Skip to content
Home>Study at York>Undergraduate>Courses>History/French (BA)

BA (Hons) History/French

From the Revolution to the modern République, immerse yourself in the history, society and culture of France and the French-speaking world.

2018/19 entry

UCAS code


Institution code



4 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

AAA (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)

Open Days

Explore what studying and living in York is really like at one of our Open Days.

Find out more

History and French combines wide-ranging historical study with practical language training. 

You'll develop your language skills, with a focus on becoming a high-level communicator. You'll learn about French culture and society, and study the history of France and the wider world with optional modules spanning a broad swathe of time and place.

You'll gain communication skills in French and English, thinking and problem solving skills, and a deeper understanding of political, cultural, social and historical issues.


Leading research

History at York has been ranked 2nd in the UK for the quality, significance and impact of our research in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

Your year abroad

Spend your third year studying at a French university. You'll develop your language skills while gaining a different perspective on the history of France and the world

Course content

Your historical studies will begin by exploring different ways of studying the past, covering a wide range of historical periods and cultures. As you progress you'll focus on particular topics and issues, and develop specialist knowledge.

Your language and cultural studies are taught almost exclusively in French. You'll focus on developing effective communication skills through the in-depth study of issues that shape the French-speaking world. As you progress through the course, not only will you develop your conversational fluency, but also your ability to discuss complex ideas in formal French.

Spending your third year studying in France gives you a chance to put your language skills into practice. You'll experience different ways of teaching and learning, and gain new perspectives on world history.

Study abroad

The third year of the French and History degree is spent at a university in France, and there are other opportunities for field trips with some modules. There are also several other study options here at York:

Year 1

In the first year of your course, you will focus on improving your accuracy and communication expertise in French. In History you'll explore a range of approaches to studying the past, and take in a panoramic view spanning several centuries.

Core modules

Making Histories will introduce you to the skills required for studying history at degree level. You'll research, present, and write up a historical case-study on a topic related to York.

Thinking Through History: Themes in Advanced Historical Studies I introduces key themes and issues that shape the historiography of all periods. You'll look at 'big picture' history and reflect on questions that have energised and perplexed historians throughout the ages.

French Language and Society I combines Expression orale and Expression écrite. You'll study themes related to French language and culture to develop your skills in speaking and writing.

French Grammar investigates essential aspects of French grammar and syntax.

Optional modules


Study political, social, cultural and economic history, and get an introduction to some of the eras you could focus on later in the course. Choose one of the following modules:

From Rome to the Renaissance: The Transformation of Traditional Societies, c.400-1650 covers a broad sweep of history from late antiquity to the beginning of the early modern era.

Citizens, Comrades and Consumers: The Making of the Modern World since 1650 explores the making of the modern world, from the 1650s right up to the present day.

Language and Linguistics

Learn a new tongue or gain deeper insight into how language works. Choose one of the following modules:

Introduction to phonetics and phonology concerns the sounds of human speech.

Introduction to syntax investigates the rules governing sentence structure, and the relationship between language and logic.

Introduction to semantics covers the linguistic and philosophical study of 'meaning', how words represent concepts and objects, and how their meanings can change from context to to context.

Languages For All gives you the chance to gain academic credits for developing an existing language or learning a new tongue from scratch. Current courses include, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Classical Latin, German, Italian, Japanese, Medieval Latin, Russian and Spanish.

Academic integrity module

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

Year 2

In your second year you'll begin to focus your historical studies, and develop some key skills ahead of producing your final-year dissertation. In French, you will further develop your critical analysis skills by examining sources and communicating your findings.

Core modules

French Language and Society II examines the underlying principles which guide French society from a historical, social and political perspective. You'll analyse written and aural materials to develop your linguistic competency as well as your cultural understanding.

Disciplines of History considers different approaches to the writing of history and the assumptions that can inform historical writing. You'll explore the different methods that historians use and the reasons why historical writing has changed over time.

Optional modules

You'll choose modules from each of the following areas, focusing on specific eras and themes in History, and expanding your knowledge of language and linguistics.

Histories and Contexts

You'll choose one module exploring a theme or issue in relation to a particular period or region. Histories and Contexts modules cover topics from the Norman conquests to the end of the colonial empires.


Explorations modules focus on a historical topic or theme over a shorter period of time. Choose one of over 40 optional modules, from crime and punishment in the late Middle Ages to 19th-century Iran.

Language and Linguistics

Choose two of the following modules to explore a new aspect of French culture and society, expand your knowledge of languages, or delve deeper into linguistic theory.

The Francophone World considers the problems and opportunities facing French-speaking countries.

European Cinema explores society, culture and history through the medium of film.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language I introduces the theory and practice of TEFL. You'll explore teaching methods and some of the common problems learners face, as well as some of the political controversies surrounding the global spread of the English language. Please note that this module does not provide a TEFL qualification, but is excellent preparation for a professional course.

Languages For All gives you an opportunity to develop an additional foreign language to an advanced level.

Intermediate Phonetics and Phonology will develop your skills in the phonetic and phonological analysis of language. You must have taken Introduction to Phonetics in your first year to choose this option.

Intermediate Syntax introduces you to a more formal syntactic framework that will help you to solve syntactic problems. You must have taken Introduction to Syntax in your first year to choose this option.

Intermediate Semantics will expand on the formal techniques used in constructing of a theories of meaning. You must have taken Introduction to Semantics in your first year to choose this option.

Year 3

You will spend your third year at a French university, usually Tours, Aix-en-Provence, or Paris (Panthéon-Sorbonne). You'll study a mixture of History and French modules. If you've chosen to do a History dissertation in your final year, you will devote a third of your time to this.

Year 4

In your final year you will hone your fluency in French, with modules designed to consolidate your critical skills through in-depth research and analysis. In History, you'll take a special subject that places emphasis on working with primary sources.

You'll also choose between researching and writing a 10,000 word dissertation on a historical topic of your choice, or undertaking advanced studies of French language and linguistic theory.

Core modules

Language and Society III will build on the skills you developed while studying abroad to increase your proficiency in written and spoken French. You'll develop your skills of critical analysis and master the art of presenting arguments in French, in the form of both oral presentations and extended essays.

Optional modules

You'll choose:

  • one Language and Linguistics module,
  • one History Special Subject,
  • either the History Dissertation,
    or two further Language and Linguistics modules.
Language and Linguistics

European Cinema explores society, culture and history through the medium of film. You can't choose this option if you took European Cinema in Year 2.

France and the Second World War: Memory, Trauma and Identity considers WWII from the perspective of the French collective memory and its impact on national identity.

Languages for All gives you an opportunity to develop an additional foreign language to an advanced level.

Phonetics of a Modern Language allows you to combine your study of linguistics with your knowledge of French. You must have taken Intermediate Phonetics and Phonology in your second year to choose this option.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language II focuses on the practical aspects of English language teaching to equip you with the essential skills and experience to prepare, plan and deliver successful lessons. You must have taken Teaching English as a Foreign Language I in your second year to choose this option. Please note that this module does not provide a TEFL qualification, but is excellent preparation for a professional course.

Translation methodology and practice discusses the principles and problems involved in translating into English.

History Special Subject

You'll choose an advanced historical topic to study in depth, largely through primary sources. Subjects on offer change from year to year, but you'll typically have a choice of about 15 topics, ranging from Joan of Arc to the Russian Revolution. Recent options have included:

Full list of current Special Subject modules

History Dissertation

A dissertation gives you the chance to work as an independent scholar, pursuing answers to complex historical questions. Under guidance from a personal supervisor you'll design your own research project, find and examine primary materials, and develop structured arguments in the form of a 10,000 word dissertation. You'll gain detailed knowledge of a highly focused subject and develop advanced skills of research and analysis. Taking on a dissertation is challenging but highly rewarding, and is excellent preparation for continuing your studies at postgraduate level.

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:

  • Demonstrate broad and deep understandings of historical scholarship, and be able to understand and contextualise aspects of modern French politics, society and culture in relation to the past
  • Approach arguments and evidence in a critical and questioning fashion
  • Make cross-cultural comparisons and connections between societies of different places, both in the contemporary world and in the past, and understand issues and events from a range of cultural perspectives
  • Demonstrate versatility in interpreting and deploying a variety of information including digital resources, material culture, visual imagery, texts, databases and statistical information in both English and French
  • Solve problems creatively by taking information learnt in one context and applying it in an unfamiliar one and by developing a range of possible solutions
  • Convey a line of reasoning with clarity and precision in English and French, with sensitivity to linguistic and cultural norms and practices
  • Have the organisational and time-management skills to carry out a project and extend their own knowledge and skills, including their language learning ability
  • Contribute to their workplaces and communities using an awareness of the historical origins of diversity in societal norms and practices

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

Living costs

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

The year abroad is something I would never have been brave enough to do if it wasn't an integral part of my degree... it's proving to be one of the most interesting experiences of my life.
Lucy, French/History

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

Teaching in your History and French modules takes place in lectures, seminars and discussion groups. Seminars in both French and History are in small groups: typically 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.
  • All modules have associated material on our online Virtual Learning Environments (VLE).

Overall workload

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

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Lectures and seminars204 hours168 hours0 hours120 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 1200 hours a year learning.

Teaching location

You will be based in both the Department of History 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. 

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 using a range of methods, including essays, research projects, written exams, group projects and presentations. In French you'll also take oral exams to test your understanding of the language and culture.

  • Most History modules will let you write a practice essay before assessment.
  • Your first year marks don't contribute toward your final degree.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Written exams56%62%0%34%
Practical exams5%5%0%8%

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

The French side of the course at York focuses on current, relevant issues which really make you think and engage with the language. The history side allows you to learn from experts in their fields from your first year here, and together with what you learn in French you get a really firm understanding of the world that we live in.
Hugh, History/French

Careers and skills

The History and French degree cultivates independence and discipline, and also develops your fluency with other cultures. The language and study abroad elements give you the ability to deploy these skills internationally.

Our alumni go on to succeed in a wide variety of industries, including marketing, media and finance, as well as government and non-profit organisations. A large proportion go on to postgraduate study at York and other leading universities.

Career opportunities

  • Law
  • Social work and justice
  • Journalism
  • Media
  • Politics, diplomacy and government
  • Accountancy and banking
  • Teaching

Transferable skills

  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Fluency in a foreign language
  • Effective communication and presentation of ideas
  • Advanced teamwork skills
I chose to study History and French because it kept my options open for any job opportunities. Having a language made me more employable, and History gave me a boost in international affairs. This was all very promising, considering I want to work in the humanitarian sector.
Lauren, History/French

Entry requirements

Qualification Grade
A levels
  • AAA at A level
  • Grade A in either History or Classical Civilisation
  • Grade A in French
  • General Studies is typically excluded from conditional offers
Access to Higher Education Diploma Obtain Access to HE Diploma with 39 credits at Distinction and 6 credits at Merit or higher. Grade A or equivalent qualification required in French.
BTEC BTEC National Extended Diploma (QCF): DDD. We accept a range of BTEC qualifications equivalent to 3 A Levels. An additional A Level or equivalent qualification in either History or Classical Civilisation and French is required alongside any BTEC qualification.
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, D3 including History and French
Accepted in conjunction with A Levels
European Baccalaureate 80% overall
85% in History
85% in French
International Baccalaureate 36 points
Grade 6 in History and in French at Higher Level
Irish leaving Certificate H2,H2,H2,H2,H2,H3 - H1 in History, H2 in French
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers AAAAA at Higher Level
AA at Advanced Higher Level, including History and French

English language

6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in all units

Pearson (Academic PTE)
61 overall with 51 in all parts

Cambridge Advanced English (CAE)
Grade A

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English
Grade C


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

All applications must be made through UCAS.

We encourage mature students to email the Admissions Tutor for consultation and advice. We also consider applications for deferred entry and requests, after taking up an offer, to take a gap year.

Next steps

Contact us

Contact our admissions team if you have any questions

Learn more

Department of History

Discover York


We offer a range of campus accommodation to suit you and your budget, from economy to deluxe.

Student life

Explore campus and city life and hear what our current students have to say about living here.

The city

Lively, full of culture and beautiful, York is regularly voted one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.