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BA (Hons) French and Philosophy (with a year abroad)

Learn to read the original words of world-famous philosophers

Year of entry: 2020
Show year of entry: 2019

UCAS code


Institution code



4 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2020/21)

International fees

£17,890 per year (2020/21)

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Combine the study of French with investigations into major philosophical questions. 

You'll be taught the language component of the course in French, and will become confident using French as a means of communication, as well as for critical thinking. You'll gain an understanding of French culture and society which will underpin your abilities as a high-level communicator in the language.

By combining the study of the French language with philosophy, you'll gain an unparalleled insight into the work of thinkers such as Descartes and Sartre. You'll study the philosophical relationships between our language, our world and our minds and develop your skills in writing, reasoning and analysis. 

The course has flexibility in terms of how much French and philosophy content you study over the four years. Your skills and understanding of how a language works, how we communicate and how we reason will give you a solid foundation for a huge variety of careers.

Happy students

We have 91% overall satisfaction for French from our student responses to the National Student Survey (NSS 2019). We are ranked 10th in the UK for graduate prospects for French (Complete University Guide 2020).

Research excellence

96% of the Department of Philosophy's research activity was judged to be of international quality (REF 2014).

Go global

Spend your third year studying or working in a French-speaking country.

From the very first term, we work in the target language, which makes a world of difference outside of the classroom. Although this might seem intimidating, help is always given when needed and the immersion that it grants does wonders for linguistic development. With regards to Philosophy, it is taught in such a way that encourages individual expression and thought.
Idris, BA French and Philosophy

Course content

Your language modules will explore the culture of French-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 French. 

Your philosophy modules will involve critically examining the assumptions made and the conclusions drawn by natural and social scientists, writers, historians and thinkers of all kinds. 

Throughout your degree, you'll be encouraged to combine your studies of language and philosophy through your study of the philosophy of language.

You'll also study a number of modules in linguistics, helping you to understand the fundamentals of language.  

Year 1

You will study six core modules split across your two departments:

You will also choose one of the following linguistics modules: 

Academic integrity module

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

Year 2

You will take one core module in each subject:

Core modules

Option modules 

Choose one of the following:

You will study one further module from the Department of Language and Linguistic Science. You can either study one of the language options listed above or choose one of the following linguistics modules: 

You can choose to replace this module with a language option from our Languages for All programme, or an elective module from another department. 

You'll also choose a Key Ideas module. These modules are subject to change; current students can study:

Year 3

Year abroad

You'll go to a French-speaking country. We assist you in setting up overseas university study, a British Council assistantship or a work placement, 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 modules:

You'll choose one of the following options: 

You'll study a further 20 credits from the Department of Language and Linguistic Science. You can choose to study another one of the options listed above or choose one of the following linguistics modules: 

You can choose to replace this module with a language option from our Languages for All programme, or an elective module from another department. 

You'll choose one Philosophy module from a list that could include the following:

You'll choose another Philosophy module from a list that could include the following:

You'll also choose a 10 credit advanced module which will follow on from your one of your Philosophy option modules, allowing you to look at the topic in more depth. 

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 and communicate effectively in French in a variety of contexts, showing awareness of and sensitivity to details of language and intercultural norms and practices, and solving problems of communication as they arise.
  • Draw on and develop knowledge and understanding of the cultures associated with French and English in engagements with a variety of sources.
  • Produce insightful and illuminating explanations of key problems and puzzles in philosophy, linguistics and French and apply their understanding in approaching new problems.
  • Develop and articulate solutions to problems and puzzles in philosophy and linguistics applying insights in an interdisciplinary way, where appropriate.
  • Lay out what can be said for and against potential solutions to problems, and make a measured judgement about what is the best solution in each case, supporting that judgement with a sustained line of logical argument.
  • Use a scientifically grounded understanding of the nature, use and acquisition of language to investigate complex and unfamiliar linguistic phenomena, discern relevant patterns and articulate these in illuminating ways
  • Synthesise and critically approach complex and unfamiliar French language and linguistic phenomena, taking into consideration arguments from a variety of standpoints

Top 100 and world-class faculty

We are in the world top 100 for Linguistics (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019). Both departments are part of our Faculty of Arts and Humanities, ranked 34nd in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 £17,890

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'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2020/21 throughout the year.

Departmental Scholarship

Find out more about funding specific to Language and Linguistic Science.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching Excellence Framework Gold Award

“Students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes”

The TEF Panel, Office for Students, June 2018

Our Gold Teaching Excellence Framework award demonstrates our commitment to the delivery of consistently outstanding teaching and learning for our students.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. 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

Teaching in your French and Philosophy modules takes place in lectures, seminars and discussion groups. We emphasize small-group teaching - seminars in both French and Philosophy typically have between 12 and 16 students.

During your French modules you'll interact in the French language throughout. French modules use authentic magazines, films and television to communicate the culture. In your first year we offer you extra study support in several ways. You can work with other students with our Peer Assisted Learning programme, add an optional contact hour with one of our staff each week as well as receive designated support with easing into university life.

In Philosophy, you need to be an active participant in your own learning, asking questions and evaluating your own responses and those of others. You will take part in discussions with your peers and academic staff and develop your knowledge and skills through a number of different activities.  

Overall workload

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

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Lectures and seminars180 hours216 hours0 hours204 hours
Placement0 hours0 hours1200 hours0 hours

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

The rest of your time on the course will be spent on independent study. This 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 1,200 hours a year learning.

Teaching location

You will be based in both the Department of Language and Linguistic Science and the Department of Philosophy on Campus West.

Your contact hours will be mostly divided between the Spring Lane building and Vanbrugh College, with some teaching taking place in other locations on Campus West. 

About our campus

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.

  • You must submit two essays in the target language 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). 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 exams63%47%0%25%
Practical exams5%0%0%17%

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

Philosophy seminar
Language teaching
I totally recommend coming to York to study Philosophy! York feels like a real home to me now and I have loved the course. I cannot commend the teaching staff highly enough. The teaching standard has been so good. The course progresses at a pace that challenges you at the same time as allowing you time to explore areas that interest you.
Jessica, BA Philosophy

Read more on what our students say about us.

Careers and skills

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

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 Typical offer
A levels


Access to Higher Education Diploma Obtain Access to HE Diploma with 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit or higher
BTEC National Extended Diploma DDD
Cambridge Pre-U D3,D3,M2
European Baccalaureate 80% overall average
International Baccalaureate 35/34 points

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.

Language interviews

Some students who do not have an A-level in the language that they wish to study may nonetheless already have A-level-standard knowledge of the language (e.g., 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. We accept the following qualifications:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
PTE Academic 61, with a minimum of 51 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with a minimum of 162 each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking, 17 in Writing
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


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

Apply for this course

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