The major in French and Francophone Studies lays the foundation for an understanding and appreciation of French language and of French and Francophone cultures through their literatures and the history of their arts, thought, and institutions.
Course offerings serve those with interest in French and Francophone literature, literary theory, and criticism, as well as those with interest in studying France and French-speaking countries from an interdisciplinary perspective. As the faculty teaches exclusively in French, a thorough knowledge of the language is required. Our courses adopt a variety of approaches, including literary studies, film and media studies, social history of ideas, and the study of politics and popular culture.
Our program is known for its rigor. Unlike at universities and Ivy League institutions, faculty rather than graduate students teach our undergraduates in French. Study abroad in France or in another Francophone country is an integral part of our students’ training. Virtually all majors and minors spend one semester abroad (see below).
Often our graduates have chosen to double major, in political science, economics, anthropology, comparative literature, or in the natural sciences; some opt to minor or concentrate in a related field, such as art history or international relations.
We wish to empower our students to:
- Speak, read, and write in French with near-native proficiency.
- Engage the French and Francophone world and achieve cultural literacy.
- Become aware of cultural and linguistic diversity as global citizens who may someday work in the Francophone world.
- Communicate, with logic and empathy, among different perspectives and values especially in cross-cultural contexts.
- Think critically about texts, films, music, and fine arts as objects of inquiry.
- Analyze French and Francophone literatures as sources of human experience.
- Prepare for and pursue graduate studies, if they wish, in a variety of fields.
Haverford’s Institutional Learning Goals are available on the President’s website, at http://hav.to/learninggoals.
Unless they have not previously studied French, all entering students (first-year and transfers) who wish to pursue their study of French must take a placement examination upon entrance to Haverford.
Those students who begin French study the language and cultures in Elementary French (the sequence FREN H001–FREN H002 ). This is a year-long course that must be taken both semesters for the language requirement credit.
At the intermediate level students study the language and cultures non-intensively (the sequence FREN H003–FREN H004). This is also a year-long course, requiring both semesters for credit for the college language requirement. It is open to students who have taken FREN H001–FREN H002 or been placed by departmental examination.FREN H003 is only offered in the fall semester.
The 100-level courses further explore literature and culture through a series of texts and flashpoints in France's history. Students at this level strengthen their skills in French language and expression through grammatical exercises, discussions, presentations, and essays.
Courses at the 200-level are devoted to advanced language training (FREN H212 ), and French and Francophone literatures and civilizations from the beginning to the present day.
Advanced (300-level) courses offer detailed study either of individual authors, genres, and movements or of particular periods, themes, and problems in French and Francophone cultures. The department admits students to advanced courses after satisfactory completion of at least one semester of 200-level courses in French.
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 H101–FREN 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).
The department offers a tailor-made experience for Senior majors along one of three lines:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
French Teacher Certification
The Department of French and Francophone Studies offers a certification program in secondary teacher education. For more information, see the description of the Education Program.
Study abroad in France is an integral part of our departmental training. We expect, among other things, students majoring or minoring in our department to achieve an advanced linguistic and cultural fluency in French. Therefore, we highly recommend that they participate in a study abroad program in France, preferably for one semester during the junior year with one of the programs recommended by the College. Other valuable options do exist, including the Institut d’Avignon program offered by Bryn Mawr College during the summer intersession.
Before going abroad for a semester-long program during junior year, students must have:
- declared their major or minor by the end of sophomore year;
- completed at least one of the 100-level series of French courses or one course at the 200-level during the semester prior to departure.