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Home > Courses > Courses for 2017 > Undergraduate > French and Philosophy
More in this section Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures

French and Philosophy BA

For 2018 entry this course will be replaced by BA Modern Languages and Philosophy.

UCAS code RV15
Year of entry 2017
Course Length
4 years full time
Department Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures »
Philosophy »

Choosing this Joint Honours course, you will learn the language, literature and culture of France and the French-speaking world alongside the study of Philosophy, and with such a rich tradition of philosophical enquiry in the language, these subjects make an ideal fit.

As a student of French, you will not only learn to speak and write fluently, you will also develop excellent communication and research skills and combine language proficiency with cross-cultural perspectives. 

You will be able to tailor your study of French to suit your specific areas of interest, choosing from an exciting multidisciplinary range; from seventeenth-century theatre to nineteenth-century literature, Dada to visual art, philosophy to food, gender to cinema.

As a part of Royal Holloway’s close-knit international community based in our beautiful historic campus, you will be within easy reach of London, France’s sixth biggest city’, with its wealth of French cultural resources. You will also have the exciting opportunity to spend a year working, teaching or studying in France or a French-speaking country, when you will immerse yourself in the language and culture and truly broaden your horizons.

  • Whether you are a beginner or advanced student when you start, by the time you graduate you will be fluent in French: confident in reading, understanding and analysing text and able to write with ease and accuracy.
  • Our research staff are engaged in research at the highest level internationally; we are in the top 10 of UK Modern Language departments for research quality and the top in London (Research Assessment Exercise 2014).

At Royal Holloway we have a unique approach to Philosophy that looks beyond the narrow confines of the Anglo-American analytic or the European tradition of philosophy focus on both traditions, their relationship and connections between them. The result has been the creation of a truly interdisciplinary and collaborative programme that brings together academic staff from departments across the university.

With the opportunity to examine (amongst other things) the mind and consciousness, aesthetics and morals, the self and others, the range of subjects available to Philosophy students at Royal Holloway guarantees that there will be something on offer that really engages you during your time with us.

Core modules

Year 1

French: Pratique du Français 1

This is your core French language module in which you will develop your skills in writing, speaking and comprehending the French language. There are three hours of seminars per week. In written French, you will study four themes (including French Institutions and the French Revolution). In spoken French, you will discuss and present on a variety of audio-visual materials as well as texts. In the practice seminars, you will develop listening comprehension skills, oral skills and work on grammar.

French: Introduction to French Literature - Critical Skills

This module will introduce you to the basic formal, stylistic and rhetorical elements of French literature. You will undertake a detailed study of three literary texts (one work of prose, another of poetry, and a third dramatic work). On completing the module you will be able to recognise and discuss the impact of some of the devices commonly found in French literary writing. The module does not assume any prior familiarity with French literary texts, nor with the history of French literature and is open to students on the Beginners French pathway.

The core modules in Philosophy are:

Introduction to Modern Philosophy

The ‘new philosophy’ of the seventeenth century set the modern philosophical agenda by asking fundamental questions concerning knowledge and understanding and the relation between science and other human endeavours, which became central to the European Enlightenment. This module aims to familiarise you with the work of some of the most ground breaking philosophers of the period, such René Descartes and John Locke, and explores how later philosophers such as Gottfried Leibniz and David Hume took up and expanded their ideas.

Epistemology and Metaphysics

This module aims to introduce you to some of the key problems that have preoccupied contemporary philosophers. You will look at logical questions relating to the structure of arguments, epistemological questions about the sources and limits of knowledge, and metaphysical questions exploring the relationship between minds and bodies and the possibility of human freedom.

Introduction to Ancient Philosophy

This module aims both to inform you about ancient philosophical ideas and to introduce you to the ways in which philosophical arguments are presented and analysed. It will provide you with a brief survey of the principal ancient philosophers, from the Presocratics to Aristotle, as well as allowing you to analyse in more depth selected texts on the topic of courage, including Plato’s ‘Laches’.

Year 2

French: Pratique du Français 2

This is your core French language module in which you will continue to develop your skills in writing, speaking and comprehending the French language. There are three hours of seminars per week (written work, oral, practice) plus fortnightly grammar lectures. In written French, the module builds on techniques you have acquired in first-year language modules. Themes studied help as preparation for your year abroad. In spoken French, you will study, discuss and present on four set films. In the practice seminars, you will continue to develop listening comprehension skills, oral skills and work on grammar.

The core modules in Philosophy are:

Introduction to European Philosophy 1 - From Kant to Hegel

This module introduces you to aspects of key texts by eighteenth and nineteenth century philosophers Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, which form the foundation of the major debates in both European, and some Anglo-American philosophy. You will explore major issues concerning epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics, and different approaches to these issues, which will be central to the rest of your philosophical and other studies in the humanities and social sciences.

Mind and World

This module examines some of the major metaphysical and epistemological problems that arise when attempting to understand how the mind and language interact with and in the world. It centres on attempts to conceptualise, solve, or avoid mind-body related problems in the analytic tradition and aims to contrast these with phenomenological and existential investigations of related problems.

Year 3

The third year of this degree programme will be spent abroad, either studying, working, or both. It is usually expected that you will spend at least 9 months in a country where the native language is the same as the language you are studying. The School of Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures will support you in finding a suitable study or work placement, but you will also be expected to explore opportunities independently. Ultimate responsibility for securing such a placement lies with yourself. Alternatively, you may choose to enrol for modules at a partner university in your chosen country. This year forms an integral part of your degree programme. If you undertake a placement then you will be asked to complete assessed work which will be credited towards your degree, while in the case of those studying at a university, marks obtained for modules taken will be credited towards your degree. The same applies to your practical oral assessment on return to Royal Holloway from your year abroad.

Year 4

French: Pratique du Français 3

This is your core French language module in which you will continue to develop your skills in writing, speaking and comprehending the French language. There are three hours of seminars per week plus fortnightly grammar lectures. The three hours of seminars are divided in three sections: written work, oral, and practice. You will study of a variety of text types, and also have the chance to produce creative writing on a given subject, thus introducing students to a variety of styles in written French. In oral classes, you will study short passages of a demanding intellectual nature and extracts from films, radio and podcasts. In the practice seminars, you will develop listening comprehension skills, oral skills and work on grammar.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

French: Skills and Techniques for Translation

French: The Visual Image in French Culture and Society

French: Key French Texts - the Individual and Society

French: French History Through Film

French: Decoding France - Language, Culture and Identity

Optional modules in Philosophy include:

Introduction to Logic

This module aims to introduce you to the formal study of arguments through the two basic systems of modern logic: sentential or propositional logic and predicate logic. As well as showing you how to present and analyse arguments formally, you will look at the implications and uses of logical analysis by considering Bertrand Russell’s formalist solution to the problem of definite descriptions, before discussing the broader significance of findings in logic to philosophical inquiry.

Mind and Conciousness

What is the relationship between the mind and the brain? Is the mind inside the brain? Are we any more than highly sophisticated computers? What is consciousness? This module aims to introduce these and related questions, which are central to modern philosophical debates about the nature of mind and consciousness.

Introduction to Aesthetics and Morals

This module aims to provide you with a broad understanding of many of the central problems and debates within moral philosophy and aesthetics. These include questions relating to both metaphysical and ethical relativism, the different ways we might understand our moral commitments within the world, how the individual is related to society, and the value and nature of the work of art. The module presents you with approaches from the history of philosophy, from the Anglo-American tradition, and from recent European philosophy.

Year 2

French: Approaches to Translation Work

French: Socio-Political Issues of Contemporary France in Fiction and Translation

French: Writing Romance and Desire

French: Culture and Ideology - France and La Francophonie

French: Cinema in France - From Modernism to the Postmodern

French: The Illustrated Text in France

Optional modules in Philosophy and related subjects include:

The Dialogues of Plato

 

Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy 1

 

The Good Life in Ancient Philosophy

 

Contemporary Political Theory

 

The Critique of Idealism

 

Philosophy and the Arts

 

Philosophy of Psychology

 

Practical Ethics

 

The Varieties of Scepticism

 

The Philosophy of Religion

 

Year 4

French: Arthurian Romance - Chrétien De Troyes

French: Repression And Rebellion - The Father and the Father's Law

French: Image, Identity and Consumer Culture in Post-war Fiction and Film

French: Text and Image in France - from Cubism to the Present

French: Ethics and Violence - Murder, Suicide and Genocide in Literature and Film

French: Wanton Women - Artists and Writers of the French Avant-Garde

French: From Aestheticism to the Avant-Garde

French: Dissertation

Optional modules in Philosophy and related subjects include:

Radical Political Theory

 

The Politics of Toleration

 

Social Justice - From Theory to Practice

 

Issues in Democratic Theory

 

Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy 2

 

The Good Life in Ancient Philosophy 2

 

Modern European Philosophy 1 - Husserl to Heidegger

 

Modern European Philosophy 2 - Critical Theory and Hermeneutics

 

Modern French Philosophy

 

The Philosophy of Psychology

 

The Philosophy of Religion

 

Practical Ethics

 

Recovering Reality

 

The Varieties of Scepticism

 

Dissertation

The dissertation presents you with the opportunity to demonstrate your skills as an independent learner by embarking upon a substantial piece of written work of between 8,000 and 10,000 words in length. You will be guided by a dissertation supervisor, but will choose your own topic, approach, and philosophical sources. It allows you to demonstrate all of the skills you have learned throughout your studies, and marks the culmination of your undergraduate studies in Philosophy.

The course has a modular structure, whereby students take 14 course units at the rate of four per year in years 1, 2 and 4, and two units during the year abroad. Some course units are compulsory while others are elective thereby offering flexibility and choice.

Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and end-of-year examination in varying proportions, depending on the course units you choose to take. The first year is foundational and marks do not count towards your final degree. The second year, year abroad and final year marks do count, with more importance being given to the final year marks in order to reward progress and achievement.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels AAB-ABB

The offer given will take into consideration:

  • subjects taken at A level
  • the educational context in which academic
     achievements have been gained
  • whether the Extended Project Qualification is 
    being taken
 
Required/preferred subjects

Required subjects: At least five GCSE passes at grades A* to C, including Maths and English.  If French is taken to A level grade B is required.

Preferred subjects: History, Government & Politics, Law, Economics, Philosophy, Religious Education, Sociology, Geography, Psychology

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level with a minimum of 32 points overall 
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a related subject  
BTEC National Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction in a related subject plus one A level grade B. 
BTEC National Extended Certificate Distinction in a related subject plus A levels grades B,B
Welsh Baccalaureate Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate
Scottish Advanced Highers AB at Advanced Higher Level plus Higher Level requirements 
Scottish Highers AABBB plus Advanced Higher Level requirements 
Irish Leaving Certificate H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level 
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with at least 30 level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit. Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant has had a considerable break from education 

Other UK qualifications

Please select your UK qualification from the drop-down list below



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International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language
requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall

  • with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in each remaining subscore
    For equivalencies please see here
 

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Our outstanding record of success for work and further study puts Royal Holloway in the top 10 for graduate career prospects (Complete University Guide, 2015). It goes to show that our degree programmes not only promote academic achievement but also the means to hone the life-skills necessary to excel, post-graduation.

Choosing to add philosophy into your studies at Royal Holloway not only prepares you well for postgraduate study it also equips you with the skills and qualities that employers are looking for.  Philosophy degrees are well-regarded by employers because they give you the capacity to think through issues and problems in a logical and consistent way and to develop critical and transferable skills which can be applied in almost any area of employment from computing to the arts.   

So, by choosing to study this intellectually demanding discipline you will develop a broad range of highly prized transferable skills, such as:

  • the ability to communicate views and present arguments clearly and coherently
  • the ability to critically digest, analyse and summarise complex ideas
  • time management and the discipline to meet deadlines
  • organisation and research skills
  • problem-solving skills and capability

As a modern linguist you will have excellent communication, analytical and research skills combined with the proven ability to communicate fluently in French, alongside practical skills such as translation and interpretation. Having spent a year abroad you will have developed the kind of sensitivity to different cultures that is highly prized in the workplace. This experience and the skills gained will make you highly employable and ready to pursue your chosen career, both in Britain or abroad.  

  • Full time employment or further study achieved by 90% of both French and Philosophy graduates within six months of graduation (Unistats 2015). 
  • Graduates have entered a wide range of careers including many language-related fields, such as: the arts, media and publishing, international management, consultancy, sales and marketing, banking, politics, the Civil Service, teaching, travel and tourism, translating and interpreting. Other graduates have gone on to be language assistants and teacher trainers, and many have gone on to advanced study in a variety of fields.
  • A substantial number of our graduates go on to further study, entering postgraduate courses at Royal Holloway or other prestigious institutions at home and abroad.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year 2017/18**: £14,000

Other essential costs***: The cost of your year abroad will vary by country. Typical living costs to consider will be accommodation, food and household items, entertainment, travel, books and bills (including your mobile phone). You'll also need to budget for travel to and from your country of study. Additional costs compared to studying in the UK will also depend on personal choices and it is important to research the cost of living before the year commences.

How do I pay for it? Find out more.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year. This amount is subject to the UK Parliament approving a change to fee and loan regulations that has been proposed by the UK Government. In the future, should the proposed changes to fee and loan regulations allow it, Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for UK and EU nationals annually. If relevant UK legislation continues to permit it, Royal Holloway will maintain parity between the tuition fees charged to UK and EU students for the duration of their degree studies.

**Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for international fee paying students annually. Tuition fees are unlikely to rise more than 5 per cent each year. For further information on tuition fees please see Royal Holloway’s Terms & Conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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