The Bi-College (Bi-Co) French and Francophone Studies program at Haverford and Bryn Mawr is recognized as one of the top undergraduate French programs in the country. The major in French 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 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 economic 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 have two options. They may study the language:
- In the intensive sections (the sequence FREN 001IN–002IN of Intensive Elementary French, only at Bryn Mawr); or
- In the non-intensive sections (the sequence FREN 001–002 of Non-Intensive Elementary French, on both campuses).
At the intermediate level students also have the choice to study the language non-intensively (the sequence FREN 003–004), or intensively (FREN 005):
- FREN 003–004 (Non-Intensive Intermediate French) is a year-long course, requiring both semesters for credit. It is open to students who have taken FREN 001–002 or been placed by departmental examination.
- FREN 005 (Intensive Intermediate French):
Is open only to students who have been specially placed by the departmental placement exam or to students who have taken the year-long Intensive Elementary course (at Bryn Mawr only).
Requires its graduates to take FREN H102 (Introduction à l’analyse littéraire et culturelle II), or FREN H105 (Directions de la France contemporaine) in semester II for credit.
- FREN 003 and FREN 005 are only offered in the fall semester.
Although it is possible to minor or major in French using either of the two sequences, we encourage students placed at the 001 level who are considering doing so to take the intensive option.
The 100-level courses introduce students to the study of French and Francophone literatures and cultures, and give special attention to the speaking and writing of French.
Courses at the 200-level are devoted to advanced language training (FREN H212 and FREN 260; you may not take both) 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. For both options, the departments admit students to advanced courses after satisfactory completion of two semesters of 200-level courses in French.
The Department of French and Francophone Studies also cooperates with the departments of Italian (only at Bryn Mawr) and Spanish in the Romance Languages Major at Bryn Mawr.
Starting with the class of 2023
Majors must acquire fluency in the French language, both written and oral. Taking 212 or 260, or their equivalent when studying abroad, could help them to do so.
- FREN 005–102 or 005–105; or FREN 101–102 or 101–105 (2 credits)
- 200-level sequence: three courses, two of which (maximum) may be taken outside the department, and the Junior Seminar (JSEM). Courses taken outside the department should contribute to your independent program of study and have to be preapproved by your major advisor and entered in your major work plan. JSEM is offered each semester (4 credits)
- 300-level sequence: two courses, one of which may be taken outside the department, pending pre-approval of your major advisor (2 credits)
- Senior Experience: it consists of a thesis development workshop (Senior Seminar = FREN H398) in the fall semester and either a Senior Thesis (FREN H399) or a third 300-level course culminating in the Senior Essay during the spring semester. In either case, the work of the spring semester is capped by an oral defense (for details see The Senior Project section; 2 credits).
After taking Senior Conference in semester I of the senior year, students have the choice in semester II of writing a thesis in French (40-50 pp.) under the direction of a faculty member or taking a 300-level course in which they write a Senior Essay in French (15-25 pp.) The first choice offers self-selected students who already have developed a clearly defined subject in semester I the opportunity to pursue independent research and writing of the thesis with a faculty advisor. The second choice allows students, often double majors with another thesis, the opportunity to produce a substantial, but shorter, piece of work within the structure of their 300-level course in semester II.
Ideally, students willing to write a Senior Thesis define their subject, identify their advisors and start discussing the project with them by the end of the Junior Seminar. Discussion continues in the fall of senior year with the expectation that the student submit a thesis proposal in the context of the Senior Seminar. Depending on the transdisciplinary nature of the subject, the student may be advised to select a second reader in another department. The choice of the language (French or English) is made in consultation with the primary thesis advisor.
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.
- FREN 005–102 or 005–105; or FREN 101–102 or 101–105 (2 credits).
- Four courses at the 200 and 300 levels. At least one course must be at the 300 level (4 credits).
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.
French A.B./M.A. Program
Particularly well-qualified students may undertake work toward the joint A.B./M.A. degree in French. Students may complete such a program in four or five years and undertake it with the approval of the department and of the dean of Bryn Mawr’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
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 the 100-level series of French courses or one course at the 200-level during the semester prior to departure.