Study French and graduate with a university degree

What’s the significance of learning French in our globalised world? How can developing linguistic and intercultural skills allow you to truly become a ‘global citizen’?

This course gives you a broad understanding of French language and thought, in a variety of historical and geographical contexts. We focus particularly on the ways in which encounters with other cultures transform French language, culture and society: you’ll explore ethnic diversity in contemporary France and the complexity of Francophone cultures in places as diverse as Quebec, the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa.

With this course, you’ll be well qualified for careers in the arts, the media, government, journalism, tourism,  in human resources management and in many other fields.

Entrance requirements

Four-year Honours degree

SQA Higher:
BBBB - one sitting.
ABBB - two sittings.

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
32 points

Essential subjects:
To include French or Spanish if applying to joint Honours in French and Spanish.

Three-year Honours degree

SQA Adv. Higher:

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
35 points

Essential subjects:
To include French.

Other qualifications

Year one entry
Scottish HNC/D - Bs in graded units
English, Welsh and NI HNC/D - Merits and Distinctions.
Advanced entry
Not available.

Access courses:
Access courses and other UK/EU and international qualifications are also welcomed.

Additional information

General entrance requirements apply.
If examinations are taken over two sittings, or there are repeats or upgrades, the entrance requirements may be higher.

English language skills

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Modes of study

Full-time (three modules per semester).
Part-time (one or two modules per semester).

Course contact

Dr Cristina Johnston University of Stirling
+ 44 (0) 1786 467534

Course Director

Dr Cristina Johnston

Find out more

Degree course

You will take French plus two other subjects in the first year (Semesters 1 and 2).

Year 1 and Year 2 modules concentrate primarily on the development of France and the Francophone world from the French Revolution until the present day, with a primary focus on the 20th and 21st centuries. You will study aspects of French and Francophone language, history, society, business, literature, art and film. In year 3 and 4 you will continue your study of the French language, and there is the opportunity to specialise in a range of areas related to France and the wider ‘Francophone world’.

Semesters 1 - 4

Semesters 1 – 4 give you an understanding of contemporary French and Francophone cultures and their evolution. You may start French at Introductory or Advanced level. It is not possible to start at Introductory level if you have a Higher qualification (or equivalent) in French. In some cases, it may also be possible to start at Intermediate level. Introductory and Intermediate students may subsequently join the Advanced class and go on to Honours in French.

The Advanced class – for students with a Higher or A-level in French – combines language learning with the study of French/Francophone culture and society using texts, films and online material. It is also possible to study film in intercultural modules taught by the Literature and Languages division in the School of Arts and Humanities. Students starting in the Introductory stream will undertake an intensive language learning programme and will progressively start to work towards the study of French/Francophone cultures alongside their language work.

Semesters 5 - 8

Semesters 5 – 8 offer increased specialisation. All students take core language modules in spoken and written French, alongside option modules in which you can develop your areas of expertise. Students choose from a wide variety of option modules including, for example:

  • French and Francophone Detective Fictions
  • Introduction to African Literature and Cinema
  • The Cinema of the Fantastic
  • Culture and Identity in Contemporary France
  • Postcolonial France
  • Black France
  • The French Atlantic Slave Trade
  • Quebec Cinema
  • French and Francophone Cultures of Travel
  • Women Writers on Women
  • Screening the City
  • Exoticism in French Cinema

Teaching and assessment

Teaching is by a mixture of lectures, tutorials and small group language classes. The development of high-level language skills and cultural awareness is further encouraged through teaching by experienced native language assistants and the use of the latest language learning software packages. Assessment focuses on a variety of skills gained across the modules studied and ranges from translations to essays, from grammar tests to oral exams. We use both continuous assessment and final examinations.

Combined degrees

French can be studied with:
CourseUCAS Code
Business Studies NRF1
Computing Science GR51
English Studies QR31
Film and Media RP13
History RV11
Human Resource Management NRP1
Journalism Studies RP15
Law RM11
Marketing N5R1
Mathematics GR11
Philosophy RV15
Politics LR21
Professional Education (Primary) with Modern Languages XR18
Religion RV16
Spanish RR14

(For a Combined Honours degree the higher entrance requirements of the subjects usually apply.) French can be studied as a component of other degrees.

Related degrees

French is studied as a global language at Stirling, with an emphasis placed on France’s importance within the European Union, but also on France’s relationships with other parts of the globe, ranging from Africa to North America. As well as examining France and the Francophone world from a range of different perspectives, you will also have a number of opportunities to spend time living, studying and/or working in France or another part of the Francophone world. You might, for example, apply to spend a year working as an English Language Assistant anywhere from the Alps to France’s Atlantic coast, or further afield in Quebec or in the French Caribbean. Many of the degree combinations we offer with French also include a semester of study abroad at one of our partner institutions in France, Morocco, Switzerland or Quebec.

As well as an innovative integrated degree course in International Management Studies with European Languages and Society, we also run two double degree programmes in International Management and Intercultural Studies. These 5-year programmes result in an undergraduate degree from Stirling and a Master's-level qualification from our prestigious partner institutions: the University of Passau (for German native speakers only) or the Ecole de Management in Strasbourg.

French at Stirling is particularly strong in areas related to film and other visual cultures and in its focus on France’s connections with other countries, regions and cultures.

Study abroad

On most degree courses involving French, Honours students must spend a period of residence abroad, usually in Semester 6, studying at a university or business school in France, Quebec or Switzerland. All students also have the option, in addition, of spending a year abroad between Semesters 4 and 5, typically as a language assistant teaching English in a school. We are also willing to consider requests from students keen to find ways to spend both Semester 5 and 6 on Study Abroad. The School has exchange agreements with the Universities of Aix, Clermont-Ferrand, Geneva, Laval (Quebec), Limoges, Nancy, Perpignan, Rabat (Morocco) and Tours and with business schools in Cergy-Pontoise near Paris (EPSCI) and Strasbourg (EMS).

Our students

I studied BA Hons French and Politics at the University of Stirling. The structure of the course and the staff from the languages department are second to none. During my time at Stirling I always found the level of work approachable but yet challenging. There was always a clear focus on both the language element of the course but also on cultural aspects of French life which I really enjoyed. From 1st year right through to my last year we were constantly learning more about important cultural aspects as well as improving our level of language. I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to spend two periods abroad; one a year as a language assistant and the other studying my second degree subject in Paris. My periods spent in France helped me to develop my language greatly and I would recommend that any students thinking of studying at Stirling choose to do at least one of these periods abroad.

Michael Ironside BA (Hons) French and Politics, graduated 2012

Having initially chosen the University of Stirling based on the flexible degree structure offered, I would highly recommend French at Stirling. Both teaching and administrative staff in the department were immensely supportive, and lecturers took a keen interest in the progress of students.

With a diverse range of subject areas to be studied from across the wider Francophone world, the expertise offered by individual lecturers was always impressive and inspiring. The opportunity to spend time in France, both as a language assistant and as an exchange student, offered hands-on experience which undoubtedly added practical value to the language skills developed in class.

I'm thrilled to have chosen Stirling and am grateful to all in the French department for making my undergraduate studies so memorable.

Cari Anderson BA (Hons) French, graduated 2011

My four-year French course at Stirling opened so many doors for me, and I can honestly say that I enjoyed every single minute of it. From learning about France – its culture, people, literature, art, media – to actually going and living there - studying at a French university and living with a French family – Stirling gave me every resource I needed to appreciate, absorb and perfect my language skills and indulge my passion for France.

Along the way I met like-minded students, eager to immerse themselves in French culture, and wonderful lecturers who gave me the best chance to become the best that I could be in my subject. If you are searching for a varied, interesting, challenging, fun, engaging course that will give you the opportunity to study and live abroad, then this is definitely the course for you.

Cathy McReynolds BA (Hons) French, graduated 2008

94% of our students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education, 2012/13).

Career opportunities

Language graduates are confident communicators and growing European integration offers increasing job opportunities. Our graduates go on to a wide variety of careers in publishing, journalism, television, advertising, translating or law, teaching in French or English as a foreign language, administration and management. The Combined courses we offer with Professional Education permit students to train as either primary or secondary teachers with a specialism in languages.

Skills you can develop through this course

As you progress through your French degree, you will develop a range of practical language skills and attributes that are highly sought after by employers:

  • communicative skills and, in particular, high level written and spoken linguistic skills in both French and English – your written skills are developed through essays, compositions in the target language, and translation work, while oral skills will be developed through class discussion, but also by means of group and individual oral exams and presentations where you will learn how to formulate a point of view and to present, develop, illustrate and defend it orally
  • an ability to speak and understand the language in appropriate registers and contexts – throughout your degree, you’ll work on a variety of different types of materials that will give you exposure to everything from literary French to the language of contemporary French-language news coverage
  • analytical and critical skills: the ability to think rigorously and critically about ideas and propositions and to assess the validity of arguments, as well as the ability to distinguish what is relevant to a problem, whether it is presented in English or in French – these skills are developed through essay-writing, seminar discussion, and oral presentations
  • the ability to read a wide range of textual material easily – for written and spoken language classes, as well as in culture classes and, in later semesters, in your option modules, you will develop the skills required to read a range of types of texts, from short stories to novels, from newspaper articles to film reviews, and much more besides
  • an awareness of correct and idiomatic structures in French – at all stages of your degree, you will be expected to write in French, with texts increasing in length and complexity as you progress. 
  • independent learning and study skills, and particularly an ability to use dictionaries and reference works in a way that is conducive to engaged language study – our tutors and language coordinators make use of the most up-to-date language resources, whether online or paper-based, and will offer advice on the best resources to use, as well as on how to use dictionaries and other reference works to improve your own language skills and to broaden your awareness of vocabulary. You will also have access to language learning technology through our state of the art language labs, and will gain practical skills in the use of IT, both as a source of instruction and information, and as a resource for facilitating communication
  • good translation skills both from and into the target language – building on the solid grammatical knowledge fostered over the first semesters of study, our students begin to work on translation of materials from and into French, with a focus on contemporary texts
  • time-management skills: the ability to plan work ahead, to structure time purposefully and the discipline to carry out what is planned to meet deadlines
  • interpersonal skills: the ability to work co-operatively with others, to take part in joint projects and to accept criticism – communication is a core part of any Languages degree and, as a student of French, you’ll learn how to present your ideas clearly to tutors and peers, but also how to engage with ideas and opinions presented by others, and how to develop an intellectual exchange with your classmates

Your degree in French will also equip you with:

  • a broad knowledge of the culture of modern and contemporary France/Francophone countries – throughout your degree, you’ll study films, short stories, tv programmes, websites, novels, graphic novels, and a range of other materials that will help develop a broad awareness of different aspects of the cultures of France and the wider French-speaking world
  • greater knowledge and intellectual curiosity about the world you live in – the constant exposure to a variety of contemporary texts and materials from France and the French-speaking world helps to nurture an interest in French as a global language. We also hope that you will acquire some knowledge of your own culture and be prepared to bring some comparative perspectives to it. One of the benefits of learning about another society can be that it helps one to gain a deeper knowledge of one’s own.

Where are our graduates now?

A language degree is highly valued by employers across a range of sectors. Year after year, graduates are near the top of league tables in terms of graduate employability. Language graduates develop excellent oral and written skills, independence and self-reliance, and confidence in dealing with a variety of people, situations and cultures. According to recent statistics (Unistats 2013) 90% of French graduates go on to employment or further study within 6 months of graduation. Our recent graduates have gone on to a wide variety of jobs in the UK and abroad including:

  • Advertising
  • Banking
  • Librarianship
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Public relations
  • Publishing
  • Teaching
  • Translation

Fees 2016/7

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 11,555.00
Scottish and EU students TBC
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years


Fees 2015/6

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 11,275.00
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years


Please note: Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.

Please note: Students from the rest of the UK can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.

  • Degree award BA (Hons)
  • UCAS Code R120
  • Type Full-time, Part-time
  • Start date September
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