Duration: 4 years full time
UCAS code: LR21
Institution code: R72
Politics, International Relations and Modern Languages (French) (BA)
Politics, International Relations and Modern Languages explores the key areas of contemporary politics and international relations, and combines these with the in-depth study of French language, society and culture.
Taught in partnership between the Department of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy, and the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, this course is informed by the outstanding research and international outlook of both departments.
The politics element of the course provides an introduction to the working of international relations. This includes research into areas such as security, international diplomacy, and the use of military force, as well as European languages and cultures. As a modern linguist, you will not only learn to speak and write fluently, you will also develop excellent communication and research skills and combine language proficiency with cross-cultural perspectives.
As a part of Royal Holloway’s close-knit international community based in our beautiful historic campus, you will be within easy reach of London. You will also have the exciting opportunity to spend a year working, teaching or studying in a French-speaking country, when you will immerse yourself in the language and culture and truly broaden your horizons.
• Taught in partnership with the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures.
• Spend a year of study and/or work in a French-speaking country. We have a study exchange with Sciences Po Strasbourg, a prestigious school of politics in France
• Gain written and verbal fluency in French.
• Other language options in German (LR22), Italian (LR23) and Spanish (LR24).
- Study with leading experts on Brexit and EU Budgets.
- Taught in partnership with the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures.
- Spend a year of study and/or work in a French-speaking country.
- Gain written and verbal fluency in French.
- Other language options in German (R200), Italian (R300) and Spanish (R401).
From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.
This module offers a broad introduction to theory and history in international relations since 1870. You will look at a variety of different theoretical lenses, ranging from orthodox to critical perspectives, in order to understand events from the collapse of the Bismarckian European order and the origins of World War 1 to the contemporary War on Terror. Along the way you will also explore the origins and the end of the Cold War, decolonisation and the End of Empire, the rise of international institutions, humanitarian intervention and new security issues.
This module will introduce you to the academic study of politics and to the ‘real world’ of contemporary politics. As a foundational course, it will give you all the essential tools to understand the nature of politics and analyse the way different political systems work. You will be introduced to key concepts such as politics, power, rights, ideologies, democracy and representation, and will learn about the different actors, institutions and processes that make up politics today.
You will take one or two of the following modules in French depending on your language proficiency:
This module develops your command of both French-English translation and critical analysis of French-language material by exposing you to a range of source material which might include prose fiction, poetry, drama, film, graphic novels, multimedia and web content, and newspaper and magazine articles. In weekly seminars, you will focus closely on the syntactical, stylistic, lexical and culturally specific features of a range of French-language text types.
The module aims to develop reading and writing skills in French. Classes use French as much as possible and the course is assessed in French. The module uses a blended approach: it is based on a beginners' coursebook with additional material on Moodle and as weekly hand-outs based on authentic material. Themes studied vary from year to year but are likely to include every-day life in France, an introduction to French-speaking society and culture, regions and traditions.
The module aims to develop speaking and listening skills in French. Classes use French as much as possible and the module is assessed in French. The module uses a blended approach: it is based on a beginners' coursebook with additional material on Moodle and as weekly hand-outs based on authentic material.
The module aims to expand students’ ability to express themselves in accurate spoken French. Students will work on a wide range of authentic material in French to expand their vocabulary and range of expressions and to introduce them to contemporary issues and culture. The course will be taught and assessed in French.
The module aims to expand students’ ability to express themselves in accurate written French. Major grammatical issues will be taught and/or revised, and students will work on a wide range of authentic material in French to expand their vocabulary and range of expressions. Key linguistic features of the texts will be identified and discussed to improve the student’s language acquisition and analysis skills. The course will be taught and assessed in French.
In this module you will analyse the contemporary politics of the European Union and its institutions, amid the challenges of the triple crisis of economics, migration and Brexit. You will learn about the political history of European integration after 1949 and the contemporary theory of European integration. The first term will begin with an introduction to the European Union as a political system followed by an overview of the European Union's historical development. The second term will focus on contestation of the European Union and the theories that underpin this, in order to explain how the EU developed and the challenges that it faces. Topics will include Euroscepticism, party politics, public opinion, Brexit and EU-UK relations, and European Parliament elections. The theory sessions comprise of federalism, neo-functionalism, liberal intergovernmentalism and the new institutionalisms.
You will take one or two of the following modules in French depending on your language proficiency:
In written French, the module builds on techniques acquired in first-year language modules through a particular focus on techniques of analysis, writing and rewriting, in particular on learning to construct arguments and exposés in authentic, accurate and appropriate French. Themes studied help as preparation for the year abroad (themes may vary, examples include : Le travail en France, être jeune en France, la contestation sociale).
In this module you will further develop your ability to communicate effectively in French, in writing or orally, with good grammatical and lexical accuracy. You will look at texts from a variety of sources and examine authentic recordings from a range of subjects. Much of the content is delivered in French, with the exception of grammar classes, which are taught in English.
In this module you will develop an understanding of translation from French to English through sustained translation practice. You will look at the syntactical, stylistic, lexical and culturally specific problems generated when translating from French source text to English target text in a range of translation scenarios and across a range of text types. You will consider common translation challenges, such as conversion, transfer, compensation, gloss, exoticism, deceptive cognates, lexical gaps and cultural specificities, as well as examining the constraints of character count and house style.
You will spend the third year of your degree programme abroad, either studying, working, or both, based on your own learning preferences as well as your professional goals and interests. It is usually expected that you will spend at least nine months in a country where the native language is the same as the language you are studying. The Year Abroad allows you to expand and refine your existing linguistic competencies in the relevant target language alongside the development of intercultural competency and employability skills. The Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures will support you in finding a suitable study or work placement, or you may explore opportunities independently. This year forms an integral part of your degree programme and will be formally assessed.
In this module you will develop an understanding of regulation in the European Union, including delivery of policy and administration. You will look at how the world's largest market operates, with a focus on EU public policy, including de-regulation, re-regulation, budgets and spending. You will examine the concept of the single market, the Euro and its crisis, justice, home affairs and counter-terrorism, the EU budget, agriculture, regional development, and social and environmental policies.
You will take the following module in French:
In this module you will enhance your ability to analyse and compare written material from different sources. You will develop competence in accurate and discursive French, and extend your oral presentation skills, with particular emphasis on the formal spoken register. You will look at extracts from French documentaries and feature films, and listen to recordings and podcasts, such as the France Inter and France Culture programmes. You will also look at a range of cultural questions and examine the key features of French culture and society.
There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.
Optional modules in French may include:
All modules are core
I in this module you will develop an understanding of contemporary British politics. You will look at the ways in which British government has evolved, how it continues to operate, and why it operates in the way it does. You will consider the causes and consequences of major political change in Britain and examine the underlying assumptions upon which theoretical disputes in political science are based.
In this module you will develop an understanding of some of the key concepts in political theory today. You will look at political obligation, civil disobedience, democracy, citizenship, equality, global justice, human rights, and freedom and toleration. You will consider important theorists including Berlin Rawls, Nozick, Sandel, Okin and Pettit, examining the recent major theoretical perspectives in the context of contemporary politics.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the relationship between states and markets, power and wealth. You will look at the key concepts and theoretical debates in International Political Economy, such as the globalisation of trade, finance, and production, the continued problems of development and democratic governance in the world economy, and emerging questions surrounding global flows, networks and spaces. You will consider the history of regimes, crises, and competing theories of political economy from the nineteenth century to the present day and examine how political institutions operate in international politics to regulate the creation of wealth, and who benefits from these arrangements.
In this module you will develop an understanding of security studies as a subfield of International Relations. You will look at the issue of war and it is/should be fought. You will consider the theories of security and how these have changed, especially in an age of terrorism, and examine a wide variety of security including nuclear weapons, drone warfare, genocide, and gun control.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the themes, arguments, and interpretations of major political thinkers from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. You will look at the works of Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Mill, Marx and Nietzsche and consider how the ideas articulated by these thinkers continue to underpin contemporary debates about the nature of freedom, human rights, value pluralism, popular sovereignty, state legitimacy, and the modern condition. You will also examine how study of these thinkers illuminates contemporary debates even where these debates no longer make reference to them.
In this module you will develop an understanding of how citizens, politicians and the media interact across Western democracies during both electoral and governing periods. You will look at the production and consumption of political news, consider election campaigns and their effects, and examine contemporary debates in political communication, including ethical issues.
- Government and Politics of the United States
In this module you will develop an understanding of the most important features of the history of the development of the non-West. You will look at the distinctive political dynamics characterising the contemporary non-West and consider the thoughts of prominent non-Western political thinkers.
Optional modules in French may include:
This module will focus on four texts dealing with love and desire taken from French literature; these will be studied in the light of their common themes and will be used to explore issues around the representation and understanding of passion and romance in the literary text.
This year-long module examines key examples of French cinema from its beginnings to the present day, focusing on the avant-garde and surrealist films of the 1920s, social realist films of the 1930s, the New Wave which began in the late 1950s, and its ‘postmodern’ legacy in the 1980s followed by a return to realism in the new millennium. The module entails close, critical analysis of film style, though no prior knowledge of film theory is required.
- US Foreign Policy
- Young People's Politics
- Leadership, Power and the British Prime Minister
- Visual Politics
- American Political Development
- The Politics of Russia and Eastern Europe
In this module you will combine participation in a workplace environment for one day a week during term time (and three days a week for each term's reading week) with scholarly reflection on the nature of the organisational, professional, and policy contexts of the placement. Your placement will be in an organised setting such as Parliament, local government, the office of an MEP, NGO, campaigning or activist organisations, a political party, a media organisation, or the policy or communications division of a local company working in a relevant field.
- Political Theories of Freedom
- Politics of the Law and Rights
Party leaders, and their public image, are increasingly considered important for a party’s electoral success, for the smooth running of government and for regime legitimacy. Perhaps the most important variable for successful politicians is their ability to effectively communicate and connect with their audiences. This module will first, show you the techniques most frequently used my politicians, communicators and speechwriters to effectively deliver their messages in different contexts and settings. Next, you will analyse how these techniques have been used by the greatest leaders in the word to justify their regimes. By the end of the module you will be able to evaluate leadership styles during and after elections and design communication strategies that will deliver political messages effectively.
- Military Change in the 21st Century
- Radical Political Theory
- Foundations in Middle East Politics
- Global Health Policy
- Politics and Government of Africa
The politics of South Asia – India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh - are central to understanding some of the themes at the core of modern politics: poverty and development, security and warfare, migration and transnationalism, decolonisation and postcolonialism, the international economy and globalisation. This module deals with the social and political development of these countries since independence from British rule in 1947. We will analyse issues including caste politics, the role of religious violence and the place of women in politics and society. Sources will come from a range of disciplines – politics and IR, history, sociology, anthropology, novels and films. We will study regional cooperation and conflict including the troubled relationship between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and their nuclear status. By the end of the module you will have a specialised understanding of the major social, economic and political developments in the region.
This module examines the contemporary literature on gender and politics, with a particular focus on women’s participation and representation in British politics. It introduces you to feminist theories of representation, debates over women’s interests, and feminist institutionalism. It applies these frameworks to consider why the number of women in our parliaments might matter and what difference – symbolic, substantive and affective – sex and gender make to elected political institutions, the policy process, political outcomes, and healthy democracies.
This final-year half module offers students the opportunity to obtain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the British parliament and its place in British democracy. It will help you to evaluate the work and role of Parliament and parliamentarians, appreciate ongoing debates about contemporary legislative practice, and engage critically with previous academic scholarship in this area. It will also help you to develop you own awareness and experience of conducting research.
Issues of free speech are amongst the most contentious in current political debate. The module aims to give you an in depth understanding of the nature, value and limits of freedom of speech, from the perspective of normative political theory. It is not a course in the law of free speech, nor about the free speech situation in any particular country. Though the module touches on both the latter, the aim instead, is to enable you to understand the values, norms and principles at issue in contexts where free speech is promoted, regulated, limited or denied- especially contexts where that choice is contentious. You will be encouraged to look beyond the headlines to explore the rich and varied academic scholarship on free speech, and to offer critical analyses of that scholarship. By the end of the module, you should be able to interrogate your own and others’ intuitive reactions in controversial cases of e.g. hate speech, and to develop a reasoned, nuanced approach to these issues.
This module is designed to introduce advanced undergraduates to the major themes of contemporary Latin American politics and, consequently, democracy and political development. Although the module does not assume that you already have knowledge of the region, you are expected to be familiar with basic concepts of comparative political analysis. While the module stresses the political aspects of the developmental process, its objective is to show the linkages between economic, social, cultural, and political variables--both at national and international levels.
Optional modules in French may include:
This module highlights the interventions of women writers and artists in Dada and Surrealism during the early decades of the 20th Century in France. The first half of the module introduces ideas around feminism, women in art, and women’s writing, with an aim to equip you with a foundation in theory. Selected key readings, available on Moodle, provide a basis for class discussions. In the second half of the module, you look in detail at work by individual artists and writers, including literary texts (poems, narratives and manifestos) and artworks (collages, paintings and photographs). Because it draws on recent and ongoing scholarship and curation, and because many of these women are little-known, the topic leaves considerable scope for original comment and research.
This module explores how French novels and films of different genres and decades reflect, perpetuate and challenge the effects of fast-developing consumer capitalism and globalization on conceptions of identity between writers and artists over a century of experimentation.
In theory at least, early modern French theatre had little time for villains. Genuine wickedness, vice and evil were regarded as too serious a subject matter for comedy, while theorists of tragedy insisted that a wicked character – whether ultimately defeated or triumphant – could not produce pity, one of the key tragic emotions. And yet, as this module demonstrates, wicked and villainous characters recur throughout ‘classical’ French theatre. Indeed, by refusing to present villainous characters who are simply outright monsters – a straightforward ‘other’ to the social and moral norm – playwrights sometimes suggest that the most troubling characters are those in whom we might recognise elements of ourselves.
- Text and Image in France: from Cubism to the Present
- Blindness and Vision in French Culture
Teaching & assessment
The course has a modular structure, whereby you will take 14 units at the rate of four per year in the first, second and fourth years, plus two in the third year, which is spent working or studying abroad. Most modules contain an element of assessed coursework, which contributes to the final mark awarded.
Your first year is formative, though your results will determine whether you can progress to the second year. Your second and fourth year results, alongside those of the third year spent abroad, will contribute to your final degree classifcation. Work completed in your fourth year will count for a larger proportion of the result.
In Modern Languages you will also take a study skills module during your first year, designed to equip you with and enhance the writing skills you will need to be successful in your degree. This module does not count towards your final degree award but you are required to pass it to progress to your second year.
You will be assigned a personal tutor who will provide you with support, guidance and advice throughout your studies.
You will also have access to the comprehensive e-learning facility Moodle, which features lecture handouts and other supporting materials, such as lecture slides, quizzes, video clips, and links to relevant academic journal articles.
A Levels: ABB-BBB
- At least one A-level in an essay based subject.
- At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9 - 4 including English and Mathematics.
- Grade B at A-level in French for the advanced level language pathway. For the beginners' language pathway there is no language requirement.
Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required. For students who are from backgrounds or personal circumstances that mean they are generally less likely to go to university, you may be eligible for an alternative lower offer. Follow the link to learn more about our contextual offers.
We accept T-levels for admission to our undergraduate courses, with the following grades regarded as equivalent to our standard A-level requirements:
- AAA* – Distinction (A* on the core and distinction in the occupational specialism)
- AAA – Distinction
- BBB – Merit
- CCC – Pass (C or above on the core)
- DDD – Pass (D or E on the core)
Where a course specifies subject-specific requirements at A-level, T-level applicants are likely to be asked to offer this A-level alongside their T-level studies.
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway (apart from some language courses) is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here.
Undergraduate preparation programme
For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, for this undergraduate degree, the Royal Holloway International Study Centre offers an International Foundation Year programme designed to develop your academic and English language skills.
Upon successful completion, you can progress to this degree at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Your future career
A global economy offers exciting opportunities to those wanting to pursue successful and rewarding careers. An ability to speak languages and a keen analytical mind are among the most sought-after qualities in today’s highly competitive job market; Politics, International Relations and Modern Languages equips students with both.
Our course fosters a deeper cultural understanding of a foreign language which can be a great asset in industries such as export, trade and international marketing. In these fields, workers need to build and maintain solid relationships with foreign partners, so a cultural understanding can help workers anticipate foreign clients’ expectations. Many government jobs require language skills, particularly in the sectors of immigration and diplomacy.
This course produces high calibre graduates with the skills and knowledge to fully exploit every opportunity including those presented during the study year abroad. Studies show that students who have spent time abroad as part of their degree gain higher status and better-paid jobs. As part of the study year abroad, those of our students who wish to pursue a career in teaching can apply to work as an English language assistant in a continental school. Alternatively, there is an opportunity to spend the year in employment on an approved work placement (former students have worked for companies such as IBM in Marseilles, France) or apply to work as an intern for an MEP. This latter option is a popular choice for those who wish to gain work experience in politics.
Graduates from our department work in a range of careers including public affairs, political organisations, journalism, international law and charities. Roles include Ministry of Justice Fast Stream, political analyst at merchant banks, Foreign Office Fast Stream and graduate entry into a wide array of large companies. Many of our graduates also go on to further study, entering postgraduate courses both at Royal Holloway and at other prestigious institutions around the world.
Employers include The House of Commons, Unilever, Ministry of Defence, Amazon Nestle, Ipsos MORI and MPs’ offices.
Fees, funding & scholarships
Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,250
EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £23,800
Other essential costs***: The cost of your year abroad will vary by country. Typical living costs to consider will be accommodation, food and household items, entertainment, travel, books and bills (including your mobile phone). You'll also need to budget for travel to and from your country of study. Additional costs compared to studying in the UK will also depend on personal choices and it is important to research the cost of living before the year commences.
How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students who have already taken out a tuition fee loan for undergraduate study should check their eligibility for additional funding directly with the relevant awards body.
*The tuition fee for UK undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations. For students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25, the fee is £9,250 for that year.
**This figure is the fee for EU and international students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25
Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees annually for overseas fee-paying students. Please be aware that tuition fees can rise during your degree. The upper limit of any such annual rise has not yet been set for courses starting in 2024 but will advertised here once confirmed. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.
***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2024/25 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.