- UCAS Code: RL12
Ranked: 2nd in UK for French (The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020)
Applicant visit day: March each year
Study abroad: exchange links with universities in Dijon, Paris & Angers
Study with us
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.
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.
Our BA degrees in Humanities & Social Sciences are initially broad-based. In Year 1 you will study three subjects, including your chosen subject(s).
Why this course?
French is a major international language. It's 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.
In politics and international relations, we cover diverse and relevant issues, such as international terrorism to the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum.
Our graduates go on to work in a number of areas, with many pursuing academic research careers in the UK, Europe and North America.
What you’ll study
In every year, teaching focuses heavily on language work, but you'll also discover more about the culture of France and French-speaking countries.
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.
Year 2 & 3
You'll continue to develop your reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. In the cultural class each year, you'll learn more about the history, politics, literature and cinema of France and French-speaking countries.
In your final year, you'll concentrate on translation, written and oral language, and interpreting. You'll also have the chance to write a dissertation in French. If, however, you choose to write your dissertation for your other Honours subject, you'll take two of our cultural classes. These classes reflect the research expertise of our staff and currently focus on topics such as France since 1945, Black France, Writing the Body, and Images of Women.
In your final year, you’ll build on your project work from previous years and write a dissertation.
Honours students spend a year abroad after Year 3, usually working as an English-speaking teaching assistant, gaining experience on a work placement, or studying at a foreign institution.
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 2019, for example, one student secured £1,050 towards his project.
Politics & International Relations
In Year 1, we’ll introduce you to the key themes of politics and investigate the behaviour of politicians and citizens through the study of institutions and concepts.
In Year 2, you’ll study three core classes: Modern Political Thought, International Relations and Global Politics.
If you continue to Honours Year, you'll take our Research Methods for Political Scientists class. You can choose your other classes from a wide range of options.
In your Honours year, you can choose from classes covering Britain, the EU and the international arena. Many of our classes focus on highly topical issues, such as Difference and Democracy, in which you'll debate questions of identity and multiculturalism.
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.
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
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.
Politics 1B: Government & Governance
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
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.
La France et L'Europe
Cultural focus: the origins of the European ideal, Europe and the EU viewed from France.
Linguistic focus: subjunctive mood.
Immigration & Nationalité
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).
Les Femmes en Politique
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
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.
Modern Political Thought
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.
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.
Les Nouvelles Façons de Consommer
Cultural focus: the impact of consumerism on the environment.
Linguistic focus: adjectives and comparative, hypothesis, conditional mood.
Le Système Éducatif
Cultural focus: a look at current issues in the French education system.
Linguistic focus: reported speech, imperative mood, a further look at pronouns.
L’Année à l’Étranger
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
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.
Research Methods for Political Scientists
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.
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?
War, Terrorism & Conflict
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.
This class is co-taught with staff from the UK Parliament and the Scottish Parliament. It also involves deliberative sessions with parliamentarians.
Contemporary British Governance
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.
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
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.
Governance & Development
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
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.
Feminism & Politics
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 Relations Theory in a Global Age
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.
International Security: Concepts & Issues
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.
Analysing Religion & Politics
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.
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.
Politics & International Relations
In Politics Years 1-3, lectures and tutorials are the main forms 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, you'll also work on essays, book reviews and other class projects.
At Honours level, students work on a specific project for their Honours dissertation under the personal supervision of a member of the teaching staff.
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.
Politics & International Relations
The School of Government & Public Policy encourages independent learning by reducing assessment through formal exams, instead using more flexible forms of class assessment.
In pre-Honours classes, you'll be examined at the end of the semester. Two-hour exams are held at the end of each semester. For most classes, a formal essay-based exam at the end of the class accounts for two-thirds of the class assessment.
In pre-Honours classes in research methods, assessment is entirely by class-work. In some classes, essays are supplemented by or, in part, replaced by project work or book reviews. At Honours level, single Honours students complete a 10,000-word dissertation in Politics.
Required subjects are shown in brackets.
(Higher English, Higher French B, Maths/ Applications of Mathematics National 5 B, or equivalent)
(Higher English B, Higher French B and Maths/Applications of Mathematics National 5 C)
Year 1 entry: ABB-BBB
(A-Level French B, GCSE English Language 6/B or Literature 6/B, GCSE Maths 4/C)
Year 1 entry: A in Graded Unit; Higher French B; Maths National 5 B, or equivalent
Not normally accepted
Offers are made in accordance with specified entry requirements although admission to undergraduate programmes is considered on a competitive basis and entry requirements stated are normally the minimum level required for entry.
Whilst offers are made primarily on the basis of an applicant meeting or exceeding the stated entry criteria, admission to the University is granted on the basis of merit, and the potential to succeed. As such, a range of information is considered in determining suitability.
In exceptional cases, where an applicant does not meet the competitive entry standard, evidence may be sought in the personal statement or reference to account for performance which was affected by exceptional circumstances, and which in the view of the judgement of the selector would give confidence that the applicant is capable of completing the programme of study successfully.
Degree preparation course for international students
We offer international students (non-EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.
Upon successful completion, you will be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.
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.
We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.Visit our international students' section
Fees & funding
All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.
*Fees for students domiciled in Scotland are subject to confirmation by the Scottish Funding Council. Scottish undergraduate students undertaking an exchange for a semester/year will continue to pay their normal tuition fees at Strathclyde and will not be charged fees by the overseas institution.
|Rest of UK|
*Assuming no change in RUK fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2021-22, this is capped at £27,750 (with the exception of the MPharm and integrated Masters programmes), MPharm students pay £9,250 for each of the four years. Students studying on integrated Masters degree programmes pay an additional £9,250 for the Masters year with the exception of those undertaking a full-year industrial placement where a separate placement fee will apply.
|University preparation programme fees|
International students can find out more about the costs and payments of studying a university preparation programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.
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 or Spain 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 Modern Languages 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 per month gross (€800 net after social security deductions). Similar stipends are paid in Spain.
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.
Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland
We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales:
You don’t need to make a separate application for these. When your place is confirmed at Strathclyde, we’ll assess your eligibility. Have a look at our scholarship search for any more funding opportunities.
International Students (Non-UKScholarships, EEA)
We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.
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.
Politics & International Relations
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.
Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city
Our campus is based in the very heart of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. National Geographic named Glasgow as one of its 'Best of the World' destinations, while Rough Guide readers have voted Glasgow the world’s friendliest city! And Time Out named Glasgow in the top ten best cities in the world - we couldn't agree more!
We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.
Find out what some of our students think about studying in Glasgow!Find out all about life in Glasgow
French & Politics and International Relations (1 year entry)
Start Date: Sep 2021
Mode of Attendance: full-time
Year of Entry: 1 year