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BA (Hons) French and Italian Language (with a year abroad)

Immerse yourself in languages through the study of society and culture

2018/19 entry

UCAS code


Institution code



4 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2018 (term dates)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2018/19)

International fees

£16,620 per year (2018/19)

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Combine the study of French and Italian with investigations into the nature of language itself. Spend a year abroad studying, working or teaching in Italian and French-speaking countries, consolidating your language skills.

You'll be taught in French and Italian, so you'll become confident using your languages as a means of communication, and for critical thinking. You'll gain an understanding of French and Italian culture and societies which will underpin your abilities as a high-level communicator in both languages.

Your communication skills will be complemented by investigations into the science and structure of language through a range of linguistics modules. Our department is one of the highest-ranked centres for research in linguistics in the UK, and the strength and diversity of our research is reflected in our teaching.

The course has flexibility in terms of how much French, Italian and linguistics content you study over the four years. By the end of your studies, you will be equipped for a range of professional roles that call for expertise in language, linguistics and culture.


Top ten

We are 4th in the UK for Italian and top 10 in the UK for French (Complete University Guide, 2018). We are top 100 in the QS World Rankings 2017.

The staff at York are inspiring, approachable and most of all, great at teaching languages.
Jacob, Spanish and Italian student

Read more on Jacob's blog.

Course content

During your degree, you'll study modules in French, Italian and Linguistics.

Your language modules will explore the society and culture of French and Italian-speaking societies and you'll be taught almost exclusively in the target language. These modules will help you to develop the cultural and linguistic knowledge you'll need to become a high-level communicator in each language.

Your linguistics modules will help you understand the nature of language itself: how it is structured, how it has evolved, and how we use and understand it within our society. These modules will enable you to think critically and approach your studies from an analytical point of view.

In your second and final years, you can tailor your degree to your interests. You can:

  • study French, Italian and linguistics in equal amounts throughout your degree
  • focus just on your two languages, reducing the amount of linguistics you study
  • choose to study one language predominantly in your final year (this usually happens if you've only spent time in one country for your year abroad).

Read more about current modules.

Year 1


You'll take the following modules. These modules focus on developing your fluency, accuracy and communication expertise.

By taking Italian ab initio, you will follow an intensive, fast-track programme.


You will take one of the following modules (you can choose which to take; you'll take the other during your second year).

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2


You'll study two compulsory language modules in French and Italian.

You will choose one more module in each language from the following options:

Your studies will focus on issues of culture and society in the French and Italian-speaking worlds. You will develop skills in critical analysis of sources and communicate your findings using French and Italian in different registers. You'll tackle questions such as:

  • What is the relationship between the French language and national identity in Québec?
  • Why is there such controversy surrounding the wearing of burkinis on French beaches?
  • Why does regional cultural diversity play such an important role in modern Italian society?
  • Why is there still a broad economic divide between Northern and Southern Italy?


You'll study one core linguistics module (Introduction to Syntax or Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology, whichever of these you did not take in your first year).

You can elect to study one further module in languages or linguistics. We can offer you unparalleled coverage of the field, with modules taught by world-leading academics in the core areas of syntax, phonetics and phonology, semantics, and sociolinguistics, and in sub-fields including second language acquisition, child bilingualism, and historical-comparative linguistics. See all module options.

Year 3

Year abroad

You can divide the year abroad between two locations, a French-speaking country and Italy, or you can choose to spend the whole year in one location. We assist you in setting up overseas university study, teaching or work placements, and offer guidance on all aspects of the year. See our current year abroad pages for more information.

You'll complete two essays while on your year abroad. These are assessed on a pass/fail basis and do not contribute to your final degree grade. 

Year 4

You'll study two core language modules in your final year (if you only studied in one country during your year abroad, you'll just take one core module). These are designed to consolidate your critical skills through in-depth research and analysis. By this stage in your degree, you'll be able to demonstrate oral and written fluency, as well as accurate language use in its social and cultural contexts. In each of these modules, you will write a research essay of around 3000 words. 

You'll choose four option modules from languages or linguistics in addition to the core modules. Most linguistics modules require you to have taken certain modules in your first and second year. In some of these, you can choose to focus on a language of your choice. You can also elect to write a dissertation that is linked to a subject area that you are studying - this is counted as an option module by itself. 

The list belows demonstrates some of the modules that are running this year:

Language modules

Linguistics modules

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Interact effectively, in a variety of contexts, having developed an awareness of and sensitivity to linguistic and intercultural norms and practices enabling them to solve multi-lingual communication-related problems, as well as communicate precisely and effectively in a range of formats both in English and in the target languages, to specialist, multinational and lay audiences. 
  • Approach critically and with confidence intricate, complex and unfamiliar linguistic phenomena, discern relevant patterns across languages of study and convey their significance to a variety of audiences. 
  • Learn languages autonomously, by reflecting on the learning process through the exposure to and comparisons between two languages of study, and subsequently select and apply the most appropriate learning strategy for a given task in a given language of study. 
  • Research, process and critically assess culturally specific information acquired through engagement with a variety of sources in order to effectively communicate newly acquired information in English and the target languages in both traditional and digital forums. 
  • Develop critical thinking through a diverse range of feedback practices including self-reflection and peer review in order to identify further areas of research in order to communicate lines of reasoning clearly, precisely and effectively. 
  • Synthesise and critically analyse key theories of language diversity and change, taking into consideration arguments from a variety of linguistic standpoints. 
  • Show sensitivity and perceptiveness concerning aspects of social, cultural, and political realities where language plays an important role and be able to highlight the relevance of linguistic issues to policy-making in a globalised and interconnected world.
I can honestly say this is an amazing degree with great opportunities and career prospects at the end - especially the chance to go to a summer school after first year which really helped improve my Italian and my confidence when speaking - plus it was a a lot of fun!
Ellie, BA French and Italian with a year abroad

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 £16,620

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK, EU or international student.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK/EU: further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at 2% per annum.

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.


We offer a number of scholarships to help cover tuition fees and living costs.

Home/EU students

International students

Departmental Scholarship

Find out more about funding specific to Languages and Linguistics.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers accommodation costs and estimated social costs.

Learning in your target languages

In our French, German, Italian and Spanish programmes, we emphasise oral and written fluency, as well as accurate language use in its social and cultural context. All our core language modules are taught in your target languages, in small groups. We teach a range of content modules, with topics on current issues, media, film, social trends and politics, and with an introduction to translation in the final year. Our focus is on your competence in the culture and language, providing you with the means to function in the language at a professional level.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

French and Italian

Our focus at York is on effective communication in French and Italian. That is why:

  • we teach mainly in small seminars (not more than 15)
  • classroom interactions are in French and Italian
  • we use authentic French and Italian materials (eg resources designed for native speakers of the language)
  • we emphasise issues of culture and society, allowing you to develop a high level of cultural awareness to underpin your language skills


Core linguistics modules are taught through lectures (some with over 100 students), accompanied by sessions in smaller groups (15–20 students). With more advanced linguistics modules, you'll typically have more interactive classroom activities, such as group presentations or practical sessions, in addition to lectures. In final-year linguistics modules, most teaching is in smaller groups. Depending on the module, your work may focus on library-based study using primary research papers, lab-based analysis of linguistic corpora, or lectures and seminars in one the advanced areas of specialism of our staff.

In first and second year of the degree, you will typically spend 12 hours per teaching week in the classroom (including both languages and linguistics). Contact hours in the final year will vary depending on individual module choices.

In addition to your classroom time, you should expect to devote at least 30 additional hours a week to independent study. This will include completing exercises, reading and digesting assigned papers, researching projects, writing and revising coursework, and preparing for assessments. Twice a year, in the middle of the autumn and spring terms, we have a reading week, which is devoted to independent study. You will receive guidance on your goals for each reading week.

Overall workload

As a guide, students on this course typically spend their time as follows:

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Lectures and seminars228 hours
228 hours
0 hours
192 hours
Independent study972 hours
972 hours
0 hours
1008 hours
Placement0 hours
0 hours
1200 hours
0 hours

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

Independent study may include preparation for lectures and seminars, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person. In UK higher education the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1200 hours a year learning.


All of our modules have Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) websites where all crucial materials—reading lists, handouts, discussion boards—are always accessible. Most first-year modules provide additional self-study practice exercises on the VLE.

We have our own departmental e-Lab, accessible 24-hours a day, for the teaching and study time of our students. Here you will have access to a variety of resources, including specialist linguistics software, corpora of different varieties, and online language-learning materials. Several undergraduate modules are taught in this laboratory and you'll receive training in using these resources.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Language and Linguistic Science on Campus West. Most of your contact hours will be in Vanbrugh College, with some additional teaching on Campus West.

Course location

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You'll be assessed in a variety of ways, including essays, projects, written, oral and listening exams. Assessments include formative work which will help you practice or develop skills, but will not count towards your final degree mark. 

Instructors provide you with feedback in a variety of forms eg written feedback on work that you have handed in, in-class discussion of common problems on an assignment, model answers, one-on-one discussion of research projects, or online responses to questions posted on the module discussion board.

Your year abroad is assessed, you must satisfactorily complete certain criteria in order to graduate with a degree that has 'with a year abroad' in the title.

  • Two essays in the target language submitted to York during the year
  • You must fulfil your year abroad obligations (for example attending courses and completing all the local assessments if you're at university, or carrying out your teaching duties if you're on a teaching assistantship).

However, your marks on the year abroad assessments do not contribute towards your overall degree mark.

We can make reasonable adjustments to assessment procedures for students with disabilities. However, if you have dyslexia please note that, it is not possible to make adjustments in the marking of work written in a closed language exam (French or Italian). This is because accurate spelling is one of the assessment objectives for language exams. Closed exams make up only a proportion of the assessment types used for languages, there are other assessment types such as coursework and oral presentations which are also used. As a student with dyslexia you could apply for extra time in closed exams, if this would be of assistance. See the University's disability support pages for further details.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Written exams55%78%0%55%
Practical exams13%10%0%17%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

Seminar on syntax
French and Italian at York was the only combined course that offered linguistics as well, and will get me to a fluent level. I like the balance between the linguistics and cultural side of each language.
Katie, BA French and Italian with a year abroad

Careers and skills

Effective communication, critical thinking and project management skills are central to most careers. The study of languages at York equips you with these skills and others, which translate readily into any work context.

Our graduates have an excellent record of pursuing fulfilling paths after graduation.

Apart from your knowledge of linguistics, you will leave with the confidence and skills that come from successfully completing a demanding course and participating fully in university life.

There are specialist careers that lead directly from your languages degree, after additional postgraduate training, including: translation and interpreting, teaching (primary and secondary), clinical linguistics (speech and language therapy), academic research and higher/further education, forensic linguistics (forensic speech science).

Find out more about how we can help make you more employable 

Career opportunities

  • marketing and communications
  • publishing
  • broadcasting and journalism
  • local government and public service
  • business, finance and accountancy
  • teaching
  • translation and interpreting
  • IT and software development

Transferable skills

  • effective communication skills
  • intercultural awareness
  • critical thinking
  • project management
  • independent learning
  • data analysis
  • problem solving
  • team working

Entry requirements

Qualification Grade
A levels

Our typical offer is AAB, but some ABB offers are usually made (see our typical offers page). We do not require any specific subject choices at A Level, and include all subjects in our standard offer.

Access to Higher Education Diploma Obtain Access to HE Diploma with 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit or higher.
BTEC BTEC National Diploma or QCF BTEC Extended Diploma with DDD.
Cambridge Pre-U D3,D3,M2
European Baccalaureate 80% overall average
International Baccalaureate 35/34 points
Irish leaving Certificate H2,H2,H2,H2,H3,H3
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers AAAAB
Other qualifications

Other qualifications are accepted by the University, please contact Undergraduate Admissions

Our language programmes are designed to develop fluency. For this reason we do not normally offer places to native or near-native speakers of who wish to study their own language.

We require at least a B at A level (or equivalent) in French.

While you will have studied French to A2 level, we expect that most applicants who wish to study Italian will not have studied it to A2 level, and will thus take Italian on our ab initio route. If you are thinking of applying to study Italian with us at York and are also planning to take Italian to A2 level (or equivalent), please contact us on prior to submitting your application via UCAS.


GCSE or AS-level Italian may be appropriate qualifications for entry onto the ab initio Italian programme. However, even if you do not have one of these qualifications, but you can demonstrate an aptitude for languages through other experience (eg successful study of a different foreign language), you may be eligible for this programme.

Language interviews

Some students who do not have an A-level in one of the languages they wish to study may nonetheless already have A-level-standard knowledge of the language (eg a student who took GCSE and then spent time in a country where the target language is spoken, before university). At the time of application, we will conduct an interview and task, to determine which route would be most appropriate for students who do not have an A-level in a language they wish to study.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. 

  • IELTS: 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in all units
  • Pearson PTE Academic: 61 overall with 51 in all parts
  • Cambridge Advanced English (CAE): grade A
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): grade C
  • GCSE/O level English Language (as a first language): grade C

See also the University's information page for English language requirements.


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

Next steps

Contact us

Contact our admissions team if you have any questions

Learn more

Department of Language and Linguistic Science

Related courses

Other four-year courses:

Three year programmes that do not include a year abroad:

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