French study guide 2023/24

French at Bristol

French is a global language, spoken in more than 30 countries in Europe, North and West Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, Polynesia, North America and Asia.

Knowledge of French language and culture thus offers an international perspective and France and other Francophone countries offer diverse and stimulating cultures for study.

The department encourages synergy between research and teaching, resulting in a vibrant learning environment, as staff respond in their teaching to new research. Our broad expertise reflects the range of contributions that French culture has made, and the major role that France continues to play, in Europe and the wider world.

Unit structure

The department offers many classes that are based in a single semester, and can therefore accept unit requests from Study Abroad students who want to join Bristol for just the autumn or spring semester.

Unit levels

The department offers units across all undergraduate levels of study: year 1 (level C/4), year 2 (level I/5), and year 3 (level H/6) units. The department does not offer postgraduate units (level M/7), however selected postgraduate units (level M/7) are available from elsewhere in the School of Modern Languages (please see the Cultural Studies guide). Level M/7 units are normally taken by students who have studied the subject for at least 3 years beforehand and are at an appropriate level of study to take postgraduate units.

Unit codes

Unit codes in the Department of French begin with 'FREN'. This is followed by a number indicating the year (1, 2, 3). For example:

  • FREN10000 = year 1 unit
  • FREN20000 = year 2 unit
  • FREN30000 = year 3 unit.

For more information about each unit, check the University's unit catalogue for 2023/24. Applicants on all study abroad programmes must review the unit details on the catalogue before listing unit choices on their application form. This includes checking the format of assessment for each unit. The unit catalogue for 2023/24 is updated by April 2023.

Your unit choices cannot be guaranteed. Some units may not have capacity to accommodate all of the unit requests we receive. Registration on a unit also depends on whether you meet the pre-requisite conditions through prior study at your home university.

Study Abroad (Subject pathway)

If you have been nominated to Bristol on the Study Abroad French subject pathway, you can access units from the study guides listed below, in addition to this one. Please note that you are required to take the majority of your credits from these options:

Each of the departments within the School of Modern Languages offers a range of additional units on cultural topics (literature, cinema, history, identity, etc.) that require knowledge of the relevant modern language. Students who are not on the Subject Pathway for that department, but are able to demonstrate the required language level (A2 for 10000-level units, B1 or B2 for 20000-level units and C1 for 30000-level units) may apply to be considered for registration on units from these study guide:

Units available on the study abroad programme in 2023/24

The following units from the Department of French are open to incoming Study Abroad students.

Year 1 (level C/4)

  • French Cultures in Context (TB1) - FREN10030
  • Global French (TB2) - FREN10011
  • Representations of Francophone Cultures (TB2) - FREN10013

Year 2 (level I/5)

  • Algeria and France: Memory and Migration in Text and Image (TB1) - FREN20059
  • Burning Books (TB2) - FREN20065
  • French Fiction: from Realism to the Twenty-first Century (TB2) - FREN20048
  • France during the Second World War: culture, politics and society (TB2) - FREN20070
  • France in Ferment, 1870-1949 (TB2) - FREN20063
  • French Drama (TB1) - FREN20026
  • French Thought (TB2) - FREN20068
  • Introduction to Francophone African Literature (TB2) - FREN20069
  • Introduction to French Cinema (TB1) - FREN20056
  • Paris: 1857-1897 (TB2) - FREN20041
  • The French Language: Structures and Varieties (TB1) - FREN20044
  • Women and Gender in Medieval French Literature (1150-1450) (TB1) - FREN20071

Year 3 (level H/6)

  • Aesthetics of Revolution (TB2) - FREN30106
  • Francophone Identities in the Visual Arts (TB1) - FREN30099
  • French Dialectology: Geographical Variation and Change in the Espace Francophone (TBC) - FREN30120
  • Les Misérables: Readings and Receptions (TB1) - FREN30030
  • Me, Myself, and I: The Essais of Michel de Montaigne (TB1) - FREN30114
  • Political Cultures of Early Twentieth-Century France (TB1) - FREN30044
  • Prestige, soft power and diplomatie d’influence: Exporting French culture in the world from the 1870s to the present (TB1) - FREN30133
  • Propaganda, Politics, and the Islamic Other: Literary Responses to the Crusades (TB2) - FREN30117
  • Revolution, theatre and the public sphere (TB2) - FREN30124
  • Revolutions in Fiction: Romanticism and Realism (TB2) - FREN30118
  • Surrealism: Pleasure and Provocation in 1920s Textual and Visual Culture (TB2) - FREN30040

Year 4 (level M/7)

None available

Selected English Literature units available to French subject pathway students

There are 2 units available from the Department of English:

  • Approaches to Poetry (TB2) - ENGL10026
  • Critical Issues (TB1) - ENGL10017

(Please note that other English Literature units are not available on the French subject pathway programme).

Application queries

Contact the Global Opportunities Team if you have any queries about the application process for the study abroad programmes:

Phone: +44 117 39 40207


Students cannot audit units. Study abroad students are fully registered on units for credit purposes and must attend teaching only for classes that they are registered on.

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