With over 500 undergraduates, French is the largest constituent part of the Department of Modern Languages. We are an enthusiastic and energetic department whose internationally renowned research feeds directly into a diverse and stimulating teaching programme.
Our basic philosophy is to ensure broad academic coverage with maximum choice. You can select from a wide variety of modules in most areas of French Studies: cultural studies from the Middle Ages to the present; literature and the visual arts; film; linguistics; gender and sexuality studies. Many of these areas may be new to you, but we find that our students rise exceptionally well to the challenge of broadening their intellectual horizons. The flexibility of French Studies at Exeter means that you can decide to pursue a broad-based programme of study that includes modules taken from several of the areas mentioned above, or that you can specialise in one or two pathways.
As far as language work is concerned, you will be expected to become proficient in various spoken and written communication skills, including translation. Some of your classes will be with our team of native French-speakers and you will have access to the state-of-the-art facilities in the newly refurbished Foreign Language Centre. As part of your studies, you will have the opportunity to spend a period of residence abroad in a Francophone country. You will also be able to join the French Society, organised by undergraduate students, and enjoy the varied programme of talks, films, drama and social activities that they arrange.
All degrees involving French combine core training in the written and spoken language with the critical study of aspects of French and Francophone culture. The language module has a topic-based syllabus covering a number of subjects of current interest such as leisure, the media, Paris, the provinces, the economy, family and private life. The rich diversity of French culture in the broadest sense of the word is reflected in the wide range of optional modules offered from Year 1. We recognise the increasingly varied academic backgrounds of our incoming students and we aim to cater for differing expectations, inclinations and prior experience. You’ll have the opportunity to study virtually all genres and periods of French literature, as well as French linguistics, French cultural and social issues, gender studies and modern French cinema.
If you choose to spend your year abroad in a French-speaking country, you may want to take advantage of one of our long-standing exchanges with universities such as Rennes and Brussels; or you might apply for a job teaching English under the scheme run by the British Council. Other students apply for work placements, which can be part-funded by the EU’s Erasmus Work Placement scheme.