The study of French opens the door to diverse cultures around the globe, from France itself to other French-speaking countries and regions in Europe, North and West Africa, Quebec, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific and Indian Oceans. French provides useful links to many parts of the world and to many areas of the liberal arts curriculum. Students interested in the arts, in government and business, in public health, environmental studies and international studies across the disciplines, benefit from the practical skills, the cultural knowledge and awareness and the intellectual connections that studying French can provide.
The French Department offers language courses for beginners and for those who want to build on their knowledge of French. The introductory-level courses stress communicative competency and the acquisition of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. The intermediate courses reinforce and extend those skills through an interactive exploration of contemporary French and Francophone culture using a variety of authentic electronic and print sources.
The core courses of the French Department (FRN 203, 205, 305 and 306) serve as an introduction to our major and as a bridge from the intermediate to advanced levels of our program. These courses provide students with a broad introduction to the Francophone world and to the important authors, events and ideas that have shaped French history from the Middle Ages to the present day. Advanced courses in French are organized around a literary genre, a single author, or an important question or theme. Advanced courses emphasize critical reading and analysis, research, writing and oral presentation skills and cross-cultural knowledge and understanding.
Most of our majors and minors spend a semester or year abroad, studying in Paris, Nantes, Strasbourg, Aix-en-Provence, or other cities in France. In recent years, some students have gone to other French-speaking parts of the world, including West Africa and Madagascar. We strongly recommend this immersion experience to all of our students, believing that travel alone is not enough to learn about other cultures. You need to live, work, relax and even dream in French to acquire the language and appreciate the culture fully.
A major in French consists of a minimum of 10 courses beginning at the level of FRN 203 or higher. Majors who place at the 200-level or lower normally complete FRN 203, 305, 306 and six electives. Majors who place at the 300-level normally complete FRN 305, 306 and seven electives. Electives in the major include FRN 205 and all courses offered at the 300-level. FRN 481, a research-intensive seminar, is required of all seniors.
Students majoring in French who enroll in French courses abroad may transfer up to two courses for credit (per semester) as upper-level electives in the major. Students minoring in French may transfer a total of two French courses taken abroad for credit towards the French minor.
In consultation with their department adviser, French majors may take up to two electives outside the department in a cognate area. These might include courses in another language, in Linguistics, History, Art History, Music, Anthropology, International Politics or Economics, International Studies, Africana Studies or Women’s and Gender Studies. All students work closely with a department adviser to ensure the coherence and integrity of their major course of study.
A student minoring in French may begin at any level and must complete six courses in sequence starting from the point of placement. A French minor may include one course in English, subject to the approval of the department.
The writing requirement in the French major is met by completion of FRN 305 or 306.
Majors and minors in the Department of French have studied abroad in the following programs in recent years: Internships in Francophone Europe (IFE); Institute for American Universities in Aix-en-Provence (IAU); F&M in Paris; American University Center of Provence (AUCP); IES Center and University of Nantes. See the International Programs section of the “Catalog” for further information.