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Study French at UCC

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Why Study Languages



                         Several degree programmes in U.C.C. feature French. You may have received the offer of a place on one of these degrees, in that case members of the Department of French will look forward to meeting you in October. The University provides up-to-date information on points requirements for different programmes and information on available offers is also provided by the Central Applications Office. This page provides some advance information on the study of French in U.C.C.

French is offered as a degree-level subject in the following degrees:

Each programme which includes French as a degree-level subject is organized into a number of distinct elements:

  • language modules embracing work on reading, writing, speaking and listening;
  • core modules dealing with the study of culture and literature;
  • specialized modules covering different areas of French as a multidisciplinary subject, including Literary studies, Linguistics, French thought and the history of ideas, Cultural studies, French society and institutions.

A number of objectives are common to each degree programme:

  • to provide you with opportunities further to develop your skills in the study and the use of the French language;
  • to provide you with opportunities to extend and deepen your skills in the reading and discussion of texts;
  • to introduce you to work in specialized areas of French as a multidisciplinary subject.
  • to give you a sense of French culture including French speaking countries around the world.

The distinctive challenge of French lies in the assimilation and study of knowledge and ideas through the medium of the foreign language, and the study of the French language, as used in a range of different contexts, requires the development on your part of a sense both of precision and of adaptability. Because French is a multidisciplinary subject, you will find that you will need to to master a range of kinds of knowledge, on the one hand, and of analytical and conceptual resources, on the other. The study of French, because it often takes the form of the reading, analysis and discussion of texts, will lead you to develop a capacity for responsiveness, discovery and synthesis. The study of texts, and the analytical and interpretative work to which it gives rise, encourage the student to develop a capacity for independent critical thinking.

The benefits that flow from the study of French include the acquisition and development of transferable skills, including those of information gathering, analysis and interpretation. Small-group teaching also enables you to acquire a range of personal and interpersonal skills: in addition to communication and listening skills, you are required to to take responsibility for the success of group work, thus developing reflectiveness, self-awareness and a capacity for co-operative endeavour.

Graduates in French are expected at a minimum to be able to write and speak the language with precision and confidence; to have extended both their knowledge and understanding of French and francophone culture and their capacity to develop this knowledge and understanding further on the basis of independent study and work; and to have acquired advanced skills in interpretation, analysis, argument and communication.


Students registered in some programmes offered by the Colleges of Arts, Social Studies and Social Sciences, Business and Law, Medecine and Health and College of Science, Engineering and Food Science can also take French language modules under our Languages for All Programme.


The department also provides a wide range of Postgraduate programmes

Frequently Asked Questions



  • Must I have taken French in secondary school in order to study it in University?

Yes, as a rule. Formally speaking, you are required to have reached at least matriculation standard (the equivalent of a pass in the Leaving Certificate examination, or equivalent) if you wish to choose French as one of your subjects in U.C.C. Each programme has a minimum entry requirement Leaving Certificate in terms of grades, please check each programme page in order to find out. 


  • In what ways is French in University different from French at school?

You will study both French language and a number of different aspects of French culture, including literature, thought and society. In French language, you will work on a wider range of language skills. You will read more widely in French and acquire specialized skills in the reading, analysis and discussion of texts.


  • What does language teaching in French consist of?

In each year, language modules integrate the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Written language courses in the first and second year include work on comprehension, grammar and vocabulary. Essay-writing is an important feature of language-teaching and language-learning in all years. Translation forms part of the language programme in the second and the final year. Oral classes are taught by native speakers of French. Specialized language modules are provided for students of the BSc International Business with LanguagesBCL Law and French and BEd Gaeilge programmes.


  • Do I study literature?

Yes. You will study literary texts in all years. In the first year, most of these are contemporary works. In the second and final year, much of your work on literature takes place in the context of seminars which provide you with plenty of opportunities for discussion and exchange of views.


  • How will I know if studying literature will be of interest or relevant to me?

Curiosity, imagination and a taste for reading are the some of the main qualities you will need to draw on as a student of literature. The teaching you will receive will help you to develop your capacity and skills in the reading and discussion of texts. Studying literary texts is of interest in itself. It will also help you to develop your knowledge and understanding of French culture, of reading and interpretation, and of intellectual discussion and debate.


  • Will I study topics other than literature?

Yes. Core scheduled (or content-based) teaching extends from the first to the final year over the study of literature, thought and the structure and varieties of contemporary French. Specialized areas of French are introduced from the second year onwards in the form of courses organized as five distinct strands: Literary studiesLinguisticsFrench thought and the history of ideasCultural studiesFrench society and institutions. In B.A. degrees, you may choose modules from within these strands in the second and final year.


  • Are lectures and classes given in French?

French is used as the medium of written language teaching in the first and second year. You will also have a weekly one-hour class on spoken French in each year. Lectures and seminars are generally given in English. A small portion of cultural and literary lecture classes will be in French, as well as the final year seminar.


  • Can I study French even if I am taking a degree in another subject?

Yes. The University provides a Languages for All programme which incorporates courses in a wide range of languages at levels from beginner to advanced. If no provision exists for language courses in your degree programme, you may nonetheless study languages either in public courses or on a self-access basis. 


  • Which degree would suit me best?

All of the degree programmes which include French as a subject will enable you to bring your language and interpretative skills, together with your knowledge of French, to a high level. The B.A. Joint Honours (CK101) is the most flexible degree. You take four subjects in the first year and choose your degree subjects from amongst these four at the beginning of the second year. This degree allows you to study French in combination with most of the other subjects in the Faculty of Arts. 

The BA International and the BA World Languages are four-year degrees, incorporating a year of study in a French-speaking university. These degrees have something of the same flexible structure as the B.A. Joint Honours, in that it allows you to combine French with a wide range of other subjects. 

The BSc International Business with LanguagesBCL Law and French and BEd Gaeilge are specialized degrees. The objective of each degree is to provide a dual formation, in French, on the one hand, and in law and business and Irish& education disciplines, on the other. Each degree contains a number of modules linking each of the strands of learning and these degrees also incorporate a year abroad.


  • What does the Year Abroad consist of?

The year abroad is a year of study in a European university. It provides the opportunity both to use and extend your knowledge of the language in a native-speaker environment and to experience study in another European country. University College Cork has a wide range of partnerships with universities in each country of the European Union and these partnerships provide the context for student exchanges. If your degree includes a year abroad, you will spend that time as a student in the European Union ERASMUS programme registered in a French university or Belgian university. Your year of study, which involves following approved courses in the partner university, forms a fully recognized part of your degree programme in U.C.C.


  • What can I do after university with a degree in French?

A degree which includes French opens a wide range of possibilities to you, in which you will be able to draw on your skills in the use of language, in communication, and in interpretation and argument, as well as your knowledge of France and of Europe. Graduates in French work in the public service, in teaching (at all levels), public administration, broadcasting and the arts. Careers in the private sector include banking, marketing and communications. Work abroad is increasingly available as a career option in contexts where you can use your knowledge both of English and of French.

You may decide that, in order to extend or develop your knowledge, or to enhance your career options, you wish to follow a postgraduate course. A range of are provided by the Department of French. Postgraduate opportunities are widely available throughout the University which will provide you with scope to develop new areas of knowledge (see the postgraduate section of the University Calendar.


  • How do I find out more?

There are a number of useful sources of information to which you can refer. These include the University prospectus for students thinking of entering U.C.C., which can be obtained from the Admissions Office. You should take the opportunity to visit the University on the Open Day, which usually takes place the first Saturday in October. 

You can also write to the Department of French with any questions you may have (by post to Head of Department, Department of French, University College Cork, Cork; by e-mail to

The Year Abroad

A year of study abroad is an element of the following degrees:

The third year of each programme is spent studying in a partner European university. This year is a fully recognized element of each of these programmes. This means that you will study approved courses in the partner university and that the results you obtain will form part of your student record here in U.C.C.

For more information, please click here



Department of French

Room 1.22 Block A, First Floor, O'Rahilly Building, University College Cork