Why this course?
French is a major international language. It is the first language of more than 100 million people across the world, while more than 60 million people speak French as a second language.
Studying with us will give you the chance to become a fluent linguist and, with our year abroad programme, an opportunity to experience living, working and/or studying in another country.
As a politics student, you'll look at the work of governments and their policies and study the behaviour of those who govern - and who they are governing - both at home and abroad. You'll also gain knowledge of domestic and international institutions and issues relating to conflict and cooperation.
We cover diverse and relevant issues, such as international terrorism to the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum.
Politics graduates can go on to work in a number of areas, with many pursuing academic research careers in the UK, Europe and North America.
Our BA degrees in Humanities & Social Sciences are initially broad-based. In Year 1 you will study three subjects, including your chosen subject(s).
What you'll study
Two streams are offered in first-year: one for students with Higher French or an equivalent qualification and another for those without. Students in both classes study contemporary French language and aspects of the country’s culture and society.
Years 2 & 3
You’ll continue to develop your reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. In cultural classes, you’ll learn more about the history and politics of France and French-speaking countries through literature and film.
In your final year, you’ll concentrate on translation, written and oral language and interpreting. Cultural classes – reflecting the research expertise of our staff – are currently offered in areas such as the occupation and how it is reflected in film.
In your final year, you’ll build on your project work from previous years and write a dissertation.
This is a central highlight of the course and a major formative experience for students not just in terms of language but on many different levels, personal as well as professional.
The Stevenson Exchange Scholarship is a competitive award which offers students funding towards a project they wish to undertake while on their year abroad. Staff select and interview several candidates for this each year. Our students usually do well in this competition; in 2013, one student secured £1,800 toward his project, and in 2014 three students were successful with awards up to £1,750.
In third year, students of French 3b - along with those in Italian and Spanish 3b - undertake a semester-long project. Students research a topic of their choice linked to French culture and produce a 20-minute presentation, a reflective report and a poster. The posters are displayed at an exhibition for two weeks in April and the student who designs the best poster in each language will receive a prize.
What you'll study
We introduce you to the key themes of politics and investigate the behaviour of politicians and citizens through the study of institutions and concepts.
Second-year is organised around three core classes:
- Modern Political Thought
- International Relations
- Global Politics
If you wish to continue to Honours Year, you're required to take our Research Methods for Political Scientists class. You can choose your other classes from a wide range of options, including:
- American Politics
- European Politics
- Scottish Politics
- War, Terrorism & Conflict
- Contemporary British Governance
In Honours Year, you'll have a wide selection of classes to choose from, covering Britain, the EU and the International arena. Many of our classes focus on highly topical issues, such as Difference & Democracy, in which you will debate questions of identity and multiculturalism.
Students take two combined classes: French 1A (semester 1), French 1B (semester 2). These courses are mainly organised around a linguistic progression towards level B1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. There is a regular input of cultural background which takes the form of three lectures in semester 1 and two in semester 2 covering the following topics:
- The Making of Modern France
- France in a Global Context
- Understanding the French Republic
- French Identities
- Contemporary French Society
In addition, there is an introductory lecture in semester 2 entitled ‘What is translation about?’
Politics 1A: Concepts
Politics 1B: Government & Governance
This class provides an introduction to the study of politics. In order to study politics fully, we devote attention to domestic and international politics and how they interact.
We cover a series of key concepts, the meaning of power, democracy and authoritarianism, structures and institutions – including elections, referendums and international organisations - that are essential to understanding how modern politics works.
While these subjects primarily relate to domestic politics, considerable attention is given to the impact of how international processes between states and external events affect domestic outcomes in contemporary politics.
This class provides an introduction to the actors, processes and outcomes that are key to modern government and governance. It covers a range of political processes that take place within democratic and non-democratic states and beyond; including, for instance, the role of the media. Considerable attention is given to the impact of international processes on outcomes in contemporary politics. The class examines a range of outcomes that influence the lives of citizens and residents of states, including the policies associated with modern welfare states and international trade agreements.
Students take two language classes as in Year 1. The language courses are based on a series of classes.
Le Monde du Travail
La France et L'Europe
Cultural focus: time (35 hour week, RTT and ‘ponts’, paternity/maternity leave, …) & ‘human resources’ (hierarchical organisation, discrimination, unions, relocation,…)
Linguistic focus: the negation, asking questions, using pronouns.
Immigration & Nationalité
Cultural focus: the origins of the European ideal, Europe and the EU viewed from France.
Linguistic focus: subjunctive mood.
Les Femmes en Politique
Cultural focus: a historical view of immigration in France and a look at the specificity of the French ‘integration’ system.
Linguistic focus: the system of tenses in French (concentrating on past tenses).
Cultural focus: a further look (after first year) at French politics, concentrating on topical issues.
Linguistic focus: modal verbs.
Cultural focus: decentralisation, importance of regions in France.
Linguistic focus: the passive voice.
Cultural focus: the French economy (role of the state, …), marketing à la française
Linguistic focus: equivalent of –ing in French.
In addition, students specialising in French take the French Culture and History 2 class. This class focuses on the Occupation and French Colonialism/Decolonisation. The historical context for each topic is first set, and documents from the two periods studied, before discussion moves on to the cultural domain, via analysis of the following texts and films:
- Au Revoir les Enfants (film, Malle)
- Stupeur et Tremblements (text, Nothomb)
- L'Étranger (text, Camus)
- Le Samourai (film, Melville)
- Anthology of historical texts relating to the Second World War
- Anthology of historical texts relating to French Colonialism/Immigration
International Relations & Global Politics
Modern Political Thought
This class introduces students to the academic study of International Relations (IR).
This class is taught from a "levels of analysis" approach that separates out the different actors in the international system. Each of the traditional "big" IR paradigms are presented in the relevant level. After examining how each level affects the perception of interstate politics, the course then examines topics such as the changing nature of war, international security and international institutions.
This class provides an introduction to fundamental political concepts, such as justice, democracy, power, authority, liberty and equality. It considers the relationship between the normative evaluation of political systems and how we study them. Students also become familiar with the basic ideologies necessary to understand political debate.
This class focuses on the comparative study of institutions in democratic and authoritarian political systems and what influences their performance and stability. You'll learn what forms economic, social, cultural and political institutions take, and what their effects are on democratic and authoritarian political systems.
This class enhances that knowledge by outlining research questions about democracy in its various forms and ways they can to be addressed by empirical evidence.
Students take two language classes (as in previous years).
Les Nouvelles Façons de Consommer
Cultural focus: a historical review of slavery and a look at modern forms of slavery.
Linguistic focus: reinforcement work on subjunctive mood, passive voice and negative forms.
Le Système Éducatif
Cultural focus: the impact of consumerism on the environment.
Linguistic focus: adjectives and comparative, hypothesis, conditional mood.
L’Année à l’Étranger
Cultural focus: a look at current issues in the French education system.
Linguistic focus: reported speech, imperative mood, a further look at pronouns.
Cultural focus: practical module aiming at preparing students for the year abroad.
There is also a French Studies 3 class: Freedom and Identity in France and the Francophone world. This class is based on the study of the following texts and films as examples of the treatment of the class’s twin themes:
- Milou en mai (film, Malle)
- Poverty (various texts)
- The Dreyfus Affair (various historical texts)
- Monsieur Klein (film, Losey)
- Rue des Boutiques Obscures (text, Modiano)
- National Identity in the Third Republic (various historical texts)
Quantitative Methods in Social Research
Research Methods for Political Scientists
This class teaches students a range of quantitative research methods. It will help you better understand the high quantity of statistics published by governments and in the media. Additionally, learning quantitative methods improves your job prospects and equips you better for study in Honours and beyond.
On the basis of the knowledge acquired in this course, students will be able to critically assess the validity and reliability of published research, to develop a research design, and to collect, analyse and present data.
You'll learn about different methods of:
- social science research
- distilling information from academic work
- collecting and analysing data
- the basic design of surveys conducive to quantitative analysis and conducting of qualitative interviews
- • the use of SPSS as an analytical tool used by many businesses and organisation
- the basics of uni-variate and bi-variate statistical analysis
This class provides a comprehensive overview of European politics, identifying the common characteristics of politics and government across the continent, but also the distinguishing features that make countries different. The class combines thematic topics with studies of politics and government in particular countries - France, Germany, Italy, and the countries of eastern and central Europe.
The first section of class examines the emergence and evolution of parties and party systems, focusing on the relationship between parties and society, ideological developments and modernisation processes. Particular attention is given to the emergence of ‘new politics’ and the rise of the far right. This part of the class concludes with an examination of the different types of electoral system employed in Europe, and the effects they have on politics.
The second section focuses on government; the character of government at the centre, multilevel governance, and parliaments.
This class introduces students to the basic concepts and theories relating to the study of political institutions, processes, behaviour, and policy in the United States. The first half of the class examines ‘American exceptionalism,’ and its political culture. The second half examines the institutions of the US political system, covering such topics as the constitution, federalism and the branches of the central government. The class will conclude with a survey of public policy in the United States, in several dimensions.
Class topics include:
- the US party system
- political participation and mobilisation
- individual voting behaviour
- public opinion
- nominations and elections
- interest groups
- the question of where power lies
The class seeks to provide a comprehensive overview of Scottish politics contextualising it within UK, European and world politics, historical inheritance and contemporary Scottish society. It examines the practice of Scotland’s governing institutions, the changing nature of democracy in Scotland, the impact of devolution on policy and broader governance as well as Scotland’s constitutional status.
War, Terrorism & Conflict
This class looks at the issue of who holds power in local politics in the UK as well as examining changing managerial and democratic practice. It asks fundamental questions about local politics, such as:
- how is local democracy justified?
- who holds power?
- what is the basis of that power?
- what is the role of citizens in localities today?
- what is the role of local governing institutions?
- how are local public services delivered
- how is policy made and delivered?
This course looks at the multi-faceted and ever-changing nature of war, conflict and terrorism, in the context of the end of the Cold War and the September 11 terrorist attacks. It addresses debates within the sub-discipline of Strategic Studies (i.e. the study of the use of force) and International Relations more broadly, relevant to the causes of war, the conditions of peace and strategies for dealing with terrorism and conflict.
Contemporary British Governance
This class is co-taught with staff from the UK Parliament and the Scottish Parliament. It also involves deliberative sessions with parliamentarians.
The class focuses on how Britain is governed, focusing particularly on how its main institutions and processes – with their own influences, conflict and dynamics – have risen to the multiple challenges of the modern world, ranging from demands for sub-national autonomy in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to the opportunities and constraints afforded by Britain’s membership of the European Union.
This class will provide a comprehensive overview of Chinese politics since 1949, contextualising it within the study of comparative politics, historical inheritance and contemporary Chinese society.
It will give you grounding in the dynamic evolution of the Chinese state and Chinese nationalism, China’s self-identified problems of weakness and underdevelopment, and the difficult political choices faced by political elites. It will also analyse how the country’s Communist legacy offers both opportunities and constraints for the present politics of China. The case of Taiwan is also included as a comparison.
This is the year abroad, spent either studying at a foreign university or working as a language assistant or on a work placement. This year is compulsory to gain entry into Honours.
The language course is based on a series of thematic dossiers dealing with current issues in France and the Francophone world. The focus of the class is on reinforcing and developing key professional language skills, such as translation into English, translation into French, liaison interpreting, and 'exposé' (formal oral presentation).
Students in Joint Honours French will additionally have one or more French Studies 4 classes. Everyone will take the Core Class, Images of Women, which considers the changing portrayal of women over the centuries, using the following texts as the basis of discussion:
- Madame Bovary (novel, Flaubert)
- Fatale (novel, Manchette)
- L’événement (Ernaux, novel)
- Women in the Paris Commune of 1871 (various historical documents)
Joint Honours students not writing a dissertation in French will take these two further classes:
- The Occupation and its portrayal in French films
- France since 1945
Theories & Practices of Regulation & Governance
Governance & Development
The aim of this class is to introduce students to the concepts, theories, institutions and processes of regulatory governance. The transnational and international dimension of regulatory governance is also taken into account.
This class aims to investigate the political determinants of peace and prosperity, conflict and poverty. It also deals with the recent literature on conflict, inequality, and globalisation. A special emphasis will be placed on providing an understanding of the contemporary challenges facing developing countries.
This class adopts a comparative approach to the study of political parties and party systems, focusing on Europe and the United States. We discuss the main functions and organisational and ideological characteristics of the different types of parties found in these regions, and the way in which parties adapt to social change.
We look at the relationship between parties and voters from the alternative theoretical perspectives of class voting, partisan identification and rational choice. We also examine party systems and party government.
The class focuses on how we do comparative politics (methodology). We'll consider the comparative method, and how the scientific method can be applied to the study of politics. We consider the problem of only having a relatively small number of cases to compare, and how we select these, as well as the difference between case-study driven, small-n and large-n studies. We also consider the use of ideal types – the importance of finding a language to compare very complex systems.
This class is divided into four main blocks:
- green political theory
- environmental attitudes & behaviour
- environmental movements
- green parties
Feminism & Politics
The focus of this class is the individual voter. Individual characteristics, such as education, socio-economic status, political attitudes and values, or involvement in social and political networks are looked at. However, contextual factors, such as the institutional framework, can also play a role for a wide range of political actions.
International Relations Theory in a Global Age
This class provides a critical introduction to feminism and its implications for politics. Over the last few decades, feminists have systematically challenged the long-standing view that politics is gender-neutral by uncovering masculinist bias and drawing attention to the neglected experiences, values and arguments of women.
Feminists have also reconstructed key political concepts and practices and expanded the range of issues and ideas understood to be political.
International Security: Concepts & Issues
This class explores debates about key concepts in International Relations theory, in the context of what is widely seen as a new era in the analysis and practice of global politics. The class investigates the 'cutting-edge' of IR theory and makes connections with social and political thought more generally.
Analysing Religion & Politics
Students are introduced to the literature and research agendas related to security and conflict studies. Specifically, the course will explore various aspects of civil war, terrorism, international conflict, arms transfers and refugee security.
The impact of faith upon politics is evident in many ways, including:
- the 1979 revolution in Iran
- conflicts in Afghanistan and the Middle East
- the Catholic Church's contribution to democratisation efforts in Latin America and Eastern Europe
- the role of religious actors in current debates on Islam in the EU
The class introduces students to the systematic study of these phenomena based on a quantitative methods perspective. Qualitative approaches are also considered. As part of the class assessment, students will conduct an empirical case study.
Our assessment methods include:
- written examinations, including translations
- writing for a specific purpose
Continuous assessment ranges from online grammar tests to group projects, while oral/aural tests are performed throughout the course. Students write a dissertation in their final year.
The School of Government & Public Policy encourages independent learning by reducing reliance on assessment through formal exams and introducing more flexible forms of class assessment.
All classes are of single semester length. In pre-Honours classes, students are examined at the end of the appropriate semester; short examination diets with two-hour examinations are held in January and May. For most classes, a formal essay-based examination at the end of the class still provides for two-thirds of the class assessment.
In pre-Honours classes on research methods, assessment is entirely by class-work. In some other classes, essays are supplemented by or, in part, replaced by project work or book reviews. At Honours level, all Single Honours students are required to complete a 10,000-word dissertation in Politics.
Learning & teaching
We focus on the four important language skills:
We make great use of technology in the classroom – interactive lectures and digital language laboratories – and outside, through the use of web-based learning and streamed French television.
In later years, you'll perform presentations, write reports and interpret into English, which prepares you for potential future careers.
Scholars from French universities visit regularly to give guest lectures and lead workshops, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.
In Politics Years 1 to 3, lectures and tutorials are the main form of teaching. In methods classes, lab sessions and practical group work are used. At Honours level, all classes are taught in a small group seminar format.
Tutorials, seminars and student presentations form an essential part of your learning and development. In addition, work on essays, book reviews and other class projects are part of the teaching and learning environment.
At Honours level, students work on a specific project for their Honours dissertation under the personal supervision of a member of the teaching staff.
Required subjects are indicated following minimum accepted grades.
1st sitting: AAAA
2nd sitting: AAAAB
- Higher English B, plus one from the list below
- Maths/Lifeskills Maths National 5 C or equivalent
- Classical Studies
- Modern Studies
- Religious Moral & Philosophical Studies
We recognise a wide range of Highers, however, your profile must reflect a good grounding in essay-based subjects.
Year 1 entry:
Minimum entry requirement: BBB (GCSE English Language B or English Literature B, GCSE Maths C)
Typical entry requirement: ABB (GCSE English Language B or English Literature B, GCSE Maths C)
Year 2 entry:
Minimum entry requirement: ABB (two core subjects at AB)
Typical entry requirement: AAA (two core subjects required)
36 (Maths SL5)
Year 1 entry:
HNC Social Sciences: A in Graded Unit; Maths National 5 C or equivalent
Irish Leaving Certificate
Subjects and grades as for Highers.
It is important to take care over your personal statement. We look for information about your academic and career interests, and your range of skills, abilities, and relevant experience. Your personal statement should show evidence you have a strong awareness and interest in the subject you are applying to.
Deferred entry normally not accepted.
Applicants with Highers
Due to the high level of competition for the number of available places, it is unlikely that Conditional Offers will be made to anyone attaining less than ABB at the first sitting of Highers.
Second-year entry for A Level/Advanced Higher candidates is possible with AA/AB in the two subjects you are planning to study.
Admission to Honours
All students will be admitted as potential Honours students. Students may exit with a Bachelor of Arts degree at the end of Year 3 of the programme if they have accumulated at least 360 credits and satisfied the appropriate specialisation requirements. For admission to the final year of the Honours course, a student must have achieved an approved standard of performance.
We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.
Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.
Find out entry requirements for your country.
Degree preparation course for international students
We offer international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the International Study Centre. To find out more about these courses and opportunities on offer visit isc.strath.ac.uk or call today on +44 (0) 1273 339333 and discuss your education future.
You can also complete the online application form, or to ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.
Fees & funding
How much will my course cost?
All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.
Rest of UK
Bachelor degrees at Strathclyde will cost £9,250 a year, but the total amount payable will be capped at £27,750 for students on a four-year Bachelors programme. Students studying on integrated Masters degree programmes – for example MSci, MEng and MPharm – will pay £9,250 for the Masters year.
Course materials & costs
The majority of course materials are available to students via Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Students can print course materials at their own expense.
The cost of course texts does not normally exceed £30 per academic year. Key language texts are used over 2 or 3 years of study. Multiple copies are also available in the University Library.
Studying abroad is an integral part of the degree course in Modern Languages - and usually takes place in Year 4. Students who choose to study in France, Spain or Italy are eligible for an Erasmus and grant to help minimise the extra costs of living abroad. This however, is not a full maintenance grant.
Typically, students will receive around £3,000 for a full academic year of study abroad. Students are required to meet travel, accommodation and extra living costs. These costs will vary dependent on the country of study. An estimated extra spend of £1,000 should be budgeted.
A range of scholarships are available for students of French, Spanish and Italian - and awarded on a competitive basis.
Students who work as English language assistants will receive a monthly stipend. In the case of France, this amounts approximately to 964.88 Euros per month gross (800 Euros net after social security deductions). Similar stipends are paid in Spain and Italy.
Placement & field trips
You'll incur travel costs for visits as part of the course. You'll be informed of this at your first lecture. Eg, if you're registered for Parliamentary Studies (L2313), you'll visit the Scottish Parliament and an off-peak travel return ticket for this costs approximately £12.60.
Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.
How can I fund my studies?
Students from Scotland and the EU
If you're a Scottish or EU student, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.
For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.
Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland
We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales
Strathclyde French graduates are currently working in a wide variety of environments around the world. Job titles include:
- education professionals
- business executives
- professional linguists
- IT experts
- civil servants
All language graduates have a range of transferable skills, which are greatly valued by employers. These include advanced spoken and written ability, competence in interpreting and/or translating and a high-level ability in other important communication skills.
Our graduates are employed in the media, management, teaching, sales and advertising, local government, further and higher education and social work.
Knowledge of the political process is also useful in a business career and this degree provides the normal route of entry into business traineeships. Employers are particularly interested in the high-level written and verbal skills of Politics graduates and their ability to research and analyse information.
Courses in Politics are recognised in the training of Modern Studies teachers, and a Politics degree is also particularly appropriate for entry to the civil service.
Students who specialise in research methods acquire social science research skills and expertise in the analysis of data, while the study of institutions is an extremely good background for those entering government service or communications, eg journalism, television and advertising.
There's also a tradition of Strathclyde Politics graduates entering academic research centres in the UK, Europe and North America.