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The University of Southampton
Languages, Cultures and LinguisticsPart of Humanities

French Studies

French is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and a key language for international communication. It is a native language in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada and the French Caribbean and an official language in many African and Asian countries.

You will develop your practical French language skills to a high level
French studies

French studies at Southampton

There are many clichés about French culture. It is the culture of great literature and even better food, of intellectuals and art cinema, of political protest movements and anti-Americanism. Or is it? Studying French at Southampton is an ideal way to get inside the language, culture and society of France and other French-speaking countries. And you might be surprised by what you find.

Course combinations

At Southampton, you can study French as a single subject, gaining an in-depth understanding of many aspects of French life, culture and society, all adding up to an enjoyable challenge and an asset in any future career. You can also combine French with a wide range of other subjects including German, Spanish, Portuguese, film studies, philosophy, mathematics, politics or English.

Find about more about course combinations either through our Flexible study page or by looking our programmes pages in the Find a course section of the Humanities website.

Language learning

French language learning is organised as a series of language stages which operate independently from your year of study. This means that in your first year you begin at the stage most appropriate for you. At each stage the courses are designed to develop your skills in spoken and written language and to enable you to make steady and rapid progress.

You will have regular discussion classes with native speakers, as well as classes based on the use of written materials. In addition, you will use our excellent facilities, including individual TV and video viewing, CD ROMs and the internet.

Programme structure

The first year
The first year will be a foundation for your further study. You will follow a French language course, which will develop the four fundamental practical skills of reading and writing, listening and speaking. The rest will be made of introductory modules in the 'fields of study' (Linguistic Studies, Literary and Cultural Studies, Film and Television Studies and Social and Political Studies).

You will be encouraged to think about the different ways to approach the subject and the broader contexts in which you could situate it.

The second year
In your second year, you will develop your practical French language skills to a high level of proficiency particularly in relation to text handling and oral communication. You can choose other modules according to your own interests.

The third year - the year abroad
Your third year will normally be spent abroad in a French-speaking country whether in Europe or further afield, as a language assistant in a school, or a student in a university on an Socrates exchange, or in suitable employment. During this year, you will normally carry out an investigative project on a current local issue, with the guidance of a tutor.

Our current SOCRATES links are Aix-en-Provence, Angers, Besançon, Brussels, Caen, Grenoble, Liege, Lille, Lyon and Rouen.

The final year
For examples of final-year course module options and programmes, see the programme listings on the Humanities website.

Postgraduate study opportunities

We offer a range of postgraduate programmes from one-year masters to four-year PhDs including a four-year programme focusing on socio-political, historical, cultural and linguistic aspects of transnationalism. These programmes are run in collaboration with the other disciplines within Humanities.


Key facts

Studying at Southampton offers an opportunity to take part in the Student French society and discover the resources of 'La Grenouillére'. Qui dit mieux?

You can choose to study French in a range of degrees in a 'broad' or focused' mode.

You can study French as a single subject, gaining an in depth understanding of many aspects of french life or you can combine French with a wide range of other subjects.

If you take French in combination with another subject, you will be able to choose how much emphasis to give to French and build up an interesting combination of complementary courses (for example French and German students might take parallel courses in French and German sociolinguistics)

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