French and Irish (BA Joint Hons) QR51

BA Joint Honours

French and Irish


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Key Course Information

Entry Year


Course length

4 year(s)

A-Level Requirements *



Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences



Professional Year Out





Arts, English and Languages

*Indicative Only. Please see the Course Entry Requirements section for details on subject specific or GCSE requirements.


French is one of the major languages of global trade and of international relations. It is one of the official languages of the European Union, and is the official or administrative language in over 45 countries or regions worldwide.

At Queen's, French Studies reflects the dynamism and cultural diversity of the French-speaking world today. Students explore a variety of contemporary issues, time periods and geographical areas through a range of media including art, cinema, linguistics and literature. Studying French offers an insight into the language and society of metropolitan France and opens up exciting vistas of cultures throughout the world.

Our degrees cater for Beginners and for students with AS-level and A-level French.

Why Queen's?

Study Abroad/Placement: between Levels 2 and 3 students spend a period of residence in a French-speaking country. Most students have the possibility of acquiring valuable professional experience in a French-speaking company or school, and take a work-based learning module. Recent students have taught not only in France, but also in the French Caribbean and Canada.

Support: students run a lively French society, and staff offer support through a personal tutoring system, a skills development programme, and a structured feedback framework, which aim to enable all students to reach their potential.


Did you know?

French courses within the School are ranked 7th in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2017

Course Content (including module information)

Level 1

First year is designed to enhance students' practical language skills and all students take one core language module.

Students of Beginners’ French benefit from an intensive language course designed to bring them to A-level standard within a year. All other students take classes in comprehension, writing, translation and oral skills, which focus on contemporary social and cultural issues.

Most students also take French for Business and Professional Purposes, while Law with French students take Le Français Juridique.

Optional modules explore key issues in the modern French-speaking world: in Introduction to French Studies 1, students study the question of French identity from a variety of literary, artistic and social perspectives. France and the World explores the artistic and cultural diversity of French-speaking countries around the globe.

Levels 2 and 3

Levels 2 and 3 provide the opportunity to enhance the linguistic skills and cultural awareness developed in Level 1.

Core modules at both levels focus on advanced language study and also give students a choice of filières, which are taught and assessed in French.

The range of options on offer includes intensive language study for ex-beginners (in Level 2), language for professional purposes (Legal French, Business French), or a variety of historical, cultural, linguistic and literary topics.

Depending on their pathway, students also choose from a range of optional modules, which are designed and taught by internationally-recognised staff and relate to their research interests.

Current optional modules may include:

  • Caribbean Cultures
  • Romance and Realism in media cultures
  • French Film Noir
  • Paris: City of Modernity
  • The Sociolinguistics of Modern French

Assessment & Feedback

Assessment (general):  The way in which you are assessed will vary according to the Learning objectives of each module.  Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments.  Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations.  Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction. In level 1 language classes, you are assessed through a variety of language tasks (such as translation into English, translation into French and Irish, comprehension, writing summaries etc.), in-class tests, language exams, and oral exams.

Feedback (general):  As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers.  University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:

  • Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted. 
  • Face to face comment.  This may include occasions when you make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to address a specific query.
  • Placement employer comments or references.
  • Online or emailed comment.
  • General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
  • Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid.  In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which you can review in your own time. 
  • Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
  • Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.

Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work 

Learning and Teaching

At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable our students to achieve their full academic potential.


On the BA in French and Irish we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society and make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners. The School of Modern Languages is the smallest School in the University and because of this we foster a supportive learning environment in which we get to know each of our students individually. Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:


  • Seminars/tutorials:  Almost all of the teaching in Modern Languages is carried out in small groups (typically 10-20 students) in English, French and Irish.  These provide significant opportunities for students to engage with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess their own progress and understanding with the support of peers.  Students in Modern Languages will typically attend two different types of seminars – one type focuses on written language skills (involving intensive work on developing linguistic competence, vocabulary, knowledge of grammar, comprehension and translation skills, essay-writing skills etc.), the other type is devoted to studying topics relating to the culture, literature, cinema, art, society, history or linguistics of the language studied. Students should expect to make presentations and other contributions to these groups.


  • Oral classes:  where you will have opportunities to develop oral skills and apply grammar and vocabulary in real-life, practical contexts. All these classes are taught in very small groups (typically 6-12 students) and are facilitated by native speakers.


  • Lectures: are normally delivered in larger groups of approximately 40 students. They introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading.  Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments. Only a few of our modules are delivered in this way.


  • E-Learning technologies:   Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online.  A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree through, for example:  computer-based grammar learning packages in the Language Centre; interactive web-based learning activities; opportunities to use IT programmes in project- based work and for presentations etc.


  • Self-directed study:  This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment research and preparation work is carried out.


  • Year Abroad/Gaeltacht Residence Course:  This is a significant learning and employability enhancement opportunity during which you can study at university, work as an English-Language Teacher, or undertake a paid work placement etc. in a French-speaking country. This feature of our degree programme gives you the opportunity for personal and professional development, further develops communication and language skills, and the experience of living abroad is important for developing intercultural awareness. Students also spend a total of six weeks at the beginning of levels 2 and 3 on a residence course in Rinn na Feirste in the Donegal Gaeltacht. Here students engage with the spoken language in its native environment while staying in accommodation with a host family. Intensive, structured tuition is provided by qualified native Irish speakers during the course. In addition to the benefits for oral competence in Irish, the residence course provides a unique opportunity for immersion in Gaeltacht culture and establishes a tremendous esprit de corps among students.


  • Personal Tutor:  You are allocated a Personal Tutor who meets with you on several occasions during the year to support their academic development.  This gives you one identified contact to discuss any difficulties you might encounter and who can answer any queries you might have.

Entry Requirements


Selection Criteria

In addition to the entrance requirements below, it is essential that you read the How We Choose Our Students pdf prior to submitting your UCAS application.

Entrance Requirements

BA Requirements

Post A-level

A-level: ABB including A-level French and Irish. Note: for applicants who have not studied A-level French then AS-level French grade B would be acceptable in lieu of A-level French.

Beginner Level

A-level: ABB including A-level Irish + GCSE French grade B or evidence of linguistic ability in another language. Note: the Beginners' option is not available to those who have studied A-level or AS-level French.

Irish Leaving Certificate: H3H3H3H3H3H3/H2H3H3H3H3 including Higher Level grades H3 in French and H3 in Irish

All applicants: if you plan to study French as a Joint Honours degree or as part of a BSc/LLB/MSci degree you should refer to the subject requirements for the other course.

For French with Portuguese applicants please note: Portuguese is normally offered as a Beginners' programme to students who have demonstrable linguistic ability, but applications from students who have had prior engagement with the language and/or A-level Portuguese at minimum Grade B will be considered.

International Students

For information on international qualification equivalents, please click on Your Country in the International Students website.

If you are an international student and you do not meet the entrance requirements, you should consider a preparation course at INTO Queen's University Belfast, which will prepare you for successful study on these degree courses. INTO at Queen's is based on the University campus and offers a range of courses including the International Foundation in Business, Humanities and Social Science.

For students whose first language is not English

An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability to entry to this degree. Please click the links below for more information:

  • English for University Study - an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English - a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English

How To Apply

Applications for admission to full-time undergraduate courses at Queen’s should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at:

When to Apply

UCAS will start processing applications for entry in Autumn 2017 from 1 September 2016.

The normal closing date for the receipt of applications is 15 January 2017.

Applicants are advised to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.

Earlier applicants normally receive decisions more quickly, however, UCAS accepts that some applicants, especially those from outside the UK, may find this difficult. Late applications are, in practice, accepted by UCAS throughout the remainder of the application cycle, but you should understand that they are considered by institutions at their discretion, and there can be no guarantee that they will be given the same full level of consideration as applications received by the advisory closing date.

Take care to enter the details of the institutions and courses clearly and correctly on the application. For Queen's, the institution code name is QBELF and the institution code is Q75. These should be entered in the Choices section of your UCAS application. A Campus Code is not required. For further information on applying to study at Queen’s, please click here.

Queen’s University Belfast Terms and Conditions 2017 Entry
The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.

Career Prospects

Studying for a degree in French and Irish at Queen’s will assist you in developing the core skills and employment-related experiences that are valued by employers, professional organisations and academic institutions.  Graduates from this degree at Queen’s are well regarded by many employers (local, national and international) and over half of all graduate jobs are now open to graduates of any discipline. 

The First Destination Survey showed that none of our language graduates were unemployed six months after graduating in 2010. A Higher Education Funding Council report for 2008 also showed that 3.5 years after graduation, languages students have the fourth highest mean salary (after graduates in Medicine, Pharmacy and Architecture).

Students graduating from French and Irish in Queen’s have pursued careers in a wide range of sectors, including teaching and education, academic research, translation at home and in the EU, broadcasting and the media, civil service, community development.

The following is a list of the major career sectors (and some starting salaries) that have attracted our graduates in recent years:

  • Community Development: c.£30, 000
  • Education / Teaching: £22000
  • Banking: £28 000
  • PR: £20 000-25, 000
  • Export Marketing: £15 000 - £25 000 
  • Media and Publishing: £15, 000
  • Fast Stream Civil Service: £27,000
  • Translation / Interpreting: £18, 000 - £26 000

Employer Links


We regularly consult and develop links with a large number of employers including, for example, in Irish, the BBC, Irish Language Broadcast Fund and other media companies who participated in the course design for the MA in Irish Film and Script Production. An Gúm and Foras na Gaeilge, and other schools and community groups in Belfast provide opportunities for placements for students.  In French, employers such as Santander and the British Council, as well as Rolls Royce, Price Waterhouse Coopers and Ulster Carpets’ Export Marketing division have provided placements for our students. 

Graduate Careers and Achievements

Many of our former graduates have risen to the top of their fields and include many eminent figures; for example:


  • Ferdia Mac an Fhailigh, Chief Executive, Foras na Gaeilge
  • Méabh Ní Mhuirí, Presenter, BBC Radio Ulster
  • Seán Ó Maoilsté, Founder, Cult Úr


  • Kathy Clugston, Radio 4 presenter
  • Edward Hughes, Professor of French, Queen Mary University of London
  • Siobhan Lavery, Senior Sales executive, U105 radio station

 You should also take a look at further information concerning the types of jobs that attract languages Graduates.

Further study is also an option pursued by French and Irish graduates. Students can choose from a wide range of Masters programmes as well as a comprehensive list of research topics as shown on the School website.  

Other Career-related information: Queen’s is a member of the Russell Group and, therefore, one of the 20 universities most-targeted by leading graduate employers.  Queen’s students will be advised and guided about career choice and, through the Degree Plusinitiative, will have an opportunity to seek accreditation for skills development and experience gained through the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer.  See Queen’s University Belfast fullEmployability Statementfor further information.

Degree Plus and other related initiatives:  Recognising student diversity, as well as promoting employability enhancements and other interests, is part of the developmental experience at Queen’s.  Students are encouraged to plan and build their own, personal skill and experiential profile through a range of activities including; recognised Queen’s Certificates, placements and other work experiences (at home or overseas), Erasmus study options elsewhere in Europe, learning development opportunities and involvement in wider university life through activities, such as clubs, societies, and sports. 

Queen’s actively encourages this type of activity by offering students an additional qualification, the Degree Plus Award (and the related Researcher Plus Award for PhD and MPhil students).  Degree Plus accredits wider experiential and skill development gained through extra-curricular activities that promote the enhancement of academic, career management, personal and employability skills in a variety of contexts.  As part of the Award, students are also trained on how to reflect on the experience(s) and make the link between academic achievement, extracurricular activities, transferable skills and graduate employment. Participating students will also be trained in how to reflect on their skills and experiences and can gain an understanding of how to articulate the significance of these to others, e.g. employers.

Overall, these initiatives, and Degree Plus in particular, reward the energy, drive, determination and enthusiasm shown by students engaging in activities over-and-above the requirements of their academic studies.  These qualities are amongst those valued highly by graduate employers. 

Fees & Scholarships

There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union. Higher education funding arrangements mean that students can study now and pay later.

Further details can be found on our fees and funding section.

Queen's works to ensure that all those who can benefit from a university education have the chance to do so, and a generous system of financial support is in place to help them. Each year Queen’s offer a range of scholarships and prize for new students. The most up to date listings are available here.

For international students, information on tuition fees, can be found here. Information on scholarships for international students, can be found here.

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