French

French is the first language of around 90 million people around the world, being spoken in Canada, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, Polynesia and other parts of Europe and Asia.

Close European integration makes knowledge of French language and culture both necessary and rewarding, while Francophone countries offer diverse and stimulating cultures for study.

A degree in French from Bristol will enable you to achieve an excellent level of spoken and written French while providing the opportunity to discover the society, culture, literature and linguistic history of these fascinating countries.

Why study French at Bristol?

Our French department encourages strong synergy between research and teaching, resulting in a vibrant learning environment for our students, as staff respond in their teaching to ground-breaking research. Our courses provide an enriching experience with exciting intellectual challenges, offering a wide range of options building on a solid foundation year.

The department has a strong intake of highly qualified and well-motivated students every year and enjoys an outstanding reputation. All our French degrees last four years and include a period of residence in a French-speaking country on a work or study placement during the third year. Some Bristol students choose to spend their time in France, while others choose more exotic locations such as La Réunion or Martinique.

Bristol is a very exciting place to study arts and humanities, with a thriving cultural life, several art cinemas, concert halls and theatres, and a lively, cosmopolitan atmosphere. Students in the department have access to a state-of-the-art multimedia centre.

What kind of student would this course suit?

The French course at Bristol will suit you if you have a love of language and a desire to explore the broader cultural contexts in which that language is used. We look for students with intellectual curiosity and a desire to open their minds to francophone culture in different periods, from medieval to contemporary.

French has official status in more countries in the world than any other language except English. Advanced study of French, plus the opportunity to work or study in another culture, is perfect for you if you have a global vision.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra, Second year, LLB Law

How is this course taught and assessed?

You can study French as Single Honours or as Joint Honours with one or more other languages or one of several other subjects including music, philosophy or politics.

You will be expected to engage with French language in all areas of study, to participate actively in seminars and classes, and to engage fully with cultural and social activities in the department. Learning is supported by online materials.

Language work is assessed through a variety of tasks including exams, with regular exercises in translation and essay writing as well as oral and aural practice in small groups.

Other units are assessed by coursework essays, presentations, extended essays or exams.

What are my career prospects?

A high proportion of language graduates find employment in jobs where their languages and experience are advantageous. There are an increasing number of opportunities with international organisations where fluency in French and knowledge of French institutions and culture is essential.

Employers will value your international outlook as well as the excellent organisational and communication skills gained from these degrees. Relevant areas include publishing, the Civil Service and Foreign Office, journalism, the media, teaching, marketing, finance, consultancy and tourism.

Read more about what students from Modern Languages go on to do after graduation.

Did you know?

  • Students from more than 180 countries study with us, and we share more than 150 exchange links with institutions worldwide.
  • Our Students' Union has over 200 student-run societies, and the Richmond Building, home to the Students' Union, is undergoing a £30-million renovation.
  • 11 Bristol graduates and members of staff have been awarded Nobel prizes.

Subject leaflet

Download the French leaflet 2017 (PDF, 305kB)

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