French & Francophone Studies

The French language is spoken by 270 million people worldwide – from arctic Canada, through Europe and Africa, to the islands of the South Pacific.

The Arc De Triomphe

French at Sheffield

The global influence and diverse developments of France and Francophone cultures remain a key feature of the modern world – from politics, literature, linguistics and film to international trade, social policy and philosophy.

At Sheffield, we believe languages are best studied in context - ensuring both linguistic fluency and a deeper cultural understanding. With our French undergraduate degrees, you won't just become a confident user of a different language, you'll be a confident international citizen and will add new perspectives to your understanding of the world and its people.

More about the French community at Sheffield


Undergraduate degree combinations

To see how our degrees can be structured and combined, please visit the following:

BA Modern Languages & Cultures (BAMLC) - this course allows you to choose between one and three languages to study.

Dual degrees with a non-language - these options allow you to take a language (or two, in some cases) alongside a non-language subject.


Level of Study

Post A-level

Year One

For post A-level students, the first year helps you make the transition from A-Level to university study, while showing the possibilities offered by studying French at Sheffield. We provide you with a solid grounding in language study while introducing you to the academic skills needed for your degree. The core units combine intensive study of the French language with lectures and seminars on French and Francophone society and culture.

Year Two

You continue to further develop your language skills and select from a range of specialist modules on history, literature, translation and society - see modules below for more detail.

Year Three - Year Abroad

Depending on your degree programme, you will spend either one or two semesters in a French-speaking country. You can study at a university, pursue voluntary work, do a work placement or work as a language assistant in a school.

Year Four - Final Year

You will have three hours of tuition in French per week. One hour focuses on developing composition and creative-writing skills in French, a second hour is dedicated to translation and the third hour focuses on spoken French.
There are further opportunities for specialist study, alongside core modules designed to develop sophisticated language use across a range of topics. Most students will choose at least two optional modules from the broad range on offer.

Beginners

Year One

You will take four hours of interactive language classes per week conducted in a mixture of French and English, which provide you with a solid grounding in speaking, listening, writing and reading skills. You will also have a structured programme of independent study and regular feedback on your progress and work. These classes and lectures are supplemented by one hour of lectures per week on French and Francophone history, society and culture.

Year Two

You will take four hours of interactive language classes a week conducted in a mixture of French and English. The core language modules are complemented by a range of option modules that allow you to develop your cultural knowledge and awareness of the French-speaking world.

Year Three - Year Abroad

You can choose the same options outlined on the advanced pathway.

Year Four - Final Year

After the immersive and transformative experience of the year abroad, the two pathways join and all students have the same options as described above.


Modules

You will study 40 credits in language and culture at either beginner or post A-level*.

Beginner's French & Francophone Studies

Title Credits Core/Optional
French Language Beginners 20 Core

Understanding Modern France 

This core content module will introduce students to key aspects of France's history, society, politics and culture through the study of a range of important texts and media. It will focus on key historical events, the values and ideas that inform French and francophone society today, giving an historical overview of their development from Louise XIV to Emmanuel Macron. It will thus enable students to learn the interpretative methodologies specific to a range of cultural forms. It will provide them with a sound understanding of disciplinary studies, both within the language(s)/culture(s) they have chosen to study and, more broadly, within the discipline of Languages and Cultures today. It aims to facilitate the students' transition to University study, to complement the core language modules (which also cover some aspects of culture) studied at Level 1, in addition to serving as the solid foundation for more advanced study and specialisation at Level 2 and onwards. There will be opportunities for synoptic assessment in connection with the relevant language module.

20 Core (if you are studying one or two languages and cultures)
Optional (if you are studying three languages and cultures)

Post A-Level French & Francophone Studies

Title Credits Core/Optional
French Language Post A-Level 20 Core

Understanding Modern France This core content module will introduce students to key aspects of France's history, society, politics and culture through the study of a range of important texts and media. It will focus on key historical events, the values and ideas that inform French and francophone society today, giving an historical overview of their development from Louise XIV to Emmanuel Macron. It will thus enable students to learn the interpretative methodologies specific to a range of cultural forms. It will provide them with a sound understanding of disciplinary studies, both within the language(s)/culture(s) they have chosen to study and, more broadly, within the discipline of Languages and Cultures today. It aims to facilitate the students' transition to University study, to complement the core language modules (which also cover some aspects of culture) studied at Level 1, in addition to serving as the solid foundation for more advanced study and specialisation at Level 2 and onwards. There will be opportunities for synoptic assessment in connection with the relevant language module.

20

Core (if you are studying one or two languages and cultures)
Optional (if you are studying three languages and cultures)

You may also choose from the following:

Title Credits Core/Optional

Intersections: Text, Image, Thought in the French-speaking world

This module will focus on two important French texts per semester (with 'text' taken in its largest sense of book, film, art work, piece of music, cultural product, etc.). Each text will form the basis for a close reading, followed by analyses using French cultural, historical, literary and critical theory approaches as well as adaptations into other media (such as film, art and music) where appropriate. The module will be taught and assessed in English, but the materials will be made available in both French and English, with French students required to use and cite the French materials. The aim of the module is to introduce students to significant French texts and to illustrate and explore a range of possible critical approaches to them, including cross-media or intermedial reinterpretations.

20 Optional

An Introduction to the Social and Political History of Iberia & Latin America 

This module examines the historical trajectory of Spain, its emergence as a state in the Iberian Peninsula, its imperial expansion overseas into Latin America, the eventual independence of the colonies and their development and consolidation into the various modern-day states we know today. The module will explore the social, political, linguistic and cultural characteristics of these states and its peoples and highlight the importance of understanding their complex history in the formation of their identities, their languages and their cultural and political values. The module has a particular emphasis on the importance of myths and how, regardless of their historical veracity, they can condition behaviours, mould identities and shape future history.

20 Optional

Resist! The Art of Protest in Berlin and Amsterdam

Berlin and Amsterdam: two capitals at the forefront of protest and alternative lifestyles from the early 20th century right up to the present. Where did their radical traditions spring from? What do these protests say about how the cities and nations see themselves? How does creative resistance fuel gentrification and urban tourism? 

This module explores the culture of resistance and protest from the first women's march for the vote and posters and activism against war and fascism, to the creative resistance of the Amsterdam PROVO movement in the 1960s to Black Lives Matter/Kick out Zwarte Piet. 

We will cover concepts such as populism, activism, colonial resistance, feminism, BLM, climate activism. How do these movement use art and image to press their causes?  

20 Optional

Comparative Visual Cultures

Visual literacy is a key skill and visual culture remains one of the most accessible and important modes through which we represent, understand and critique our world. This module provides an introduction to some of the major trends within visual cultures in European languages, and the development of visual media. Students will work on a selection of visual texts across national frameworks and historical periods to examine their conditions of production, distribution and reception and to explore how meaning is constructed and critiqued in visual culture. In seminars we will engage with detailed analysis of core texts and with critical materials. Students will be encouraged to consider country-specific, transnational and comparative trends through a critical lens. 

20 Optional

Understanding Spanish and Latin American Culture

Why has the gypsy culture of Andalucía been so crucial to ideas about Spanish identity and how and why has this changed? How did gender politics and the role of women change after the Franco dictatorship in Spain? How and why was modernity experienced as a crisis in Latin America? How does class struggle shape Latin America? What does Revolution really mean in the context of Latin America? These are just some of the questions that will be explored in this module. This course examines the literature and culture of modern Spain and modern Spanish-speaking Latin America. In each semester, three cultural products from one of these two areas are studied, and may include poetry, theatre, narrative fiction or film. We will build up a picture of the cultural history of Spain and Latin America, as well as looking at key themes to emerge from selected literary, dramatic and/or cinematic outputs. By focussing on different genres in each semester, students will be able to explore different types of cultural product and to develop analytical skills gradually by moving from shorter pieces to a larger body of writing. Students taking post-A Level or equivalent will study primary texts in their original Spanish version. Beginners will study primary texts in English translation. This module is strongly recommended as a foundational core course for further study in Spanish and Latin American Studies.

20 Optional

The Soviet Union 1917-1991

Overview of the formation, development and collapse of the USSR, beginning from c.1900. Covers historiographic problems in analysing primary materials, ideological problems in dealing with the revolutionary movement and subsequent developments, debates over the nature and trajectory of the USSR and its place in the wider world.

  Optional (Autumn Semester only)

* For language classes, you will be placed in an appropriate group for your level.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Information last updated:


Four students laughing while sat at a bench, outside the Students' Union

International Merit Scholarships

We offer a generous package of financial support for international students including 75 undergraduate scholarships worth £10,000 towards the annual tuition fee and 125 postgraduate taught scholarships worth £5,000 towards the tuition fee. Applications are now open for existing offer holders.