French at Stirling focuses on the contemporary, global nature of French language and culture today. Our students learn about the factors that are shaping the France of today; through studying language, literature and film, they develop cultural awareness that enables them to understand how France sees itself and its place in the world. We also study French as a global language, and in years 3 and 4 students can specialise in courses on the culture and society of Quebec, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the Francophone world. 

Learning is extended through opportunities to live abroad. Students can choose to spend a year teaching as an English language assistant in a French-speaking country, and they also spend a semester at one of our 14 partner institutions in France (Paris, Strasbourg, Cergy-Pontoise, Aix-Marseille, Clermont-Ferrand, Limoges, Lorraine, Perpignan, Tours, Caen and Angers), Switzerland, Morocco or Canada.

Our graduates have excellent written and oral communication skills, both in French and in English. They are flexible, independent and open to new ideas and challenges. In recent years, our graduates have gone on to put their high-level language skills to use in fields as diverse as teaching, tourism, business, journalism and translation, working in the UK and across the globe.

Key information

EU Applicants
The Scottish Government has confirmed that EU students enrolling in the 2018 and 2019 academic year will be entitled to free tuition fees in Scotland. EU Students will retain that status for the duration of their four year degree.

  • UCAS: R120
  • Qualification: BA (Hons)
  • Study methods: Full-time, Part-time, Campus based
  • Start date: September
  • Course Director: Dr Fiona Barclay
  • Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
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Dr Fiona Barclay

University of Stirling

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What makes us different?

French is studied as a global language at Stirling, with an emphasis on the contemporary period and the factors which have shaped the modern nation, such as the lasting influence of the French empire which continues to affect France’s relationships with other parts of the globe, including North and Sub-Saharan Africa, and North America. 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.

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. Most of the degree combinations we offer with French also include a semester of study abroad at one of our partner institutions in France (Paris, Strasbourg, Cergy-Pontoise, Aix-Marseille, Clermont-Ferrand, Limoges, Lorraine, Perpignan, Tours, Caen and Angers), Switzerland, Morocco or Canada.

World-class library and teaching facilities

Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.

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Life at Stirling

Of the many reasons students come to Stirling, such as academic reputation and research standards, one factor is always cited: the outstanding beauty of the University's Stirling campus. View our online films to get a picture of what it's like to live and study on our beautiful campus.

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Four-year Honours degree

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

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
32 points

BTEC (Level 3):

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.

Foundation Apprenticeships:

Considered to be equivalent to 1 Higher at Grade B

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 requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

More information on our English language requirements

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.

Fees and costs

Fees 2018/19

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 12,140.00
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK

£9250 – with a generous package of scholarship options

From 2016/7 onwards, the fees for overseas undergraduates will be held at the level upon entry.

If you plan to commence your studies at the University of Stirling in January 2018, please note you will be subject to our 2017/18 fees. Please contact us for more information.

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. 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.

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

Please note there is an additional charge should you choose to attend a graduation ceremony. View more information

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

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

Semester 1-4 French 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 key aspects of French and Francophone language, history, society, literature, art and film.

Through these modules, you will gain you an understanding of contemporary French and Francophone cultures and their evolution. You may start French at Introductory or Advanced level. In some cases, subject to the approval of the Programme Director and the Language Coordinator, it may also be possible to start at Intermediate level but it is not possible to start at Introductory level if you have a Higher qualification (or equivalent) in French. 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. 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, as their language skills develop and improve.

In Year 2, many students apply for English Language Assistantships via the British Council-run scheme and subsequently spend a year as paid language assistants between Semester 4 and 5, usually working in French secondary schools.

Semesters 5 - 8

Semesters 5 – 8 offer increased specialisation. All students take core language modules with weekly classes 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 based on areas of staff research and expertise, 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

On most degrees involving French, students will spend Semester 6 on Study Abroad at one of our wide range of partner institutions across France but also in Switzerland, Quebec and Morocco.

Students on the BA (Hons) French programme write a dissertation in their final semester, an option which is also open to motivated students on many of degree programmes involving French.

Delivery 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.

Learn more about studying these subjects

Related degrees

European Film and Media; International Management Studies and Intercultural Studies; Modern Languages; Spanish.

Modes of study

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

Find out more

Why Stirling?


International Students

The University of Stirling welcomes applications from all countries.

Study abroad opportunities

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, Switzerland or Morocco. In addition, all eligible students also have the option 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. French at Stirling 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 (ESSEC) and Strasbourg (EMS).

Students who are on joint programmes involving both French and Spanish need to ensure that they fulfil the minimum residence requirements for both languages before completing their degrees. For many students, this can be done by undertaking an assistantship in one language area and then spending Semester 6 in the other language area. Where this is not possible, students have to complete Semester 6 in one language area and a minimum of 4 weeks in the other. This 4-week period is usually completed by studying at a language during vacation periods and is done at the student’s own expense. However, we are always happy to explore other possibilities (eg nannying, au pair posts, internships, etc) with students.

Our students

"Studying French at Stirling is both diverse and challenging, offering an ample approach to the language itself and its cultural spread across the globe. It definitely contributed to my success in landing a traineeship at the European Commission in Brussels, a place and work environment where speaking French is essential."

Henry Caffarena, BA (Hons) French and Spanish, Graduated in 2016.

Careers and employability

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
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