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French is one of the most beautiful and widely spoken Romance languages. Outside of France, it is spoken as far afield as Canada, the Seychelles, Madagascar and Mali. It is one of the official languages of the United Nations, and an important language within the institutions of the EU.
The University of Kent is an ideal location to study French. Canterbury is the closest British university city to mainland Europe, and our proximity to the Channel ports and Ashford International station means you can be in Paris in just a couple of hours. There are also many French-speaking students on campus, so you have a better chance to immerse yourself in the language than at any other university in the country.
At Kent, we have a wide range of links with French, Canadian, Belgian and Swiss universities. During your year abroad, as part of an Erasmus exchange programme, you could begin to study for a French qualification (Licence), or alternatively you can gain work experience by becoming a language assistant in a French school or pursuing other career paths. Our link with the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris also gives any student at Kent the opportunity to sit for the internationally recognised diplomas offered by that body.
As a student of French at Kent, you work in lectures, seminars and one-to-one tutorials with staff who are specialists in art, literature, film, women’s studies, philosophy, critical theory and linguistics, as well as with our team of language lectors who are native speakers.
Dr David Hornsby, Senior Lecturer in French and Linguistics, talks about the life-changing experience of his year abroad and discovering sociolinguistics.
French at Kent scored 92.7 out of 100 in The Complete University Guide 2019.
In The Guardian University Guide 2019, over 91% of final-year Modern Languages and Linguistics students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.
Teaching Excellence Framework
All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.
Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.
Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.
On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.
|Optional modules may include||Credits|
FR300 - French Lower Intermediate B1
This module is for Post-A-level students and students who have mastered level A2 but not yet B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). On successfully completing the module students will have mastered level B1. The emphasis in this course is on furthering knowledge of the structure of the language as well as vocabulary and cultural insights while further developing the speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.View full module details
FR330 - French Beginners A1-A2 (Intensive)
This is an intensive module for absolute beginners, Post-GCSE students and students who have not yet mastered level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). On successfully completing the module students will have mastered level A2. The emphasis in this course is on acquiring a sound knowledge of the structure of the language as well as basic vocabulary and cultural insights while developing the speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.View full module details
FR337 - Texts and Contexts 1
This module, which covers the period from the 17th century to the First World War, examines through the study of relevant literary and other texts some of the major historical, cultural, social, political and literary movements of France and its colonies during this era. Close textual analysis will be combined with study of the texts' various contexts: the module encourages students to analyse cultural artefacts in connection with the historical, social and cultural contexts and discourses within which they were created. The choice of primary materials covers a wide variety of genres: letters, drama, fiction, political texts, travel writing. Students will learn to adopt critical strategies to analyse all of these sources, and to reflect on moments of major historical and cultural significance in the development of modern France. Events such as the French Revolution, the Paris Commune and the Dreyfus Affair will be analysed as they are represented in the chosen primary texts. Students will be encouraged to consider questions of national and other forms of identity in France and in the Francophone world more generally as they are mediated through cultural production, thinking through the stereotypes often used to characterise nations, their citizens/subjects and their history.View full module details
FR338 - Texts and Contexts 2
This module, which covers the period from World War I to the present day, examines some of the major historical, cultural, social, political and literary movements of France and its former colonies during this era. Close textual analysis will be combined with study of the texts' various contexts: the module encourages students to analyse cultural artefacts in connection with the historical, social and cultural discourses and contexts within which they were produced. The choice of primary materials covers a wide variety of genres: fiction, political texts, cultural criticism, popular song, film. Students will learn to adopt critical strategies to analyse all of these sources, and to reflect on moments of major historical and cultural significance in the development of contemporary France. Events such as the Second World War, the formation of the 5th Republic, North African and South-East Asian decolonisation and contemporary debates about 'laïcité’ will be analysed as they are represented in the chosen primary texts. Students will be encouraged to consider questions of identity – and their mediation through cultural production – in France and in the Francophone world more generally, thinking through the stereotypes often used to characterise nations, their citizens or colonial subjects, and their history.View full module details
FR301 - Introduction to French Literature and Culture I
This module is designed to introduce students to French literature, culture and history by the close study of a number of dramatic texts from the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. The authors studied use drama to explore a wide variety of themes: religious, philosophical, political, literary and social questions will be examined as they are raised in each text. Students will undertake close readings of the primary texts and will make connections with broader political, social, historical and cultural issues.View full module details
FR302 - Introduction to French Literature and Culture II
This module is designed to introduce students to the range and variety of French literature by the close study of a number of short fictional texts from the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. The authors studied use short fiction to explore a wide variety of themes: philosophical, political, and social questions will be examined as they are raised in each text. Students will undertake close readings of the primary texts and will make connections with broader political, social and cultural issues.View full module details
FR308 - Questions of French Cinema
This module will provide students with a basic knowledge of the most important periods of French cinema (including experimental cinema, the nouvelle vague, Beur cinema, the 1980s 'cinéma du look') and introduce key film concepts such as the ‘politique des auteurs’. Students will gain experience in critical reading and viewing, in close analysis of films, texts and issues, and in developing arguments in French. They will also be introduced to the skills of presentation and the sustaining of cogent argument. The module will examine a number of films from the 1920s to the present which illustrate the scope and development of French cinema. While most of the films are now regarded as canonical, a major aim of the module is to place the works in context so as to emphasise their radical and often transgressive power.View full module details
FR310 - Twentieth Century France in Crisis
This module explores how four major 'crises' in twentieth-century France are reflected in cinema: World War I, World War II, the Algerian crisis, and the events of May 1968. Some films are made not long after the events depicted with events, whereas others were made decades later. The module will combine study of the historical periods depicted with analysis of the set films. Through its study of major international conflicts, the occupation of France, a war of decolonisation and a major student and worker revolt, the module will explore themes such as socio-political agendas, nationalist ideology, colonisation and decolonisation, and the politics of (collective and individual) memory.View full module details
|Optional modules may include||Credits|
FR648 - French Upper Intermediate B2
This module is an intermediate level module. Its aims are to strengthen and widen the linguistic knowledge provided in FREN3000 (French Lower Intermediate B1), to consolidate students' vocabulary and improve their knowledge of written and spoken French through immersion in a variety of texts, and to practise translation skills both from and into French.View full module details
FR652 - French Intermediate B1-B2 (Intensive)
This module is the natural follow-on for those who have, in the previous academic year, successfully taken an intensive beginners French course such as FR330, and who have covered the basics of grammar, acquired a stock of high frequency vocabulary and reached a degree of proficiency beyond GCSE and approaching A-level (A2 waystage in terms of the Common European Framework of Reference).
This module is designed to allow students, upon completion, to demonstrate a level of ability up to B2 threshold, turning students into independent users of French in both oral and written contexts. The course is thus also designed to prepare students for their year abroad and independent life in France as a foreign country. This module is an intensive course, which develops the student's active and passive aural and written skills.View full module details
SCL505 - Cultures of Sustainability
What is sustainability? It has been defined in many ways, but the most frequently quoted definition is from 'Our Common Future', also known as the Brundtland Report (1987) which refers to 'development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.' While the concept of sustainability has its roots in the natural sciences, it is becoming evident that theories and practices of sustainability are of relevance in social and cultural studies as much as biophysical relationships.
The module begins with an examination of the wide-ranging definitions of sustainability and of the contribution to the discourse from Humanities subjects. We proceed to analyse a range of case studies representing the four disciplines of Modern Languages in SECL at Kent: French, German, Italian and Hispanic Studies. The case studies highlight cultural practices ranging across time periods and geographies in which sustainable processes are key. They may include the cultural history of sustainability or 'Nachhaltigkeit' in the German context; the Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna, Italy; the debate in psychoanalysis on the themes of exploitation/sustainability and competition/cooperation in relation to ecological practices and the environment; the works of Martinique author Patrick Chamoiseau and the challenges to French/Eurocentric concepts of sustainability; and the culture and practice of urban organic farming – organopónicos – that arose out of the economic crisis in Cuba in the 1990s and which have circular economics, cultural development and educational practices at their core.
The module concludes with a consideration of how the case studies illustrate theories and practices of sustainability, and how in turn they may be considered catalysts for further engagement in questions of sustainabilityView full module details
FR620 - Memory and Childhood in 20th Century French Fiction
It is commonly accepted that identity or a sense of self is constructed by and through narrative – the stories we tell each other and ourselves about our lives. This module explores the complex relationships that exist between memory, nostalgia, writing and identity in a range of twentieth-century autobiographical and first- and third-person fictional works in French. These texts foreground issues of childhood, memory, history, and trauma in the construction of identity.View full module details
FR638 - French Detective Fiction
Detective fiction is an extremely popular genre whose basic template can give rise to a multitude of approaches, settings, plots and values. This course is designed to give students an overview of the tradition of French crime fiction as it has evolved from the mid-19th century to the early 21st century. Short crime fiction, full crime novels, and film will be analysed. Close attention will be paid to generic conventions, and how they alter over time. Questions of social order and disorder will be central to our enquiry. We will also study the extent to which detective novels mount a critique of contemporary society. All texts will be studied in French. Tuition is given partly in English and partly in French.View full module details
FR546 - Short Narrative Fiction in French
This module will introduce a selection of short narrative fiction in French drawn from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It will reflect on the techniques and forms used by a number of authors and inquire whether short fictions tend to display common features. The authors chosen use the form in a wide variety of ways, from illustrating a philosophical position to dramatising an ethical dilemma or even questioning the conventions of fiction themselves. The texts will be considered with some reference to concepts drawn from general theory of narrative.View full module details
FR566 - French: Second Year Extended Essay
The module is an opportunity to embark on extended written analysis of a chosen area of study, related to, but not part of, another stage two French non-language module. It culminates in the presentation of an essay, normally in English, of 6,000 words.View full module details
FR590 - Professional French
Students are taken through essential aspects of the conduct of business in France (and French-speaking countries), both learning about those aspects and becoming familiar with specific features of the French language encountered in a professional context. In terms of key skills, business skills and language skills, encourages the practice of meticulous accuracy.
As an option, students may register for the Diplôme de français professionnel Affaires B1 (DFP B1) of the Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie de Paris Ile-de-France (CCIP). The syllabus of FR590 closely follows some of the pedagogical requirements of the business French programme of the CCIP.View full module details
FR593 - Paris: Myth and Reality in the 19th century
Among the capital cities of Europe, Paris has a particularly rich and interesting history. In the revolution of 1789 and subsequent political upheavals in the course of the nineteenth century (1830, 1848, 1870-71), the city played a key role in deciding the fate of the nation. In the same period, it grew dramatically in size and emerged as a modern metropolis. Widely divergent views were expressed as to the wholesomeness of city living; opinion differed equally violently among writers as to the benefits to be derived from the explosive growth of the city. The module will examine conditions of life in the real Paris of the 19th Century and in particular the radical and highly controversial changes to the face of the city brought about during the Second Empire under the direction of Baron Haussmann. The main focus of the module, however, will be the images of the city as mediated in contemporary fiction (Balzac and Zola amongst others), poetry (Baudelaire) and painting (Manet's vision of city life).View full module details
FR594 - Paris: Myth and Reality in the 20th century
Among the capital cities of Europe, Paris has a particularly rich and exciting history. It played, for example, a key role during the revolution of 1789 and subsequent political upheavals in the course of the 19th century. This module explores the different and evolving representations of Paris of the 20th century in the context of modernity and postmodernity. Although the main focus of the course will be literary, including poetry and fiction, there will also be examination of the changing landscape of the capital as mediated through film and in visual art (Cubist paintings of Paris). Thematic focuses of the module include: immigrant experience in Paris; young protagonists' quest for identity in Paris; social and urban change.View full module details
FR598 - Occupation and Resistance in the French Novel
This module will examine ways in which this turbulent and divisive period of French history is reflected in imaginative writing. Some texts are nearly contemporaneous with events; others reflect collective memory of the Occupation across generations. Questions raised will include: problems of realistic description and of narrative technique; the relationship of the individual to events beyond his/her control; conflicting loyalties and responsibilities; Resistance and occupation as metaphor; the mode rétro in French fiction since the 1960s. A certain amount of historical background reading will be essential.View full module details
FR599 - Description of Modern French
Written and spoken French are now, arguably, so far apart as to constitute distinct varieties. Unlike most French modules, this module will take the latter as its starting point. The phonology (sound system) will first be explored, and basic transcription skills acquired, with consideration of recent and ongoing changes in the general system known as français standard. The module will then move on to consider the gap between written and spoken French grammar, notably in such areas as the tense/mood system, morphosyntax or pronouns, grammatical gender and agreement, and verb classification. The treatment of neologisms, and particularly the status of franglais in contemporary French, will also be considered. Although the module will provide students with some basic tools of linguistic description, no background in Linguistics is required or assumed.View full module details
Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally. You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.
All French BA students are required to spend a Year Abroad between Stages 2 and 3. You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stage 2 to proceed to the Year Abroad. If the requirement is not met, you may have to postpone your Year Abroad.
The Year Abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification. You spend the year working as an English language assistant or in approved employment, or studying at one of our partner universities. For a full list of our partner universities, please visit Go Abroad.
|Compulsory modules currently include||Credits|
LA514 - Modern Languages Year Abroad Module
Students either study at a relevant foreign university or work abroad (either as British Council language teaching assistants or in some other approved capacity).View full module details
|Compulsory modules currently include||Credits|
FR649 - French Advanced C1
The module develops advanced proficiency in writing, speaking and comprehending French. It concentrates on translation into French and English and the development of analytical skills in the production of written and spoken French. Translation exercises confront students with a variety of advanced texts in different styles and registers, and encourage accuracy and critical reflection as well as acquisition and consolidation of grammatical structures. The language skills component combines discursive writing on advanced topics with the development of proper oral competence through discussion. Conversation classes with a native speaker develop presentational ability, and enable students to speak fluently and idiomatically at the advanced level.View full module details
|Optional modules may include||Credits|
SCL502 - Languages in the Classroom
This module is aimed at those students who would like to follow a career as Primary or Secondary School teachers, but is also suitable to those who would like to consider a career in HE language teaching by providing them with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of Languages in the primary and secondary school context as well as in HE.View full module details
FR601 - Mothers and Daughters in Women's Writing
The module is designed to acquaint students with samples of the main trends within the work of Twentieth Century women writers by paying close attention to the relations between mothers and their daughters who become writers. Each novel chosen is one of personal analysis of the often-violent relationship between the mothers and their daughters who turn to writing in a search for identity and liberation from the mother or maternal figure of their youth. Students analyse the texts in order to evaluate how the picture of the mother has evolved. We will pay close attention to the underlying theme of the progression of the role of women in French society. Each text will also provide us with a variety of specific themes to discuss which will enable us to better understand the changes which French women have faced during this century.View full module details
FR592 - French for Business
Students will be introduced to the francophone business environment, and will learn to be operational in such a context. As well as learning about essential aspects of companies and specific features of the French language encountered in such an environment, students will broaden their knowledge of current events and economic issues through the use of a dossier of contemporary texts/articles, which will be exploited in a variety of ways: résumé (précis-writing), analyse de document (questions about the text), or free composition. In terms of key skills, business skills and language skills, this module encourages the practice of meticulous accuracy.
Students will develop their confidence in the use of specialised terminology and appropriate register in a professional context.
As an option, students may register for the Diplôme de français professionnel Affaires B2 (DFP Affaires B2) of the Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie de Paris Ile-de-France (CCIP). The syllabus of FR592 closely follows some of the pedagogical requirements of the business French programme of the CCIP.View full module details
Teaching and assessment
Compulsory language modules typically involve three to four hours of classes per week, including one hour of small group work with a native speaker. We also make extensive use of computer-assisted language learning packages and audio and video materials. Culture and literature modules typically involve a weekly two-hour seminar plus essay supervision. We employ six French language lectors to help students improve their fluency.
At all stages, assessment is based 100% on coursework (essays, oral presentations) in the first half of the year, and a combination of coursework and examination in the second half of the year. Credits from your year abroad count towards your final degree.
For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours. The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules. Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.
Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules. Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.
This programme aims to:
- provide a sound grounding in the French language in all its aspects
- immerse you in Francophone culture by enabling you to spend one year in a Francophone country. In most cases you will participate in an exchange in France or Switzerland, to work as a language assistant in a French school or in the Kent Regional Office in Brussels
- develop a critical awareness of the broad canon of French literature from the 17th century to the 21st century as well as of the role of French cinema and French linguistics in the development of contemporary French culture
- train you in the field of translation from and into the target language
- provide a gateway to related thematic studies
- provide teaching which is informed by current research and scholarship and which requires students to engage with aspects of work at the frontiers of knowledge
- provide a means of access to intercultural awareness and understanding
- contribute to widening participation in higher education by offering a wide variety of entry routes
- provide opportunities for the development of personal, communication, research and other key skills appropriate for graduate employment both in industry and in the public sector
- develop general critical, analytical and problem-solving skills that can be applied in a wide range of situations.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- French language
- French literature from the 17th to the 21st century
- French linguistics
- French cinema
- French theatre
- Francophone autobiography
- French postcolonial studies
- Francophone presence in the world
- French history
- critical theory.
You gain intellectual skills in:
- applying the skills needed for academic study and enquiry
- how to evaluate information critically
- synthesising information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of the subject
- utilising problem-solving skills
- how to utilise communication skills for the coherent expression and transfer of knowledge
- analysing, evaluating and interpreting a variety of types of evidence in a critical manner
- how to study and reach conclusions independently.
You gain subject-specific skills to:
- communicate effectively in French
- develop reading speed in French
- demonstrate detailed knowledge and effective understanding of the various structures and registers of French
- translate accurately and efficiently into and from the target language
- analyse critically a variety of texts, be they journalistic, historical or literary
- appreciate cultural diversity
- work independently in a Francophone business environment
- perform well in these three related areas: a) reception (listening and reading), b) production (speaking and writing) and c) mediation between at least two languages (translation and interpreting).
You gain transferable skills to:
- communicate effectively with a wide range of individuals using a variety of means
- evaluate your own academic performance
- utilise problem-solving skills in a variety of theoretical and practical situations
- demonstrate active and effective note-taking and summarising skills
- demonstrate library and bibliographical research skills
- use French language source materials
- take responsibility for personal and professional learning and development
- manage time and prioritise workloads, and to think and perform under pressure
- demonstrate a capacity for teamwork
- demonstrate leadership abilities
- work creatively and flexibly
- deploy a range of IT skills effectively, such as how to produce written documents; undertake online research; communicate using email; process information using databases.
The ability to speak a European language other than English is a key asset in the global employment market, and many employers view a graduate with overseas experience as more employable. Through your studies, you also acquire many of the transferable skills considered essential by graduate employers. These include the ability to work independently and as part of a team, the confidence to offer creative solutions when faced with challenges, and the ability to express your ideas with clarity and passion.
Our students go into areas such as international banking, diplomacy, publishing, journalism, international product management, interpreting and translating, European media, law or accountancy, and language teaching. Some go on to postgraduate study in fields as varied as international journalism, visual studies and translation.
The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice.
It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.
New GCSE grades
If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.
|Qualification||Typical offer/minimum requirement|
Grade B or 6 in a second language
|Access to HE Diploma||
The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis.
If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.
|BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)||
The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.
34 points overall or 15 points at HL including 4 at HL or 5 at SL in a second language
The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.
However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.
If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.
Meet our staff in your country
For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.
English Language Requirements
Please see our English language entry requirements web page.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.
General entry requirements
Please also see our general entry requirements.
The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.
For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.*
Your fee status
The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.
Fees for Year in Industry
For 2019/20 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,385.
Fees for Year Abroad
UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2019/20 academic year pay £1,385 for that year.
Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status.
General additional costs
Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details.
You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.
Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.
The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence
At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence.
The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.
The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either mathematics or a modern foreign language. Please review the eligibility criteria.
The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme.
Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.
If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact email@example.com.