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BA French Studies and Modern Languages

Why we're great

  • Great flexibility and choice: You focus on French, but can choose up to two further languages choosing between German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese from beginner or post-A level standard. Mandarin Chinese is available at beginner’s level.
  • We specialise in developing translation, interpreting and subtitling skills at undergraduate level using the latest technology in our multimedia labs.
  • Our study abroad opportunities include studying at a partner university, combining study and work experience, or taking up a British council assistantship.

Course options2017-18

UCAS code: RR19
Duration: 4 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Language and Linguistics
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £13,350
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 873666
Email admit@essex.ac.uk
Live chat

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About the course

Language is fundamental to our thought, our relationships, and our civilisations. Through language we transmit knowledge, from inviting someone for coffee, to promoting the latest scientific theory, to settling global political disputes.

With 200 million speakers worldwide on five continents, French is one of the official language of the UN, the EU and the Olympics, so the Mastery level achieved on this course is valued in the public as well as the private sector. You’ll become highly proficient in French and will be able to study up to a further two of the modern languages taught at Essex, including German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese.

These languages can be studied alongside a complementary range of cultural and professional skills modules from translating, interpreting and subtitling, to French cinema and culture.

For most of our languages, we offer modules in all six different levels recognised by the Common European Framework. With two modules completed in French each year, you are expected to reach Mastery level in the language by the end of our course, and are also encouraged to gain confidence in one or two other languages of your choice. As well as gaining fluency in French, you become proficient in the broad range of its practical use, from professional translation to creative writing.

If you want a global outlook, are interested in human communication, and want to study for a degree with real-world practical value in a world-class department, welcome to Essex.

“The Department of Language and Linguistics is very friendly and well-organised; everyone is made to feel welcome and students are all offered advice or guidance if they need it, particularly in their first year. Being a student at Essex was one of the best and most important experiences of my life!”

Trevor Katsanis, BA Modern Languages, 2011

Study abroad

Our course offers two possibilities for your year abroad. The first allows you to study at one of the prestigious universities with which we have exchange links. You continue to study modules relevant to your course, learning your chosen languages within a country that speaks them.

The second option allows you to work as a language assistant, thereby acquiring valuable professional experience in an international context in addition to earning money.

This unique experience helps you stand out when applying for jobs.

Whichever option you choose, your year abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

Our expert staff

At Essex, we maintain excellent student-staff ratios, and we integrate language learning with linguistics wherever there is synergy.

In addition to helping you acquire practical foreign language skills, our staff share their expertise with you in the areas of professional translation, interpreting and subtitling, film and art, business, and culture.

Specialist facilities

Your future

Companies and organisations in the UK and abroad are struggling to find university graduates who are fluent in at least one other language, apart from English.

Being an Essex modern languages graduate places you in a very advantageous position. You will be able to speak and write fluently, or to a very competent standard, in up to four languages Each of the languages we teach are widely used in the business world, and so many of our graduates are recruited by international firms looking for language specialists, and go on to develop successful global careers.

Our graduates become teachers, translators, administrators and journalists. Their valued language skills have enabled them to work in diverse fields including banking, entertainment, media, education and tourism, as well as for a host of UK and international companies. In particular, a degree in modern languages lends itself to a career in education, translation, interpretation, trade, PR, communications, immigration or diplomacy.

For example, one of our recent graduates now teaches English for the British Council, whilst another works internationally with NATO.

We also work with the University’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

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Example structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory modules and options chosen from lists. Below is just one example of a combination of modules you could take. For a full list of optional modules you can look at the course’s Programme Specification.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change.

Our courses allow you to study up to two, three or four modern languages. The language module you study depends upon your level when you arrive in the department. We are happy to accept students with no previous knowledge of the language (except for French where an A level is required if you wish to major in this language). Please refer to the progression pathway table to find out which modules are suitable for your linguistic profile.

Year 1

Want to build your confidence when both speaking and writing in French? Develop your university-level French language skills, improving your aural comprehension while boosting your grammar knowledge and vocabulary. Learn to appreciate, summarise and evaluate a piece of text. Expand your understanding of French culture and society.

To whom do you say “¿Cómo estás?” And to whom do you say “¿Cómo están?” Gain the basic linguistic skills to enjoy a visit to Spain. Learn the dialogue, structures and tenses needed for everyday situations, and develop the writing skills required for short messages.

Have you knowledge of Spanish, Italian or Romanian? Do you want to speak Portuguese too? Develop advanced written, aural/oral and reading skills, as well as build your knowledge of Brazilian/Portuguese culture and society. Learn to understand short texts, be able to write letters and interact in everyday situations in Portuguese.

What are your skills? And how do they fit in with your career plans? Build your employability skills through this non-credit bearing but obligatory module. Attend workshops and events, engage in activities to raise your employability and build your knowledge of the graduate job market.

Year 2

Want to develop your language skills through French cinema? Study six French films in depth to further improve your language abilities. Gain an insight into key aspects of French cinema and culture, deepening your existing knowledge and understanding.

Are you ready to study abroad? How will it improve your French? Prepare for your period abroad by examining how your language skills will develop, alongside topics related to French gastronomy, music, and suburban life. Study literature, with a focus on creative writing and participate in assessed filmed role-plays.

Do you want to be able to analyse Spanish and Latin American prose? Or use your spoken Spanish to show a range of registers and emotions in a conversation? Study the history and development of the Spanish language and the societies that speak it, from pre-history to modern times.

Want to build your confidence when both speaking and writing in Spanish? Develop your language abilities, expanding your vocabulary and improving your listening and oral skills. Expand your understanding of Spanish and Latin American culture and history through the use of texts, films and conversations with native speakers.

What are your skills? And how do they fit in with your career plans? Build your employability skills through this non-credit bearing but obligatory module. Attend workshops and events, engage in activities to raise your employability and build your knowledge of the graduate job market.

Final year

Want Final Honours level competence in French? Wish to deal quickly and precisely with any written or spoken document? Refine your knowledge of French grammar and vocabulary to near-native level comprehension. Undertake collaborative research into topical issues, and consolidate your understanding of French culture.

The aim of this module is to provide you with comprehensive practical experience of translating different kinds of texts both from the source language into English and from English into a target language. You will look at a range of texts from news and business correspondence, to manuals, advertising and newspaper clips and develop your ability to reflect on context, purpose, target audience and style, analysing and discussing different alternatives, all relevant for making good choices on translation. It will also introduce you to interpreting and subtitling skills.

What fascinates you? Want to undertake independent study on one or more of your languages? Produce a dissertation, in a foreign language, on a topic of your choice. Remember your dissertation could take the form of a treatise, a translation with commentary, or a piece of video subtitling with commentary.

Want to build your confidence when both speaking and writing in Portuguese? Develop your language abilities, expanding your vocabulary and improving your listening and oral skills. Expand your understanding of the Portuguese-speaking culture and history through the use of texts, films and online resources.

What are your skills? And how do they fit in with your career plans? Build your employability skills through this non-credit bearing but obligatory module. Attend workshops and events, engage in activities to raise your employability and build your knowledge of the graduate job market.

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

Teaching

  • Teaching takes the form of lectures and seminar sessions or discussion classes
  • State-of-the-art technologies and materials create an ideal learning environment
  • Activities designed to develop your practical language skills, such as role-play and class presentations
  • Cultural and social themes are explored through film, music, the internet, theatre and literature

Assessment

  • Language abilities are assessed through role-plays, translations, essay writing, creative writing, and quizzes
  • Written examinations are also taken for the majority of modules at the end of each academic year
  • Weighted 50% coursework and 50% exams

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Qualifications

UK entry requirements

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email admit@essex.ac.uk for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

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Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.

Applicant Days and interviews

Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our applicant days. These run from January to April and give you the chance to explore the campus, meet our students and really get a feel for life as an Essex student.

Some of our courses also hold interviews and if you’re invited to one, this will take place during your applicant day. Don’t panic, they’re nothing to worry about and it’s a great way for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the course. Some of our interviews are one-to-one with an academic, others are group activities, but we’ll send you all the information you need beforehand.

If you’re outside the UK and are planning a trip, feel free to email visit@essex.ac.uk so we can help you plan a visit to the University.

Visit us

Open days

Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. In 2017 we have three undergraduate Open Days (in June, September and October). These events enable you to discover what our Colchester Campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

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