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

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

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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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. Your advanced skills in French will allow you new insights into the forces that have shaped modern societies and cultures as well as the issues and debates that prevail in France today. You'll choose from a wide and exciting range of option modules in History spanning both time and place. 

You'll join two departments which are highly respected for their research, and you'll graduate with the ability to navigate international and multilingual environments with confidence and professionalism.


Both departments have impressive research reputations and both departments are in the world top 100 (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019).

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

Highly ranked

History is 6th in the UK (Complete University Guide 2020). French is 10th in the UK for graduate prospects (Complete University Guide 2020).

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.

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
  • Thinking Through History (20 credits)
  • Group Research Project (20 credits)
Option modules

Choose one from:

  • Political Communities in World History (20 credits)
  • Societies in World History (20 credits)
  • Knowledge and Beliefs in World History (20 credits)


In addition to the core French modules, you'll either choose a linguistics module, or you can opt to study a language through our Languages For All programme. 

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.


You'll study one core History module:

You'll choose one Histories and Contexts module (20 credits). You'll typically be able to choose from around eight options:

Finally, you'll also choose one Explorations module (30 credits). We usually offer around 18 options for you to choose from:


You'll choose two of the following modules (20 credits each):

Most linguistics modules require you to have taken certain modules in your first year.

Year 3

You will have the choice of either spending a year studying at one of our partner universities, or spending a semester studying at a university and another semester on a work placement.

Our partner universities are Tours, Aix-en-Provence, Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne or Paris 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.


You'll choose a Special Subject module (40 credits), typically from around 16 options. These are an advanced, source-based course on specific historical topic, taught through seminars.

You may choose to complete the History dissertation:


You'll choose one option module from the following options (20 credits each). If you choose not to complete the History dissertation, you will select a further two option modules in Language and Linguistics.

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 £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.

Department funding

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.

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, BA History/French
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 History and French modules takes place in lectures, seminars and discussion groups. We emphasize small-group teaching - seminars in both French and History have 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. 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.

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 1,200 hours a year learning.

Teaching location

You will be based in both the Department of History and the Department of Language and Linguistic Science 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

Your first-year work doesn't contribute toward your final marks. We recognise that students are only beginning to develop over the course of their degree. 

From Year 2 onward, formal assessments contribute toward your degree. Most History modules will let you write a practice essay before assessment.

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. 

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.

Language seminar
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, BA 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

Our graduates have gone on to work in sectors such as:

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

Transferable skills

You'll develop invaluable transferable skills such as:

  • a working fluency of the French language
  • critical thinking
  • excellent verbal and written communication skills in both French and English
  • creative and analytical problem-solving skills
  • time management
  • ability to analyse a variety of media
  • a deep understanding of French culture and norms
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 Typical offer
A levels

AAB including an A in History or Classical Civilisation and B in French

General Studies is typically excluded from conditional offers

Access to Higher Education Diploma Obtain Access to HE Diploma with 36 credits at Distinction including at least 9 credits in History modules, and 9 credits at Merit or higher. An additional A Level or equivalent qualification in French will be required.
BTEC National Extended Diploma DDD with additional A Levels or equivalent qualifications in French and either History or Classical Civilisation
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, M2 including D3 in History and M2 in French. Accepted in conjunction with A Levels.
European Baccalaureate 80% overall including 8.5 in History and 8 in French
International Baccalaureate 35 points including grade 6 in History and French at Higher Level

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).

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.

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