International Relations and French BSc

Study contemporary issues in international relations and policy and hone your skills in French with the BSc International Relations and French degree course at Aston University to get a real head start in your career.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type

Full-time (Hons)

Course format

Integrated international placement

Duration

4 years with integrated placement year /

3 years without integrated placement year (option only available for international/EU students)

UCAS code(s)

LR2C

Start date

Overview
Explore International Relations and French at Aston University

Be part of a school that unites the study of languages, literature, history, culture, politics and sociology to help you tackle the complexity of tomorrow's world.

Here's for the ones who do things differently and carve out their own path

Best University Careers Service Award

Here to support you.

Aston University recognised as the 'Best University Careers/Employability Service' at the National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) Awards 2020.

Rebecca Aylott BSc (Hons) International Relations and French

“Doing a placement has provided me with extremely valuable work experience, and helped me to develop my French language skills. When interviewers see it written on my CV, they are always impressed that I jumped in at the deep end and ventured abroad on my placement year.”

Rebecca Aylott

BSc (Hons) International Relations and French

Rebecca Aylott BSc (Hons) International Relations and French

“Doing a placement has provided me with extremely valuable work experience, and helped me to develop my French language skills. When interviewers see it written on my CV, they are always impressed that I jumped in at the deep end and ventured abroad on my placement year.”

Rebecca Aylott

BSc (Hons) International Relations and French

Course outline and modules

What you’ll learn

Whether you have A Level French or are just a beginner, you can study International Relations and French at Aston. Aston's language degrees offer an up-to-date approach to becoming a highly competent French speaker and a cultural expert on contemporary French-speaking countries.

Crucially, Aston languages degrees aim to prepare you for working life in the 21st century at a time when the world of employment is being revolutionised by artificial intelligence and automation. In this context, they focus closely on helping you develop excellent intercultural understanding, the power of persuasion, empathy, and skills for deep-listening, problem solving and cross-systems thinking. They also offer a series of modules focused on routes into employment, not only in the language industries but right across professional life.

In the final stage of our language degrees it is possible for students to take a series of modules that lead to an additional ‘Translation Studies’ exit award. By acquiring intercultural communication competencies, technological skills and negotiation skills in multicultural contexts, our graduates become equipped for successful careers in the growing international language industries.

The value of a language degree is all the greater when combined with a discipline like international relations. Aston’s International Relations and French degree course offers something quite different. The course takes an applied approach to the teaching of international relations and French through the integrated placement year and professionally relevant modules, focusing on topics of contemporary social and political interest.

You’ll gain a sound knowledge of domestic and international politics and understanding of the nature of global, European and domestic political institutions, which, when combined with the year abroad component of this degree programme, will set you on a strong career path.

Our languages courses have a practical focus, with an emphasis on language as a means of communication and mutual understanding. At Aston, you will acquire near-native linguistic skills and the deep understanding of social, cultural and political realities that marks Aston’s students out.

You will spend a year abroad on a professional or study placement and return equipped with the experience, resilience and emotional intelligence to succeed in the world of work.

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students. Students from over 120 different countries choose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study, it’s also a great place to live.

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability and our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Choosing to start your Aston journey with our foundation programme in social science will help you develop specialist knowledge to ensure that you are fully prepared to study your chosen undergraduate course. During your foundation year, you’ll have excellent support from academics and group projects will give you the chance to meet new people, make new friends and build a network of peers who will share your university journey. We also have a Learning Development Centre that can provide additional support and offer pre-sessional English language programmes.

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new immigration route which will enable international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies to find work. The new post-study work visa will apply to international students starting undergraduate and postgraduate courses from 2020 at universities with a track record of compliance with immigration policy. Click here for more information on post-work visas.

Modules

BSc International Relations and French (Beginner/Ab Initio)
Year 1

Core modules:

  • Introduction to the Concepts and Methods of International Relations
  • Introduction to the European Union
  • French Language Skills I
  • Introduction to Language and Communication

 

Optional modules:

  • The Making of the Modern World
  • What's Trending (Current Affairs in Politics and International Relations)
Year 2

Core modules:

  • International Relations: Theories
  • Critical Approaches to Security Studies
  • French Language Skills II
  • Language and Society in the French-Speaking World

 

Optional modules:

  • West European Politics and Society
  • Russian and East European Politics and Society
  • North American Politics and Society
  • East Asian Politics and Society: China and Japan
  • South Asian Politics and Society
  • International Relations in Political Thought
  • Security Studies: Theories and Issues
  • The Politics and Policies of the European Union
  • International Political Economy
Year 3

Integrated placement year - find out more about the Aston placement year.

Students must undertake a 1 year work and/or study placement in a French-speaking country.

Final Year 

Core modules:

  • French Language Skills III
  • Case Studies in French and Francophone Settings
  • Dissertation/Extended Research Essay

 

Optional modules:

  • A Great Misunderstanding: Britain and the EU
  • African Politics: From the Colonial Period to the Present Day
  • America in the World
  • The American Presidency
  • BRICS and Emerging Power Shifts in World Politics
  • Chinese Politics and Society
  • Conflict and Intervention
  • Democracy, Authoritarianism and Regime Change
  • Diplomacy and Soft Power
  • Ethics and International Relations
  • EuroSim: Learning Negotiation through Simulation Games
  • Gender and Politics
  • Interest Groups and Lobbying
  • International Institutions
  • Nationalism and Political Power
  • Political Communication
  • Leaders and Leadership: Case Studies and Comparative Perspectives
  • Politics and Islam: Past and Present
  • Politics and Protest in a Globalised World
  • Politics of Development
  • Religion and Politics in Contemporary Europe
  • Sport and Politics
  • The International Relations of East Asia
  • The Populist Radical Right in Europe
  • Understanding Foreign Policy
  • Debates in Contemporary British Politics
  • Perspectives in International Business (French)
  • Practical Translation - French
  • Working with the Language Industry
  • Introduction to Language Learning and Teaching
  • Integrated Project

 

Optional modules also include learning an additional language through the University Wide Languages Programme. Dependant on your level of experience, you can choose to learn Arabic, German, Mandarin Chinese or Spanish at beginners, improvers or intermediate level.

BSc International Relations and French (A Level)
Year 1

Core modules:

  • Introduction to the Concepts and Methods of International Relations
  • Introduction to the European Union
  • French Language Skills I
  • Introduction to the French-Speaking Countries
  • Language and Society in the French-Speaking World

 

Optional modules:

  • The Making of the Modern World
  • What's Trending (Current Affairs in Politics and International Relations)
  • Business Context in France
  • Introduction to Language and Communication
Year 2

Core modules:

  • International Relations: Theories
  • Critical Approaches to Security Studies
  • French Language Skills II
  • French Politics and Society

 

Optional modules:

  • West European Politics and Society
  • Russian and East European Politics and Society
  • North American Politics and Society
  • East Asian Politics and Society: China and Japan
  • South Asian Politics and Society
  • International Relations in Political Thought
  • Security Studies: Theories and Issues
  • The Politics and Policies of the European Union
  • International Political Economy
  • International Business and Markets (French)
  • Technology and Intercultural Communication
  • Changing Worlds, Changing Workers
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

 

Optional modules also include learning an additional language through the University Wide Languages Programme. Dependant on your level of experience, you can choose to learn Arabic, German, Mandarin Chinese or Spanish at beginners, improvers or intermediate level.

Year 3

Integrated placement year - find out more about the Aston placement year.

Students must undertake a 1 year work and/or study placement in a French-speaking country.

Final Year 

Core modules:

  • French Language Skills III
  • Case Studies in French and Francophone Settings
  • Dissertation/Extended Research Essay

 

Optional modules:

  • A Great Misunderstanding: Britain and the EU
  • African Politics: From the Colonial Period to the Present Day
  • America in the World
  • The American Presidency
  • BRICS and Emerging Power Shifts in World Politics
  • Chinese Politics and Society
  • Conflict and Intervention
  • Democracy, Authoritarianism and Regime Change
  • Diplomacy and Soft Power
  • Ethics and International Relations
  • EuroSim: Learning Negotiation through Simulation Games
  • Gender and Politics
  • Interest Groups and Lobbying
  • International Institutions
  • Nationalism and Political Power
  • Political Communication
  • Leaders and Leadership: Case Studies and Comparative Perspectives
  • Politics and Islam: Past and Present
  • Politics and Protest in a Globalised World
  • Politics of Development
  • Religion and Politics in Contemporary Europe
  • Sport and Politics
  • The International Relations of East Asia
  • The Populist Radical Right in Europe
  • Understanding Foreign Policy
  • Debates in Contemporary British Politics
  • Perspectives in International Business (French)
  • Practical Translation - French
  • Working with the Language Industry
  • Introduction to Language Learning and Teaching
  • Integrated Project

 

Optional modules also include learning an additional language through the University Wide Languages Programme. Dependant on your level of experience, you can choose to learn Arabic, German, Mandarin Chinese or Spanish at beginners, improvers or intermediate level.

Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.

Entry requirements

This course is available for both beginners (ab initio) and post A Level.

Typical offers:

A Levels

BBC (standard offer)

BCC (with EPQ or Core Maths minimum grade B)

CCC (contextual offer*)

This course is available at beginners level (ab initio), therefore students do not need to have an A Level in French. Students with an A Level in French will be able to study the advanced version of this course.
IB

29 points overall with grades 5, 5, 4 in 3 higher level subjects.

Standard level Maths and English grade 5 required in lieu of GCSE English and Maths grade C/4.

BTEC, Access & other

BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM (standard offer)

BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM (contextual offer*)

The University also accepts the BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate/BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma and BTEC Level 3 National Diploma/BTEC Level 3 Diploma for entry onto degree programmes, provided that they are studied in combination with other qualifications that are equivalent to three full A2 Levels.

Pass Access to HE Diploma with Distinction / Merit in each module. Humanities, Social Sciences or Business Access course preferred, but other courses considered on an individual basis.

Further requirements

5 GCSE grades A*/9 – C/4 to include:

GCSE Maths – grade C/4

GCSE English Language or English Literature – grade C/4

Learn more about admission to this course

View our Admissions Policy.

All applications are considered on an individual basis and the whole application is reviewed carefully, including previous and predicted qualifications, experience, reference and your motivation to study the course. Whilst the grades listed here are our entry requirements, we understand that predicted grades are only an estimate. We will therefore consider applicants with predicted grades that fall below these entry requirements if the application is of a high standard. However, any offer made will not be lower than stated above.

*Click here for details on our Aston Ready contextual offer scheme.

Entry onto our Foundation Programme may be offered as an alternative to the degree course if lower entry grades are achieved. Aston University welcomes applications from students with a wide range of qualifications from the UK and overseas, including combinations of qualifications. If your qualifications are not listed here and you wish to check whether they meet the entry requirements for this course, please contact the university.

International students

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements.

For more information about qualifications view our Aston in your country webpage.

Learning, teaching and assessment

Learning and teaching

As an international relations and modern languages student at Aston, you’ll be taught by research experts with international reputations in their fields, all in a lively, friendly, experienced and enthusiastic department. You’ll experience our innovative approach to teaching, which combines a range of teaching methods including interactive seminars, presentations and group work as well as attending lectures and tutorials. Language teaching is almost exclusively in your chosen language to work quickly towards the kind of fluency and adaptability that employers value. There are also opportunities for individual research and guided study.

Study skills

The scheduled contact hours are only part of your learning and development journey. There is a much stronger emphasis on reading and on your own private, independent study than at pre-degree level. The University offers training courses in study skills, and the Library’s Learning Development Centre provides one-to-one instruction, workshops and study guides for academic research and writing. You will be allocated an academic supervisor to help you with your final year dissertation and a personal tutor who can provide you with help and advice throughout your studies. To help you manage your learning, we set out your work for the year in online student guides and module handouts, which include full details of all modules including week-by-week lecture breakdowns, reading lists and all coursework assignments for the year.

Assessment

Assessment is through a combination of written and oral exams, coursework, essays, translation tasks, individual and group projects, presentations and an extended dissertation during your final year. Exams take place in January and May/June. The year abroad is an integral and assessed part of language studies at Aston, fully supported by us, and of direct relevance to your degree.

Personal development

Alongside your language skills, you will have the opportunity to develop a range of skills that transfer to the workplace. These include critical thinking, team working and communication skills, in addition to international and cross-cultural competence, tangible benefits that employers value.

The integrated placement year gives you an immersive language experience that is invaluable in developing experience, knowledge and cultural awareness that cannot be replicated in the lecture hall.

Placement year

The integrated placement year gives you the genuine, practical work experience that is invaluable in developing an appreciation of issues such as office politics, which cannot be replicated in the lecture room.

We have a dedicated Employer Team within our Careers and Placements department who have links with local, national and international organisations and advertise vacancies to students through an online platform exclusively for Aston students and graduates.  

Find out more about the Aston placement year, and view the careers and placements page.

Programme Director(s)

Dr Yaprak Gursoy (International Relations)

Dr Claudia Gremler (Languages)

Fees and scholarships

UK students (2021/22)

Annual tuition fees: £9,250

During placement year: £1,250

International/EU students (2021/22)

Annual tuition fees: £15,950

During placement year: £2,500

The United Kingdom government has confirmed that European Union (EU), other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals commencing academic courses in England from August 2021 will no longer be charged the same tuition rates as home students. Further information can be found here.

Tuition fees for students are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. Any such increase shall always be in accordance with the law. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies.

More information on fees

Scholarships

At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs. Find out more about our scholarships here.

Career prospects

Our international relations and modern languages graduates are in demand from a wide range of employers, with former Aston students now working at companies such as Bloomberg LP, Deutsche Bank and Apple, as well as for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and in schools, colleges and universities across the UK and overseas.

Recent graduates have gone on to work in roles including Analyst, EFL Teacher, International Sales Coordinator, HR Coordinator, Languages Teacher, Operations Support Analyst, Senior Project Manager and Translator.

Best University Careers Service Award

Aston University was recognised as the 'Best University Careers/Employability Service'.

The Careers and Placements team at Aston University won the 'Best University Careers/Employability Service' category at the National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) Awards 2020 for its use of innovative ideas to engage a high number of students with the service in order to support them with their career planning.

Aston University has strong links with national and international organisations with over 200 employers interacting with students on campus each year.

Frequently asked questions

Why study International Relations and French BSc at Aston?

Our versatile joint honours degree course means you can pursue your interest in international relations alongside your talent for French, which will give you a real head start in your chosen career.

Why study modern languages at Aston?

You’ll acquire near-native linguistic fluency in your chosen language, which means you’re at a real advantage when it comes to applying for jobs. What’s more, the integrated placement year abroad will give you the high-level political, social and cultural insights that make Aston’s students stand out. We’ll make sure you’re happy: modern languages at Aston are ranked 5th for teaching satisfaction.

What jobs can I get with a modern languages degree?

Recent graduates are often our best ambassadors, with former Aston students now working at companies such as Bloomberg LP, Deutsche Bank and Apple, as well as for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and in schools, colleges and universities across the UK and overseas.

Why do a placement year at Aston?

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 - you might even choose to combine two of these options. 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 Careers and Placements Team who will give you plenty of individual help and advice, and even come and visit you during your time away.

Why should international students choose Aston University?

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our undergraduate programmes. Students from over 120 different countries choose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study, it’s also a great place to live.

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career.

Choosing to start your Aston journey with our foundation programme in social science will help you develop specialist knowledge to ensure that you are fully prepared to study your chosen undergraduate course.

 

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