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 Ashford International station means you can be in Paris in just a couple of hours. There are also many French-speaking students on campus, so you have a better chance to immerse yourself in the language than at any other university in the country.
At Kent, we have a wide range of links with French, Canadian, Belgian and Swiss universities. During your year abroad, as part of an Erasmus exchange programme, 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 recognized diplomas offered by that body.
As a student of French at Kent, you work in lectures, seminars and one-to-one tutorials with staff who are specialists in art, literature, film, women’s studies, philosophy, critical theory, and linguistics, as well as with our team of language lectors who are native speakers.
French at Kent was ranked 1st for research quality in The Complete University Guide 2018.
For graduate prospects, Modern Languages at Kent was ranked 5th in The Guardian University Guide 2018. French students who graduated from Kent in 2016 were the most successful in the UK at finding work or further study opportunities within six months (DLHE).
Teaching and assessment
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.
This programme aims to:
- provide a sound grounding in the French language in all its aspects
- immerse you in Francophone culture by enabling you to spend one year in a Francophone country. In most cases you will participate in an exchange in France or Switzerland, to work as a language assistant in a French school or in the Kent Regional Office in Brussels
- develop a critical awareness of the broad canon of French literature from the 17th century to the 21st century as well as of the role of French cinema and French linguistics in the development of contemporary French culture
- train you in the field of translation from and into the target language
- provide a gateway to related thematic studies
- 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
- provide opportunities for the development of personal, communication, research and other key skills appropriate for graduate employment both in the industry and in the public sector
- develop general critical, analytical and problem-solving skills that can be applied in a wide range of situations.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- French language
- French literature from the 17th to the 21st century
- French linguistics
- French cinema
- French theatre
- Francophone autobiography
- French postcolonial studies
- Francophone presence in the world
- French history
- critical theory.
You gain intellectual skills in:
- applying the skills needed for academic study and inquiry
- how to evaluate information critically
- synthesizing information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of the subject
- utilizing problem-solving skills
- how to utilize communication skills for the coherent expression and transfer of knowledge
- analyzing, evaluating and interpreting a variety of types of evidence in a critical manner
- how to study and reach conclusions independently.
You gain subject-specific skills to:
- communicate effectively in French
- develop reading speed in French
- demonstrate detailed knowledge and effective understanding of the various structures and registers of French
- translate accurately and efficiently into and from the target language
- analyze critically a variety of texts, be they journalistic, historical or literary
- appreciate cultural diversity
- work independently in a Francophone business environment
- perform well in these three related areas: a) reception (listening and reading), b) production (speaking and writing) and c) mediation between at least two languages (translation and interpreting).
You gain transferable skills to:
- communicate effectively with a wide range of individuals using a variety of means
- evaluate your own academic performance
- utilize problem-solving skills in a variety of theoretical and practical situations
- demonstrate active and effective note-taking and summarising skills
- demonstrate library and bibliographical research skills
- use French language source materials
- take responsibility for personal and professional learning and development
- manage time and prioritize workloads, and to think and perform under pressure
- demonstrate a capacity for teamwork
- demonstrate leadership abilities
- work creatively and flexible
- deploy a range of IT skills effectively, such as how to produce written documents; undertake online research; communicate using email; process information using databases.
The ability to speak a European language other than English is a key asset in the global employment market, and many employers view a graduate with overseas experience as more employable. Through your studies, you also acquire many of the transferable skills considered essential by graduate employers. These include the ability to work independently and as part of a team, the confidence to offer creative solutions when faced with challenges, and the ability to express your ideas with clarity and passion.
Our students go into areas such as international banking, diplomacy, publishing, journalism, international product management, interpreting and translating European media, law or accountancy, and language teaching. Some go on to postgraduate study in fields as varied as international journalism, visual studies, and translation.
The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice.
It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.
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