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 our own society.
Geography complements this as it addresses the 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. All of these factors have an impact on our daily lives, making this a rewarding and fulfilling subject to study.
The study of languages 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, as well as a deep cultural understanding of French culture through true immersion on your Year Aboard.
“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 year abroad. ”
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, 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 staff: Students give our staff excellent ratings: 94% of Geography and 96% of French Studies students agreeing that staff are good at explaining things and 93% and 92% respectively agreeing that staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching. Great teaching helps our students develop to their full academic potential. Our staff produce high quality research which directly influences their teaching.
- Superb employability rates: Amongst our students who graduated in July 2013, 87% of both Modern Languages and Geography students and were in work or further study 6 months after graduation – 85% of those were in professional or managerial roles.
- Broad curriculum: You will benefit from an exceptionally broad and flexible curriculum. Choose from a wealth of French Studies modulescovering history, politics, culture, society, business, skills such as translation and so on, and Geography modules covering all aspects of human, environmental and physical geography and specialist techniques such as computer cartography.
- Travel opportunities: All our language degrees involve time abroad – whether that’s on the European Cultural Tours, Geography field trips or your Year Abroad, when you can choose to study, teach or work in another country.
- Active student language societies: Join one of our language student societies or our student magazine The UoB Linguist to develop your language skills outside your teaching, make new friends who share your passion for languages and attend interesting and diverse extra-curricular events.
Read more about our strengths.
Open day talks
The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.
French: In the first year of your programme, you will study 3 modules – French language, La France moderne (an introduction to French politics and history) and an Introduction to French Literature and Film Studies.
Geography: The modular structure allows you maximum flexibility in developing your own interests without channelling you into decisive choices too early. In the first year you will be exposed to the main principles of human and physical geography, to global environmental issues, and various practical skills. You will also explore contemporary urban issues using Birmingham as a real-world laboratory. The first semester includes residential fieldwork in human and physical geography.
French: As you progress into the second year of the course you follow core language modules, 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.
Geography: You are now introduced to specialist techniques such as computer cartography and the use of databases and spreadsheets. You learn how to develop a research proposal, which may be the starting point for your dissertation in the final year. Training in more advanced fieldwork skills is provided by courses held in European centres. You also choose from optional modules in many different branches of Geography.
The third year is normally spent following a programme of study at one of our many partner universities in France or Montreal in Canada.
You will have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of specialist language, culture and Geography options that are available in the final year. You will also have the opportunity to undertake a Dissertation module in either discipline, or combine both areas in a linked Dissertation.
- Number of A levels required:
- Typical offer:
- Required subjects and grades:
- A level Geography grade A. A level French grade B
International baccalaureate update
Please note that we have reviewed our policy on the IB Diploma for 2016 entry and our offers will now focus on performance in Higher Level subjects. For more information and details please read our 2016 IB Diploma requirements.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Modern Languages and Geography graduates have a range of skills that are highly prized by graduate employers.
- Strong oral and written communication skills in English and one or more other languages;
- Working with digital technologies, statistical evaluation, mapping packages, GIS, resource mapping and locative media;
- A deep awareness 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 Modern Languages 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, 87% of our graduates went on to further work or study, 85% of whom were in professional or managerial jobs.
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.