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

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

UCAS code


Typical offer

AAA (full entry requirements)


4 years full-time

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.

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

Course content What you’ll study


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.

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 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 covers a broad sweep of history from late antiquity to the beginning of the early modern era.

Citizens, Comrades and Consumers 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. This covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.

This module will:

  • define academic integrity and academic misconduct
  • explain why and when you should reference source material and other people's work
  • provide interactive exercises to help you to assess whether you've understood the concepts
  • provide answers to FAQs and links to useful resources.

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.

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:

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

QS ranks our history department one of the best in the world. See for yourself.

QS world university rankings

Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed

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).


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.
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 Where you’ll go from here

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 How to get here

Course entry

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.

A-levels and GCSEs

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

Other UK qualifications

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

  • AAAAA at Higher Level
  • AA at Advanced Higher Level, including History and French

BTEC qualifications are only accepted with A Level or the equivalent in History and French.

Cambridge Pre-U
D3, D3, D3 including History and French

  • Accepted in conjunction with A Levels

Access to Higher Education

  • 30 credits awarded Distinction
  • 15 awarded Merit or higher
  • Grade A or equivalent qualification required in French

International options

International Baccalaureate

  • 36 points
  • Grade 6 in History and in French at Higher Level

Irish Leaving Certificate

  • A1 in History
  • A2 in French

European Baccalaureate

  • 80 per cent overall
  • 85 per cent in History
  • 85 per cent in 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

Unistats for this course

Enquire Contact our admissions tutor if you have any questions