Destinations six months after graduation, Guardian, 2014
  • Fully integrated year abroad with extensive preparation and support offered
  • French at Aston is ranked 11th in the UK for Employability in the Complete University Guide 2015.

4 years full-time with integrated year abroad

UCAS Code: RR12

Typical Offers
A Levels:
 ABB - BBB from 3 A-levels, including French and German Grade B.  General Studies accepted. 

If your predicted grades are close to those stated in Aston's typical offers and if you are interested in Aston University and the courses we offer we encourage you to apply to us as one of your 5 UCAS choices. In addition to your predicted grades, when making offers we also consider your previous academic performance (eg AS grades, GCSEs), your school/college reference and the commitment and motivation you demonstrate for your chosen course via the personal statement. Applicants and their teachers/advisers are welcome to contact us with individual queries about entry qualifications via lss_ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk.

View our Admissions Policy. 

IB: 32-33 points in the IB diploma including TOK/Bonus points. Standard level Maths and English 5 required and 6 in Higher Level French and German.
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 and German or equivalent required.
BTEC: National Extended Diploma DDD.   A-level grade B in French and German 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.

By the end of our programme you will be able to work effectively in a professional German-speaking environment. Our focus is on the practical application of a range of skills within their wider context. Your linguistic skills will reach near-native proficiency, acquired through a combination of up-to-date modules and a well structured and supervised year abroad. You will also acquire transferable skills such as teamwork and independent research. These will be essential for any of the career choices the course will open up for you. Teaching is conducted in a stimulating environment by internationally renowned experts in their field. Almost all courses are taught in German and provide in-depth insights into current affairs. Subject specialisms include German society, film studies, socio-linguistics, translation studies, popular culture, literature, history and politics, and business studies.

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

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%).

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: German

Module content: This is the core language skills module for first-year students which provides a solid linguistic basis for the coming years of study. The module consists of three parts: a) grammar lecture, revising the major topics of German grammar; b) communication skills seminars, practising written and oral language skills with group work, whole-class work and individual study; and c) an e-learning component comprising listening skills, vocabulary and general knowledge of the German-speaking areas.

Method of learning and teaching: Seminar, group work, individual work, role-play, presentations, self-access learning

Assessment method: Exam (70%), class assignments (20%)

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: 20

Module content: The module provides students with knowledge of nineteenth- and twentieth-century history and area studies as an essential intellectual basis for the modules in the Second and Final years. Landeskunde lectures give students a basic knowledge of the German speaking countries, including geography, political systems, education systems, and aspects of the economy. In the second half of the module students are introduced to major events in German history from the late nineteenth century to the end of National Socialism, and their lasting effects on modern Germany are examined.

Method of learning and teaching: 

2 contact hours per week throughout the academic year.  

Students are taught through task-oriented work; seminar work; lectures; presentations; interpretation of pre-selected source texts; guidance for independent research and focussed academic study skills elements.

Assessment method
: Exam (25%), oral presentation (25%), essay (50%), research skills portfolio (pass/fail).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: German

Module content: The topical content areas are determined by respective current events reported in the German news media. These serve as a platform to discuss wider issues in German politics, society, economy and culture. Examples can include elections, public debates, or major events. Students will also be made familiar with the nature and political affiliations of different newspapers and other media.

Method of learning and teaching: Two contact hours per week, to include lecture, seminar, structured discussions, group work, oral presentations, supervision of independent research. 

Assessment method: speech (25%); group discussion (25%; two letters to the editor (50%).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: German

Module content: The course deals with the following topics: spoken and written language; standard language; the development of a German standard language; the difference between language and dialect; language policy and language planning; German minority languages and linguistic minorities in Germany; language contact: the example of English borrowings into German.

Assessment method: oral poster presentation (20%), exam (80%).

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: 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%).

In this module, students are introduced to translation from German into English. It consists of two parts: a) textual skills with a focus on differences in grammar and word building in German and English; b) translation practice from German into English focusing on culture-specifics and text conventions.

Assessment method: grammar and vocabulary exam and translation exam.

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: German

Module content: This module consolidates and develops the first-year work on all aspects of German language, using a variety of formats including class discussion, small-group or individual projects, and guided self-study. The module has two components: a) academic writing and communication skills in German; b) a set of independent learning tasks delivered by e-learning.

Method of learning and teaching: Seminars, group work, individual work, role-play, presentations, self-access learning (especially in the ILT component).

Students are encouraged to watch German TV or listen to German radio on a regular basis. A list of the main newspapers, radio stations and TV-channels accessed via the Internet will be provided.  

Assessment method: written examination (50%), oral presentation (25%), oral exam (25%), essay and portfolio of self-study materials (pass/fail).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: German

Module content: This module follows on from the Level One history course and provides students with solid knowledge and understanding of Germany from 1945 to the present day. The focus is on major events and themes of post-war history along with contemporary German politics, society, economy and culture. Topic areas include nationhood, division and reunification, the German political system and Germany’s place in Europe and the world.

Method of learning and teaching: Weekly two-hour lectures, to include structured discussion, buzz groups, team-work.

Assessment method: Group presentation (20%), written exam (80%).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: German

Module content: The module concentrates on specific topic areas in German society, culture, politics, and economy since 1990 (‘Berlin Republic’). These include, for example, reunification problems, elections, and multiculturalism. The topic areas chosen in a given year are related to current affairs. Students are given the opportunity to apply the tools and knowledge-base acquired in Teaching Period 1 (Postwar Germany) to critically engage with, and keep informed about, German current affairs.

Method of learning and teaching: Weekly two-hour classes, to include lecture elements, seminars, structured discussions, group work, oral presentations.

Assessment method: Essay (75%), group-discussion (25%).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: German

Module content: This seminar opens up perspectives on the second German-speaking country, with special reference to the similarities and dissimilarities between Austria and Germany. It thus develops the knowledge acquired in German History and Society (Level One) and Post war Germany (Level Two), and increases students’ awareness of the role of regional differences. Topics covered include Austrian political history, Austrian language and culture, and contemporary Austrian society.

Method of learning and teaching: Lecture, seminar, oral presentations, guided study of original documents and texts, supervised research, consultation for essay preparation

Assessment method: 2000-word essay in German (80%), class presentation with handout (20%).

Year 3 - Year Abroad
Final Year

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%).

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: German and English

Module content: In this module, students work on aspects of written and spoken German at an advanced level. The module has four components: a) translation from German into English; b) debates; c) genre-specific writing with a focus on accuracy and style; abstracting from German into English with a focus on accurate reading and the skills of linguistic mediation; d) independent learning using a structured set of advanced grammar exercises to improve accuracy in German.

Method of learning and teaching: Seminars, group-work, individual study. 

Assessment method: translation into English (25%), group debate (15%), written report in German (10%), three-hour examination (50%) and a portfolio of grammar work (pass/fail).

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: German

Module content: This module runs through the whole of the final year and draws together the skills students have acquired throughout the programme. It involves choosing a research topic from the areas of German history, politics, economics, language or culture; researching this; and writing it up in an extended essay in academic German. The written project is complemented by an oral defence of the project in German. Students attend weekly seminars on research skills and individual supervision tutorials.

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: research project (5,000-6,000 words) and viva.

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: German

Module content: This module develops students’ ability to analyse film in a socio-historical context. It aims to deepen understanding and appreciation of film as an art form and as a medium to express and reflect discourses on German history as well as current social developments in Germany. Currently, the module focuses on the cinematic portrayal of German division and unification. It touches on questions of memory politics and introduces students to relevant theoretical concepts in that area.

Method of learning and teaching: Four two-hour seminars will introduce the students to the topic, will provide further input in the shape of background information and a theoretical framework and will give students the opportunity to discuss the films they have watched independently. Students will watch films on a fortnightly basis and complete written assignments (set via Blackboard) applying their knowledge of both film theory and of contemporary German society. Students will also evaluate examples of film criticism from German newspapers and will produce their own film reviews.   

Assessment method: 2-hour written, video based examination at the end of the Teaching Period (50%), 5 written tasks to be completed during teaching time, in weeks without seminars (10% each).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: German

Module content: This module builds on the level 2 Post war Germany module as well as first-hand experience acquired during the Year Abroad. Students enhance their familiarity with the popular culture of Germany and Austria from a variety of perspectives: art, literature, music, media, society, politics, and philosophy.

Methods of learning and teaching: Weekly seminars, which will involve a variety of learning activities such as group work, individual work, guided study in preparation for the assessed essay.

Assessment method: Essay (100%).

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:  

  • British Council Language Assistants
  • Deutsche Bank - Proxy Event Management

 

  • Marriott Hotels and Resorts - Sales and Marketing Coordinator
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers – Graduate Associate

 

  • Ernst & Young – Graduate Associate
  • Sainsbury’s – Graduate Buyer

 

  • Santander - Graduate Trainee
  • TK Maxx - Graduate Scheme Buyer

 

  • Boots - Graduate Trainee Manager
  • KPMG - Graduate Trainee Accountant

 

  • Harrods - Graduate Management Scheme
  • Acco - Marketing Executive

 

  • Teach First - Trainee Teachers
  • L’oreal - Development Assistant

 

  • Nestle - Trade Marketing Executive
  • LIDL - PR Graduate Scheme

 

  • Wokana and associates - Translator/Proof-reader/Interpreter

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 German Joint Honours programme specification and the French Joint Honours programme specification.

Dr Stefan Manz - Senior Lecturer and Head of German  

Stefan Manz

“At Aston, research is not an ‘ivory tower’ activity but a way of engaging with the world around us. We aim to make a real impact through our research – and that begins in the classroom. My own teaching is always informed by the latest thinking in my areas of specialism, which include migration studies, German history and society, and European Studies. A recent example is my volume on EU-enlargement. The material is perfect to be used in my seminar on German Politics and Society. Should Turkey join the European Union? Should Greece leave? Why does Croatia join and not Serbia? And what about the UK? After I chart Germany’s position on these questions, students engage in lively and sometimes controversial small-group discussion about the nature of the European Union. This is just one example of how my research feeds into and enlivens my teaching. We aim to equip our students with an in-depth and relevant understanding of the modern world. Our research helps us to achieve this aim.”

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!”


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


Student Profile

Student Profile

Sarah-Jane Poole

BSc French and German

Most of my classes are small, which means it was easy to get to know everyone quickly. There is a very strong sense of community within LSS and I’ve made some brilliant friends on my course. The facilities in LSS are of a very high standard, with computers always available to use and a DVD library where you can loan foreign language DVDs.

 

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Fees and funding

Fees and funding

Accommodation

Accommodation

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