Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2011-2012 (archived)


Department: Modern Language and Cultures


Type Open Level 2 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2011/12 Module Cap None.


  • AS-level or higher in French


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • In accordance with the general aims of an Arts taught MA, to promote self-motivated study of French as a preliminary to, and as providing an essential tool for, research in the general field of History and other disciplines that require a reading knowledge of the French language.


  • Reading skills for academic French.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
  • demonstrate a knowledge and an understanding of the basic underlying French grammar;
  • demonstrate a knowledge of vocabulary used in French general academic discourse in Arts and Humanities.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
  • extract relevant information and understand original written sources in French with the requisite aids such as dictionaries, grammars and commentaries to hand.
  • acquire various reading strategies such as skimming and intensive reading
  • make effective use of reference materials such as grammars and dictionaries (standard and online)
  • use a range of language-learning techniques and skills by independently developing strategies to extend the lexis in their subject-area and their knowledge of grammar
  • understand and translate passages of French of the type and difficulty level likely to be needed for their research
Key Skills:
  • At the end of the module students will have enhanced their ability to:
  • work as independent learners and researchers
  • use reference materials
  • apply reading skills and strategies effectively for academic purposes

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • This module is delivered through seminar style classes and one-to-one tutorials, but also contains a reflective portfolio to be created by the student.
  • There will be three 1 hour seminars in week 1 in term 1 as well as 2 one-to-one consultation hours per student. The emphasis will be on autonomous learning by way of creating a reflective portfolio.
  • The portfolio will contain a selection of reading passages and evidence of the learner’s engagement with the language issues (grammatical, vocabulary-related, syntactical) he or she has identified and overcome. The evidence of this learning process will take the form of a weekly blog with regular tutor feedback and signposting to further study.
  • In term 2 there will be 1 half-hour one-to-one tutorial and 2 one-hour one-to-one tutorials for each student. Individual texts geared at the students’ research needs will be selected in collaboration with their dissertation supervisor.
  • In term 3 there will be a 1.5 hour revision seminar in week 1 and 2.
  • Students will be monitored and formally assessed by way of a reflective portfolio (see above) and by a formal written examination.
  • The final examination will be completed unseen, but with dictionaries, grammars and commentaries as appropriate.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminar 6 week 1 (term 1) + 2 weeks in term 2 1.5 hours 9
1-1 Tutorials 1 1 week in term 2 0.5 hour 0.5
1-1 Tutorials 4 2 weeks in term 1 and 2 weeks in term 2 1 hour 4
Revision Classes 2 2 revision classes in term 3 1.5 hour 3
Preparation and Reading 283.5

Summative Assessment

Component: Portfolio Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Reflective portfolio (Michaelmas Term) Continuing throughout Term 1 100% Yes
Component: Written Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written Examination (Easter Term) 3 hours 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Students will be given independent learning tasks for each class and tutorial with teacher feedback. They will be guided through their portfolio.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University