French study guide 2023/24

French at Bristol

French is a global language, spoken in more than 30 countries in Europe, North and West Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, Polynesia, North America and Asia.

Knowledge of French language and culture thus offers an international perspective and France and other Francophone countries offer diverse and stimulating cultures for study.

The department encourages synergy between research and teaching, resulting in a vibrant learning environment, as staff respond in their teaching to new research. Our broad expertise reflects the range of contributions that French culture has made, and the major role that France continues to play, in Europe and the wider world.

Unit structure

The department offers many classes that are based in a single semester, and can therefore accept unit requests from Study Abroad students who want to join Bristol for just the autumn or spring semester.

Unit levels

The department offers units across all undergraduate levels of study: year 1 (level C/4), year 2 (level I/5), and year 3 (level H/6) units. The department does not offer postgraduate units (level M/7), however selected postgraduate units (level M/7) are available from elsewhere in the School of Modern Languages (please see the Cultural Studies guide). Level M/7 units are normally taken by students who have studied the subject for at least 3 years beforehand and are at an appropriate level of study to take postgraduate units.

Unit codes

Unit codes in the Department of French begin with 'FREN'. This is followed by a number indicating the year (1, 2, 3). For example:

  • FREN10000 = year 1 unit
  • FREN20000 = year 2 unit
  • FREN30000 = year 3 unit.

For more information about each unit, check the University's unit catalogue for 2023/24. Applicants on all study abroad programmes must review the unit details on the catalogue before listing unit choices on their application form. This includes checking the format of assessment for each unit. The unit catalogue for 2023/24 is updated by April 2023.

Your unit choices cannot be guaranteed. Some units may not have capacity to accommodate all of the unit requests we receive. Registration on a unit also depends on whether you meet the pre-requisite conditions through prior study at your home university.

Study Abroad (Subject pathway)

Please note that, if you have been nominated on the French Subject Pathway, you are required to take the majority of your credits from the Department of French, and/or these additional options:

Also, if you have the necessary language skills, you can choose from the range of additional units that each Department in the School of Modern Languages offers on cultural topics (literature, cinema, history, identity, etc.) that require knowledge of the relevant modern language. Students who are not on the Subject Pathway for that department, but are able to demonstrate the required language level (A2 for 10000-level units, B1 or B2 for 20000-level units and C1 for 30000-level units) may apply to be considered for registration on units from these study guides:

To check your level of language, please see here.

Units available on the study abroad programme in 2023/24

The following units from the Department of French are open to inbound Study Abroad students.

The units listed here explore French art, culture, history, and literature. If you are interested in taking a French language class, please see the Languages and Linguistics study guide. Please note that the majority of language units run in Teaching Block 4, which are only available to students studying with us for a full academic year.

Year 1 (level C/4)


  • French Cultures in Context (TB1) - FREN10030


  • Global French (TB2) - FREN10011
  • Representations of Francophone Cultures (TB2) - FREN10013

Year 2 (level I/5)


  • Algeria and France: Memory and Migration in Text and Image (TB1) - FREN20059
  • French Drama (TB1) - FREN20026
  • Introduction to French Cinema (TB1) - FREN20056
  • Women and Gender in Medieval French Literature (1150-1450) (TB1) - FREN20071


  • French Fiction: from Realism to the Twenty-first Century (TB2) - FREN20048
  • France during the Second World War: culture, politics and society (TB2) - FREN20070
  • France in Ferment, 1870-1949 (TB2) - FREN20063
  • French Thought (TB2) - FREN20068
  • Introduction to Francophone African Literature (TB2) - FREN20069

Year 3 (level H/6)


  • Francophone Identities in the Visual Arts (TB1) - FREN30099
  • Les Misérables: Readings and Receptions (TB1) - FREN30030
  • Me, Myself, and I: The Essais of Michel de Montaigne (TB1) - FREN30114
  • Political Cultures of Early Twentieth-Century France (TB1) - FREN30044
  • Prestige, soft power and diplomatie d’influence: Exporting French culture in the world from the 1870s to the present (TB1) - FREN30133
  • Transnational Encounters with the Francophone World (TB1) - FREN30134


  • Aesthetics of Revolution (TB2) - FREN30106
  • Propaganda, Politics, and the Islamic Other: Literary Responses to the Crusades (TB2) - FREN30117
  • Revolutions in Fiction: Romanticism and Realism (TB2) - FREN30118

Year 4 (level M/7)

None available

Selected English Literature units available to French subject pathway students

There are 2 units available from the Department of English:

  • Approaches to Poetry (TB2) - ENGL10026
  • Critical Issues (TB1) - ENGL10017

(Please note that other English Literature units are not available on the French subject pathway programme).

Application queries

Contact the Centre for Study Abroad inbound team if you have any queries about the application process for the study abroad programmes:

Phone: +44 117 39 40207


Students cannot audit units. Study abroad students are fully registered on units for credit purposes and must attend teaching only for classes that they are registered on.

Edit this page