The key to understanding another society is mastering its language. From this starting point, you can examine a country's history, its literature and culture; and by comparison you can learn more about your own society.
Geography addresses key issues of today and tomorrow, such as climate change, water and ecosystem pollution, energy security, global economic problems, population pressure and a rapidly urbanising world. These factors have an impact on our daily lives, making this a rewarding and fulfilling subject to study.
The University is in the Top 10 for French Studies (The Complete University Guide 2018). Studying French and geography is an exciting chance to develop a wide range of skills that will equip you for a huge range of careers, both in this country and abroad. You’ll develop advanced language and geography skills, and a deep cultural understanding of French culture through true immersion on your Year Abroad.
Answering your questions and concerns about the outcome of the EU referendum.
“Birmingham had the best balance of a campus with easy access to a vibrant city with all the attractions you could ask for. Public transport links are excellent, with a train station on campus. The course was one of the best that I saw, with few limitations as to which modules I could pick and good communication between departments. I like my course because the academic staff offer a diverse range of specialities, as well as excellent support for the Yearbroad. ”
At Birmingham, you’ll benefit from an intellectually challenging and stimulating environment for your undergraduate studies, focused on ensuring you’re a fully supported and active learner. Our degrees are designed to provide both academic excellence and vocational development; a balance that's highly sought after by employers in today's intellectual and creative industries.
Your French studies are 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, enthusiastic and articulate graduates with excellent potential for employment in the UK and beyond.
Geography at Birmingham combines a sound academic training with an insight into practical, social, economic and environmental issues. You refine perspectives and develop skills in a degree programme that encourages the use of imagination and observation to resolve real problems affecting people and environments. Our modular structure allows you maximum flexibility in developing your own interests without channelling you into decisive choices too early.
The degree programme is four years in length, and you will spend your third year abroad.
- Outstanding student experience - Both our French and Geography students have given their course a rating of over 92% in the National Student Survey 2016.
- Superb employability rates - 95% of Geography students and 91% of French students enter work or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2015).
- Broad curriculum and increased contact hours - You will benefit from an exceptionally broad and flexible curriculum. Choose from a wealth of French Studies modules covering topics such as; history, politics, culture, society, business, and Translation. Geography modules cover all aspects of human, environmental and physical geography and specialist techniques such as computer cartography. We have also boosted the contact hours for the new target-language core module to six hours per week of immersive French teaching.
- Travel opportunities - Your degree will involve time abroad – whether that’s on the European Cultural Tours, Geography field trips or your Year Abroad; where you can choose to study, teach or work in a French-speaking country.
- Active language societies - Our Guild of Students run thriving language societies, including our popular student magazine, The UoB Linguist, which can help develop your multilinguist reading, writing and cultural awareness. Societies help you improve skills, meet like-minded people who share your passion for languages and attend interesting and diverse extra-curricular events.
Read more about our strengths.
Open day talks
Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2017. We aim to publish any changes to compulsory modules and programme structure for 2018 entry by 1 September 2017 and recommend you refer back to this page shortly after that date for any changes. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules after that date; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.
French: In the first year of your programme, you will study 2 compulsory language modules: 'French Core Advanced I' and 'French Core Advanced II' and an optional module. You can choose between a range of optional modules including: 'Modern France 1' and 'Introduction to French Literary and Film Studies'.
: In your first year you take three compulsory foundation courses:
French: As you progress into the second year of the course you follow a compulsory language module, as well as specialist modules focusing on politics, culture, literature or film so you are increasingly free to tailor the programme to suit your own interests.
: The second year of your degree is an excellent opportunity to build on the new interests and passions that you discovered in your first-year modules. You can choose between a range of optional modules including:
The third year is normally spent following a programme of study at one of our many partner universities in France, Belgium or Canada.
French: In your final year you will take a compulsory language module and then you will have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of specialist language and culture options. You will also have the opportunity to undertake a Dissertation module in either discipline, or combine both areas in a linked Dissertation.
: In your final year there is a wide range of optional modules you can take and it includes:
For UK students beginning their studies in September 2017, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.
Fees for 2017/18 are as follows:
Home / EU: £9,250
Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about
fees for international students.
For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on
undergraduate fees and funding.
Tuition fees when studying abroad
For those spending a whole academic year abroad (where available):
Students who are classed as home/EU for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
Students who are classed as overseas for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee
For those studying abroad for just one semester (where available), normal annual tuition fees apply.
Note - Study abroad opportunities vary between courses; please see the course description for details of study abroad options offered.
- Number of A levels required:
- Typical offer:
- Required subjects and grades:
- A level Geography grade A. A level French grade B
BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma are all considered on a case by case basis.
Please be aware that you will need to meet the subject specific requirements for both subject areas within the degree programme - please check their Single Honours coursefinder entries for more information. If you need further guidance please contact us.
Other qualifications are considered – learn more about
International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,6,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.
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 one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.
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.
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:
- small group tutorials
- independent study
- and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates
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 advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
- Welfare tutors - We have dedicated welfare tutors who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.
- 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.
During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into university. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.
Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.
You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.
Language laboratory sessions allow you to practise your listening and spoken skills and are an essential part of all our language programmes.
As a student in the Geography department your degree will have a modular structure. In each year learning is delivered over two teaching semesters of eleven weeks and a third summer term of eight weeks for revision, examinations and progress review. Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, including lectures, small group tutorials, seminars, laboratory classes and through supplementary IT-based materials, as well as the more traditional use of books and journals in the University Library. Particular course modules in Geography may involve individual or group project work, preparing oral presentations, and library or web-based research. One of the advantages of a larger, long-established university such as Birmingham is the breadth and size of the library resources. With approaching four million books and fast-growing electronic resources, the University Library and Information Services is something we are proud of.
Fieldwork is an important aspect of studies in both human and physical geography. These experiences are embedded in courses to enable you to develop your transferable skills and to demonstrate your ability to work on your own initiative and as part of a team. This is invaluable in equipping you for future employment. As your degree progresses the modular structure allows you increasing choice so that you can follow the subject themes in Geography that most interest you.
You will have access to a comprehensive support system throughout your studies that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors. You will be assigned to a Personal Tutor for the whole three years, who can help you with any questions you may have while you study. You will also have your own Dissertation Supervisor in Year 2 and Year 3, to help guide you through the exciting process of designing and carrying out your dissertation project in an area of your choice.
Studying with us you will benefit from cutting edge equipment and facilities in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, including our state-of-the-art Earth imaging and visualisation laboratory for teaching.
On the French side of your degree, in years 1, 2, and 4 you can expect around 6-12 contact hours per week, the majority of which will be in small language classes or seminars (year 3 will be spent in a French-speaking country). You will also have the opportunity to discuss your progress individually with your tutor.
On the Geography side of your degree, in years 1 and 2 you can expect around 6 hours of lectures and classes per week. In year 4, you can expect between 3-6 hours of contact time per week depending on your choices.
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.
French and Geography graduates have a range of skills that are highly prized by graduate employers.
- Strong oral and written communication skills in English and French;
- Working with digital technologies, statistical evaluation, mapping packages, GIS, resource mapping and locative media;
- A sophisticated understanding and appreciation of other cultures;
- Critical thinking skills, alongside the ability to research, analyse and interpret the information that you have gathered;
- Independence and experience of living abroad;
- Leadership and teamwork;
- Handling complex information;
- The ability to form concise and articulate arguments;
- Managing your time effectively and prioritising your workload;
Our French and Geography graduates are highly employable and go in to an incredibly wide range of careers, both in this country and abroad. In the most recent survey, 91% of our French graduates and 95% of our Geography graduates went on to further work or study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2015).
Example employers include:
- Carbon Trust
- Barratt Developments
- Met Office
- Eurocity Group
- Harper Collins
- Deutsche Bank
- Royal Bank of Scotland
- IQD Frequency Products
- Aura Financial
- JC Decaux
- British Airways
- Pricewaterhouse Coopers
- The British Council
- Educational institutions in the UK and overseas
- Local and central government
Example Occupations include:
- Editorial Project Leader
- Graduate Land Buyer
- Trainee Operational Meteorologist
- International Sales Coordinator
- Investigation Specialist
- Operations Analyst
- Marketing Officer
- Account Executive
- Account Planner
Example further study programmes include:
- PgDip Education
- MSc Urban and Regional Planning
- MA Social Work
- PGCE (various subjects)
- MA French Studies
- MSc Applied Meteorology
- MA Translation Studies
- MRes Human Geography
You will benefit from events in both departments whereby graduates return to campus to talk about their careers, how to find opportunities and the wide variety of roles available to linguists and geographers.
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.
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.
Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.
Clubs and societies
The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.
Student Experience Officers
Our Student Experience Officers 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.
Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.
The City of Birmingham
One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.
Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.
The University of Birmingham has been welcoming international students onto our campus since 1900.
We have one of the largest and most vibrant international student communities in the UK, with 5,000 international students from more than 150 different countries and 31% of our academic staff from overseas.
If you would like further information about entry requirements, how to apply and funding options, then you can visit our international students webpage. You may also wish to take a virtual tour of our campus and watch the video below to hear our international students say their favourite thing about the University of Birmingham.