French and Francophone Studies Major and Minor

Our students engage in a rigorous study of French language and the culture of France and Francophone countries. We offer classes that cover all levels of French language, a broad range of time periods, and France as well as French-speaking countries all over the world.

The program draws students with varied academic interests—from French literature, to particular Francophone countries, to interdisciplinary topics that encompass other fields.

Curriculum & Courses

Our demanding language program embraces the full range of communication skills—speaking, listening, reading, and writing—in French. All majors also build a strong foundation in literature and culture through classes that explore literary and cultural analysis, written and cinematic works, contemporary society, and more.

Majors organize the rest of their studies around one of two tracks. Our French and Francophone Literature track requires majors to take intermediate- and advanced-level French and Francophone literature courses. They must also complete our senior research seminar and produce a high-level piece of written work as a senior.

Students who want to combine French and Francophone studies with one or more other disciplines pursue our Interdisciplinary Studies in French track. Majors in this track must be able to articulate their hybrid academic goals and assemble a course of study that enables them to reach those goals. The program entails intermediate- and advanced-level courses from outside the department and a thesis in French or English.

  • Major Requirements (minimum of 10 credits)

    Majors must acquire fluency in the French language, both written and oral.  Taking FREN H212 , or its equivalent when studying abroad, could  help them to do so.

    • FREN H001-FREN H002 (2 credits)
    • FREN H003-FREN H004 (2 credits)
    • FREN H101FREN H102 (2 credits)
    • 200-level sequence: minimum of two courses, one of which may be taken outside the department. Courses taken outside the department should contribute to your independent program of study and must be preapproved by your major advisor and entered in your major work plan (2 credits)
    • 300-level sequence: minimum of two courses, one of which may be taken outside the department, pending pre-approval of your major advisor (2 credits).

    Senior Project

    The department offers a tailor-made experience for Senior majors along one of three lines:

    1. Students write a Senior essay in the context of a 300-level course taken either in the fall or the spring. In either case, students will be invited to collaborate on the design of the course in question.
    2. Highly motivated and capable students may also design their own independent course in the fall under the guidance of a faculty member as a preparation for an independent thesis in the spring.
    3. For students with interdisciplinary projects and/or double-majors, we will accept their work for a Senior thesis seminar in another department (for example, History, Philosophy, English, etc.) as a prelude to a spring independent thesis supervised at least in part by a faculty member in French and Francophone Studies. This Senior thesis seminar in another department may not count as one of the two courses in English toward the major.

    Senior Project Assessment

    Both Senior Thesis and Senior Essay include a final oral defense lasting thirty minutes. At this time, the student is expected to speak with authority about the research, the writing process, and some of the intellectual ramifications of the work accomplished.

    Senior Project Learning Goals

    At the end of their career at Haverford, we expect our students to have achieved an extensive appreciation of French and Francophone literatures and cultures as well as an advanced level of linguistic and cultural fluency in French. We also require that they demonstrate the capacity to analyze a text and critically engage it in a sustained fashion, formulate an argument and present it intelligibly in both oral and written form. Whether writing a thesis or a senior paper they must show that they can conduct research efficiently.

    Requirements for Honors

    Students with a GPA of 3.7 or above are usually recommended for departmental honors.

  • Minor Requirements (minimum of 6 credits)

    Note that FREN H001 does not count toward the minor and that the courses must be taken in sequential order, regardless of the level at which you enter the program. For example, those students beginning at the Elementary level will take, after their first year,FREN H003-FREN H004; FREN H101-FREN H102, and one 200-level course to complete the minor. 

Research & Outreach

All seniors produce a piece of original research. Specific requirements depend on the track each major pursues. Interdisciplinary majors can opt to take Senior Conference but are not required. In the spring semester they write a thesis—in French or English—on the interdisciplinary topic they have investigated.

After Graduation

Our graduates have developed a facility with the French language as well as a nuanced understanding of the culture of France and Francophone countries. Prepared to enter graduate programs in French or related areas, they are also equipped to enter a range of careers in which they will be well-served by their bilingual and bicultural backgrounds as well as their strong analytical and communication skills.

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