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French MA (Hons) 2021 entry

As an MA (Hons) student of French, you will develop language and communications skills to a high level of proficiency through the study of French and Francophone language, literature and culture. You will have the opportunity to engage with a number of research-led specialist topics, which include:

  • literature and culture from the Middle Ages to the present day
  • French politics and culture
  • performance studies
  • intellectual history
  • postcolonial literature and theory
  • gender theory
  • film adaptation
  • modern French thought
  • creative writing
  • translation studies.

During your third year, you have the opportunity to study abroad in France at one of the University’s partner institutions. Students who spend a year abroad develop their linguistic skills, intercultural competence, and self-confidence.

The MA (Hons) in French is also available as a five-year course with an integrated year abroad. The integrated year abroad is an opportunity for students to spend a year working in a French-speaking country between second year and third year.

How to apply Register your interest

UCAS code


Course type

Master of Arts (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

  • Start date: 6 September 2021
  • End date: 30 June 2025

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Entry requirements

These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.

    • Standard entry grades: AAAB, including A in French
    • Minimum entry grades: AABB, including A in French
    • Gateway entry grades: BBBB
    • Standard entry grades: AAB, including A in French
    • Minimum entry grades: ABB, including A in French
    • Standard entry grades: 36 (HL 6,6,5), including HL6 in French
    • Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5), including HL6 in French

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes. Please see our entry requirements for more information.

For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.

International applicants

If English is not your first language, you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English language qualification.

How to apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

Students must have studied French at SQA Higher, GCE A-Level, or equivalent.

General entry requirements

All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.

Other qualifications

More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.

Course information

The MA (Hons) in French is a four or five-year course run by the School of Modern Languages. In the first two years, you will build on your existing skills in French and be offered a broad view of language, literature, society and culture. You will further develop skills of close reading, listening, speaking, writing and translation.

Alongside French, in the first year of your studies you will be required to study an additional two subjects. In the second year, you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about how academic years are organised.

During your third year, you have the opportunity to study at one of the University’s partner institutions in France. In this case, study undertaken in France replaces equivalent study in St Andrews. Studying abroad is optional. You may also choose to spend an integrated year abroad and return for two Honours years. 

At Honours level, you will take modules focused on communication and transferrable skills, while developing your understanding of ideas and debates which shape modern France and the Francophone world. You will be able to choose to specialise in a number of areas such as politics, culture and society, translation methodology, creative writing, or literature from the Middle Ages to the present. 

Graduates in modern languages from St Andrews can expect to have not only a high level of competence in language skills, but a highly developed appreciation for other cultures and peoples. Other transferable skills, including analysis, synthesis and communication skills will prepare you for a career in almost any industry.

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure web page.

Find out more about studying French at St Andrews.


In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours), you will take the required modules in French along with modules in at least one additional subject.

Typically, you will take one French module per semester in first year and between one and three French modules during second year. You will take at least two French modules per semester during your third and fourth year (known as Honours).

Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Students are required to take the following compulsory modules in their first year:

  • French Language and Literature 1: develops language skills and offers a grounding in the literary and cultural tradition in France.
  • French Language and Literature 2: promotes grammatical competence as well as written and spoken comprehension and production, whilst further pursuing the exploration of Francophone cultures. You will be taught how to read texts in their socio-cultural background and develop skills of literary criticism in French.

Students are required to take the following compulsory modules in their second year:

  • Second Level French Language 1: consolidates and extends the analytical and linguistics skill acquired at first level.
  • Second Level French Language 2: develops skills in spoken, aural and written French for a variety of academic and communication purposes and in different cultural contexts.

You will also choose at least two modules on French literature or civilisation from the Middle Ages to the present.

If you take French in your third and fourth years, you will choose from a variety of advanced options which incorporate literary, historical and cultural studies into language learning. Modules at Honours level offered in previous years have included (but are not limited to):

  • African Francophone Fiction
  • An Introduction to the French Classical Period
  • Contemporary French Crime Fiction
  • Creative Writing in French
  • De Gaulle and Since: Topics in the Politics, Culture and Society of the Fifth Republic (1)
  • Diversifying C19th French Poetry
  • From Text to Screen: Novels and Their Film Adaptations
  • Goods and Ads: Consumerism in Modern France
  • Libertine Literature and Libertinage in Eighteenth-Century France
  • Nineteenth-century French Narratives of the Sea
  • Politics, Propaganda and Mythmaking in Medieval France
  • Saint-Domingue: Theatre and Society in a Caribbean Slave Colony
  • Translating French Opera
  • Translation Methodology
  • Women’s Voices in Renaissance France.

In their fourth year, students also have the option of undertaking a dissertation of 5,000 or 10,000 words on a topic of their choice, supervised by a specialist member of staff. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.

The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.


Teaching format

All modern language modules involve a combination of lectures, tutorials and practical languages classes. Lectures provide information, stimulate thought, and suggest directions for further reading and personal study. Small tutorials allow you to actively work together with your tutors and your peers to practise language skills, present papers, and discuss texts and issues relevant to the course.

Typical class sizes include:

  • First year: lectures 90 to 120, seminars 10 to 15
  • Second year: lectures 50 to 70, seminars 10 to 15
  • Honours: groups of 5 to 15

When not attending lectures, tutorials and language classes, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:

  • working on individual and group projects
  • undertaking research in the library
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations
  • preparing for examinations.

You will be taught by a research-led teaching team with expertise and knowledge of French. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of tutorials under the supervision of the module leader.

You can find contact information for all French staff on the Department of French website.

In addition to your studies in the Department of French, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University.

The University’s Student Services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long-term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities web page.


Many of the modules in French are assessed by a combination of coursework (40%) and end-of-semester examinations (60%). Some Honours modules are assessed by 100% coursework.

The French Department has developed a range of innovative courses and assessment methods. Coursework may include:

  • advanced language exercises and essays,
  • listening activities
  • creative pieces
  • commentaries
  • translations
  • reflective pieces
  • learning diaries
  • blogs
  • videos
  • podcasts
  • oral presentations
  • debates
  • round tables.

Students are encouraged to develop their independent research skills but also to work in groups as required.

Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand. Examinations are either entirely in written format or comprise both written and oral components.

Tutors advise you closely on the preparation of written and oral work and give individual assessments of your performance.

The Department aims to provide feedback on every assessment within three weeks to help you improve on future assessments.

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please see the common reporting scale.

Meet us online

If you're interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a virtual visiting day or daily information session to find out about our courses, how to apply, and to meet current students.


Upcoming online visiting days:

  • Wednesday 30 September 2020
  • Wednesday 7 October 2020
  • Wednesday 14 October 2020
  • Wednesday 28 October 2020
  • Wednesday 4 November 2020


Tuition fees for 2021 entry

Home-funded Tuition fees for Scottish applicants have yet to be set for 2021 entry.
Rest of the UK £9,250
EU and overseas £25,100

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page

Accommodation fees 

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

In taking a joint degree, you are required to take core modules in all of your subjects. Find out more about joint degrees.

Modern language degrees

It is possible to combine a degree in French with two modern languages. Any combination of Arabic, German, Italian, Persian, Russian, and Spanish is possible.

You can also take French as part of a Modern Languages joint Honours degree with two modern languages and one additional subject.

If you are taking:

  • French

You can also take one modern language:

And one other subject:

If you are taking:

  • French

You can also take one modern language:

And one other subject:

If you are taking:

  • French

You can also take one modern language:

And one other subject:

If you are taking:

  • French

You can also take one modern language:

And one other subject:

If you are taking:

  • French

You can also take one modern language:

And one other subject:

If you are taking:

  • French

You can also take one modern language:

And one other subject:

Combinations involving Management and German are only available to those with previous knowledge of German. 

In taking a 'triple' modern languages degree, you are required to take core modules in all of your subjects. Find out more about joint degrees.

"With" degrees

You can take French as part of a "with" Honours degree in which the majority of the course deals with the first-named subject. 

Normally, for joint degree programmes, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. However, the Chemistry with French joint degree programmes (both BSc and MChem) have different entry requirements. Select the joint option above to see the entry requirements.

In taking a "with" degree, you are required to take core modules in all of your subjects. Find out more about joint degrees.

Your future


Modern languages graduates have an extremely good record of employment after graduating, not only in all sectors that require advanced language skills but also in professional environments that demand good communication and analytical skills.

Employers value language graduates because they demonstrate excellent communication, interpersonal and intercultural skills.

Many graduates go on to:

  • specialise in translation and interpreting services, in language teaching or other sector-specific careers
  • join international institutions and enterprises, working in international development departments, human resources, administration, media and communication jobs
  • start a career in the banking and financial sector
  • join the civil service, particularly in positions within the Foreign Office
  • continue to study at postgraduate level.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Study abroad

Students studying French may participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. You may also have the opportunity to participate in the School Abroad exchange programme. For information about study abroad options, please see the study abroad site.

Working abroad

Completing a work placement abroad is a good opportunity to gain work experience in another culture or language and to enhance valuable skill sets. As part of specific degree programmes in modern languages, you may apply to undertake a work placement abroad for credit.

Students may choose to spend an additional year working or studying in a French-speaking country. Find out more about the integrated year abroad for this course.

Student life

From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

Students of French may be interested in joining the following student societies:

  • At Home and Abroad Society (AHAsoc) promotes study and work abroad programmes along with all forms of international cultural exchange.
  • French Society promotes and shares the languages, arts, literature, theatre, cuisine, history and politics of France. Events include wine and cheese evenings, coffee and conversation mornings, and weekly film nights.

The School of Modern Languages is situated at the very centre of St Andrews in the Buchanan Building on Union Street. Within the Buchanan Building is the multi-media centre, a digital language lab which students will use as both a component of their module classwork and as part of individual study.

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As University buildings are located throughout the town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings, parks and beaches, providing a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. Find out more about the town of St Andrews.

Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.


Department of French
School of Modern Languages
University of St Andrews
Buchanan Building
Union Street
St Andrews
KY16 9PH

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3643

Department of French


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online (PDF, 84 KB).

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