BA English Language and French Studies

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The English Language and French Studies Joint Honours degree programme enables study of two complementary subjects alongside each other to Honours degree level. Exploring these two subjects is a wonderful way to broaden your horizons and compare two fascinating cultures. The degree offers a broad range of English Language modules, coupled with a mix of general and specific French Studies modules.  If you study a subject in a Joint Honours programme, you work at the same level and academic standard as students taking that subject in a Single Honours programme.

We all use language every day, but how many of us stop to think about it? The study of English language demands discipline, observation, exploration and imagination. Some aspects, like phonology and grammar, ask for particular attention to detail, accuracy and logical argument. Other topics, such as child language development and language variation, demand an ability to collect, analyse and evaluate your own data. They are all valuable skills that will make you a much-sought-after graduate in the world of work. On the English Language half of your degree programme, you will have a chance to specialise in linguistics. The course draws on the University’s particular strength in corpus linguistics, grammar, stylistics, discourse analysis and applied linguistics, and you will be challenged to sharpen your own ideas about your own use of spoken and written language.

Within the French Studies element of your degree programme, you can sample a range of subject areas and disciplines: film studies, literature, politics, history, translation studies, cultural studies, sociology, and even a dash of economics find their way into our modules at various points. Additionally, French Studies does not only entail the study of France. Our students have the opportunity to study the history, politics and culture of France, then to apply that knowledge in order to consider the role of French culture and politics in Europe and internationally.

Course fact file

UCAS code: QR31

Duration: 4 Years

Typical Offer: AAB (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September

Details

In this programme, you study half of your modules (60 credits) in French and half in English Language (60 credits).

First year

English Language: In two linked modules, Language Works, you will be introduced to a range of topics in English Language study, including the phonology (sound system) of English, its morphology (word formation) and grammar; children’s language development; discourse analysis, both spoken and written; and social issues, such as attitudes towards language and its role in education. You will also learn how to carry out research on English language topics.

French: In the first year of your programme, you study 3 modules, French language, La France moderne (an introduction to French politics and history) and an Introduction to French Literature and Film Studies. You can find out more about these modules here:

Second year

English Language: In this year you can choose to take either two linked modules, which, following on from first year work, provide a thorough grounding in technical aspects of the language, concentrating on English phonology and morphology, and then English grammar; or you can choose two modules from a range including History of the English Language; Talk and Text, which provides in-depth analyses of different kinds of spoken interaction; and Language Acquisition, Variation and Change, which studies how these processes happen and what enables them. In addition, you will take the module Research Skills in English Language, which is designed to develop your group and individual research skills by guiding you in such tasks as carrying out a literature review, collecting and analysing data, and presenting your results orally, as well as reporting on your research in writing.

French: As you progress into the second and fourth years of the course you can choose to study specialist modules focusing on politics, culture, literature or film so you’re increasingly free to tailor the programme to suit your own interests. You continue to follow a core language module but then choose 2 options from a choice of 5. Further details of the modules available can be found here

Third year

The third year is spent in France, normally following a programme of study at one of our many partner universities:

Fourth year

English Language: You will now be able to choose from a wide range of optional modules on such topics as The Politics of English; Discourse and Society; English Language Teaching; Linguistic Theory; Narrative Analysis, Ordinary Creativity, and Words. Your degree builds to a final-year dissertation, a research project which you will carry out independently but under supervision: you will select your own topic for research, collect data, assimilate relevant literature and construct a substantial report on the project, showing judgement and persuasiveness.

French: A wide range of specialist language and culture options is available in the final year. Current choices include: Interpreting; The French Press; Contemporary French Cinema; The Algerian War; and Drama and Politics in France. Further details of the modules available in French can be found here:

Why study this course

In this programme, you study half of your modules (60 credits) in French and half in English Language (60 credits)

  • The Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. You will be taught by the experts in the field, with a wide range of interests and specialities.
  • Birmingham is internationally famous for its work in corpus linguistics, stylistics, the language of social media, figurative language, and language learning and teaching. You can focus on traditional aspects of the subject, such as grammar, pragmatics, or historical linguistics, but you can also explore newer areas such as Englishes used worldwide, or English used in Internet communication.
  • Your personal tutor will guide you through the programme, helping you to select options that will suit your chosen career path. We have 4 informal routes through the degree programme which will help you into a wide range of different careers from advertising through to management through to speech therapy.
  • You will part of a vibrant staff and student community in the Department, with guest lectures from renowned linguists and regular social events such as end of term parties and summer balls. You will also benefit from the School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies? visiting writer talks; recent guests have included the short story writer and novelist Bernard MacLaverty and playwright Simon Stephens.

English Language open day talk

[Video above - Professor Jeanette Littlemore delivers the 2014 undergraduate open day talk on studying English Language and Linguistics at the University of Birmingham]

The French half of your programme is designed to give you an in-depth knowledge of the language and culture of France. We put an emphasis on small group teaching and encourage student participation. We produce confident, articulate graduates who are enthused by their subject and who benefit from excellent possibilities for employment in the UK and EU. Joint Honours students follow the same language course as those studying Single Honours French but choose fewer literary, cultural or political options from the range available in the department. Within French, our staff expertise enables us to offer a wide range of subjects covering all areas of French language, culture, history, literature and film so you will study many different aspects of French language and culture and be part of a large, vibrant community of staff and students.

  • The Department of Modern Languages at the University of Birmingham is the only one in the country to offer the full range of languages from the Iberian Peninsula (Basque, Catalan, Galician and Portuguese) in addition to our seven principal languages (French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, and Spanish). All programmes last four years, with the third year spent studying abroad. You can concentrate on a single language, study two or more languages or combine language study with some other subject.
  • Birmingham is one of the top four universities for language provision in the judgement of employers, according to the Guardian.
  • Our students are extremely satisfied with the experience they receive here at the University of Birmingham, which is reflected in our excellent returns in the National Student Survey over recent years. Our different language sections frequently achieve scores in excess of 80% or 90% for overall satisfaction.
  • There are a wide range of Joint Honours with Languages subjects available at Birmingham.
  • Read our ten reasons to study Modern Languages at Birmingham.

French open day talk

Joint honours open day talk

[Video above - Dr Craig Blunt delivers an undergraduate open day talk about studying Joint Honours at the University]

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply 
Learn more about fees and funding
 
Scholarships
Learn more about our scholarships and awards

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required: 3

Typical offer: AAB

Required subjects and grades: Grade B in French. Grade A in A level English Language or in English Language and Literature is preferred. However, applicants with an A level English Literature or a foreign language will be considered.

Additional information: Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements

Additional information:

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 36 points including French at HL.

International students:

We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com

Learn more about applying

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

Learning and teaching

University of Birmingham students are part of an academic elite and learn from world-leading experts. We will challenge you to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.

You will have a diverse learning experience, including:

  • lectures
  • small group tutorials
  • independent study
  • and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates

Support

You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to Higher Education.

  • Personal tutors - You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and welfare advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Transition review - you will undergo a formal transition review during your first year with an academic member of staff. They will see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support.
  • Academic Skills Centre - the centre aims to help you become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.
  • Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) - the AWAS team will provide guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level. You will receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, tutorials and email correspondence.
  • Student experience - our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.

Language laboratory sessions allow you to practise your listening and spoken skills and are an essential part of all our language programmes.

Assessment methods

Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:

  • coursework, such as essays
  • group and individual presentations
  • and formal exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.

Employability

English Language

[Video above - Professor Jeannette Littlemore discusses careers and employability during the English Language open day presentation]

Studying for an English Language BA at Birmingham is an unparalleled opportunity, not only to engage with a diverse cultural, textual and linguistic discipline, but also to develop skills in intellectual analysis, critical thinking and articulate expression – skills that last a lifetime and qualify you for many possible careers. You will also be encouraged to acquire practical skills that you’ll find just as useful in your future career, including oral presentation, professional documentation, group work and the uses of information technology.

The structure of the English Language programme allows you to pursue potential career areas by developing relevant skills and expertise that will be relevant to future employers. There are four possible pathways, although you are not committed to a particular one, which allow you to make informed choices in your module selection in the second- and third-year of the course.

50% of vacancies advertised for new and recent graduates don’t specify a degree subject, and English Language graduates enter a wide range of careers including advertising, journalism and media, government, law, publishing and teaching at every level. About 19% of English graduates pursue postgraduate study to specialise in an academic area or prepare for careers such as law and teaching.

English Language graduates from the University of Birmingham have excellent prospects after graduation. 92% of our English graduates go into work or study within six months of graduation, with 75% immediately entering managerial and professional roles, which is amongst the highest percentages for graduate employability in this subject. Our graduates have started careers with employers including media companies, educational institutions, local councils, publishers, charities and a wide range of large commercial organisations, in roles such as marketing coordinator, editorial assistant, creative advertising account executive, recruitment consultant and parliamentary caseworker.

Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal. This is a unique careers guidance service tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. This includes individual careers advice and events to give you insight into the professions and employers of interest to arts graduates. Our ‘Creative careers’ series is always popular with our students, and features events with employers and professionals from areas such as advertising, PR and communications, careers in journalism, publishing and writing, and careers in the theatre.

As a School, we also hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities; we’re developing links with local arts organisations to create some amazing opportunities for students; and you can even apply for our ‘Global Challenge’ to work overseas on an expenses paid placement during your summer vacation. We also encourage all our students to apply their skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer; the work experience bursary scheme enables students to apply for funding for those career areas where placements are often unpaid.

Our English alumni profiles

French Studies

[Video above - Dr Emma Tyler discusses careers and employability during the Modern Languages open day presentation]

Modern Languages graduates have a range of skills that are highly prized by graduate employers: oral and written communication in one or more foreign languages, critical thinking,  intercultural awareness and understanding. You will also develop leadership, teamwork and organisational skills through activities such as group projects and your year abroad.

87% of our Modern Language graduates go into work or study within six months of graduation. 50% of vacancies advertised for new and recent graduates don’t specify a degree subject, and our graduates enter a wide range of careers similar to other arts and humanities graduates but with much greater scope in international settings. This includes business, government, journalism, the creative arts, teaching and law. Some go abroad to develop their language skills while working as TEFL teachers and university language tutors.

Modern Languages graduates from the University of Birmingham have excellent prospects after graduation. An impressive 85% of our graduates go into professional or managerial jobs within six months of graduation. Our graduates have started careers with employers including British Airways, Deloitte, HSBC, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the British Council, NATO, BP, central and local government, and universities in the UK and abroad.

Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal. This is a unique careers guidance service tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team who can give you expert advice. This includes individual careers advice and talks and events, including ‘Careers with Languages’, to provide insight into careers of interest to our students. Many languages students will also find our events about careers such as teaching, law, marketing, journalism and advertising of interest.

We work hard to help students identify how the year abroad may help their future career. We also encourage all our students to apply their skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer; the work experience bursary scheme enables students to apply for funding for those career areas where placements are often unpaid. You can even apply for our ‘Global Challenge’ to work overseas on an expenses paid placement during your summer vacation.

Modern Languages alumni profiles

Developing your career

Employers target University of Birmingham students for their diverse skill-set and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of our wide range of opportunities you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

  • Careers events - we hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities to help you meet potential employers and learn more about these sectors.
  • Global Challenge - you can apply to work overseas on an expenses-paid placement during your summer vacation through our Global Challenge initiative.
  • Work experience bursary - we encourage you to apply your skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer. Our work experience bursaries allow you to apply for funding to support you during unpaid internships.
  • Cultural Internships - our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market. Our current partners include:
    • Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery
    • Birmingham REP
    • Birmingham Royal Ballet
    • City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
    • Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust
    • Library of Birmingham.

There are also internships available at our own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and network of contacts.

  • Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme - our College of Arts and Law undergraduate research scholarship scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project being run by one of our academic researchers. Undergraduate research scholars gain work experience over the summer after their first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.
  • Personal Skills Award - our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
  • Guild of Students - there is a vast number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, which cover a wide variety of interests.