Studying French at Kent, you'll develop advanced linguistic skills in a major international language, as well as a deep understanding of the cultures, histories and structures of French-speaking nations worldwide.
As a student of French, you work in lectures, seminars and one-to-one tutorials with staff who are specialists in French art, literature, film, women’s studies, philosophy, critical theory and linguistics, as well as with our team of language lectors who are native speakers.
Taster lecture: Dr David Hornsby, Senior Lecturer in French and Linguistics, explores the relationship between language and society in Franglais: a beginner's guide, and discusses how "borrowed" words from other languages have developed the lexicon.
The University of Kent is an ideal location to study French. Canterbury is the closest British university city to mainland Europe, and our proximity to the Channel ports and Eurostar stations at Ashford and Ebbsfleet means you can be in Paris, Lille or Brussels in just a couple of hours. There is a large community of French-speaking students on campus, so you have a better chance to immerse yourself in the French language than at any other university in the country.
You also have the opportunity to take part in a mentoring scheme for secondary school pupils. By helping them to increase their ability to speak, read and write fluently in a foreign language, you will gain valuable work experience for future careers in education or leadership roles in any field.
You are required to spend a year working or studying abroad between your second and final year of study. In previous years, students have studied at our partner institutions in a country appropriate to their programme of study, and we have a wide range of links with French, Canadian, Belgian and Swiss universities. You’ll develop your language skills, grow in self-confidence, gain a new academic perspective, and enhance your employability.
During your year abroad, you could begin to study for a French qualification (Licence), or alternatively you can gain work experience by becoming a language assistant in a French school or pursuing other career paths. Our link with the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris also gives any student at Kent the opportunity to sit for the internationally recognised diplomas offered by that body.
Dr David Hornsby, Senior Lecturer in French and Linguistics, talks about the life-changing experience of his year abroad and discovering sociolinguistics.
Compulsory language modules typically involve three to four hours of classes per week, including one hour of small group work with a native speaker. We also make extensive use of computer-assisted language learning packages and audio and video materials. Culture and literature modules typically involve a weekly two-hour seminar plus essay supervision. We employ six French language lectors to help students improve their fluency.
At all stages, assessment is based 100% on coursework (essays, oral presentations) in the first half of the year, and a combination of coursework and examination in the second half of the year. Credits from your year abroad count towards your final degree.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- French Language
- French and Francophone Literature and cultures from the 17th to the 21st centuries
- French and Francophone History
- French and Francophone Critical Theory
- French and Francophone Cultural Theory
- French and Francophone civilisation and contemporary society, through first-hand experience
You gain intellectual skills in:
- Apply the skills needed for academic study and enquiry
- Evaluate information critically
- Synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of the subject
- Utilise communication skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) for the coherent expression and transfer of knowledge
- Analyse, evaluate and interpret a variety of texts and other cultural products in a critical manner
- Study and reach conclusions independently
- Organise and present ideas within the framework of a structured and reasoned argument
- Utilise problem-solving skills related to everyday and academic or professional life in a French-speaking country
You gain subject-specific skills to:
- Communicate effectively in French for a range of purposes and audiences
- Develop language skills in reception (listening and reading); production (speaking and writing); and mediation between at least two languages (translation and interpreting)
- Demonstrate detailed knowledge and effective understanding of the various structures and registers of French
- Translate accurately and efficiently into and from the target language
- Analyse critically a variety of texts be they journalistic, historical, visual or literary
- Gain intercultural awareness and competence, and an appreciation of cultural diversity
- Ability to mediate and display qualities of empathy in an intercultural context
- Acquire intercultural awareness through everyday experience of and interaction with French-speaking communities
You gain transferable skills in:
- Communicate effectively with a wide range of individuals using a variety of means
- Evaluate one’s own academic performance
- Problem-solving skills in a variety of theoretical and practical situations
- Accurate and effective note-taking and summarising skills
- Library and bibliographical research skills
- Take responsibility for personal and professional learning and development
- Manage time and prioritise workloads, think and perform under pressure
- Capacity for teamwork
- Leadership abilities
- Work creatively and flexibly
- Deploy a range of Information Technology skills effectively, such as word processing text with footnotes, basic formatting, using e-mail, searching databases and text-files, navigating the Web
- Develop independence and self-reliance while accommodating to and living in a French-speaking country
This programme aims to:
- provide a sound grounding in the French language in all its aspects, through extensive reading in French and through the use of French as a spoken and written medium.
- Develop a critical awareness of the broad canon of French-speaking cultures and societies from the 17th century to the 21st century.
- Develop specialist knowledge of a range of areas within the broad canon of French Studies.
- Train students in the field of translation from and into French.
- Provide a gateway to related thematic studies comprising various bodies of knowledge and methodological approaches.
- Provide teaching which is informed by current research and scholarship and which requires students to engage with aspects of work at the frontiers of knowledge.
- Provide a means of access to intercultural awareness and understanding.
- Contribute to widening participation in higher education by offering a wide variety of entry routes.
- Meet the lifelong needs of a diversity of students
- Provide opportunities for the development of personal, communication, research and other key skills appropriate for graduate employment both in industry and in the public sector.
- Develop general critical, analytical and problem-solving skills which can be applied in a wide range of situations.
- Facilitate students’ ability to cope independently in French.
- Build on close ties within Europe and elsewhere (notably in French-speaking countries and regions), reflecting Kent’s position as the UK’s European University.
- produce graduates of value to the region, nationally and internationally, in possession of key knowledge and skills.
- prepare students for employment or further study.
- provide learning opportunities that are enjoyable experiences, involve realistic workloads, based within a research-led framework and offer appropriate support for students from a diverse range of backgrounds.
- provide high quality teaching in supportive environments with appropriately qualified and trained staff.
- Provide students with the opportunity to spend a full academic year in a French-speaking country. They may attend one of the partner universities in France, Switzerland, Belgium or Canada, work as a language assistant in a school through the British Council, or arrange suitable employment (which must be verified by the University of Kent).
- Provide students with the opportunity to improve their spoken and written language skills in educational, professional and social contexts.