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

    Majors may choose a concentration in French and Francophone literature or interdisciplinary studies in French. Majors must acquire fluency in the French language, both written and oral. All majors must take FREN 212 or 260, or their equivalent, unless specifically exempted by the department. 

    French and Francophone Literature:

    • FREN 005–102 or 005–105; or FREN 101–102 or 101–105.
    • FREN 212 or 260 (you may not take both).
    • FREN 213 (Approches théoriques/Theory in Practice).
    • Three semesters of 200-level literature courses.
    • Two semesters of 300-level literature courses.
    • The two-semester Senior Experience, comprised of:
      • Senior Conference in the fall semester.
      • In the spring semester, either a senior essay, written in the context of a third 300-level course, or a senior thesis. Both the senior thesis and essay include a final oral defense. (For details, see The Senior Project section.)

    Interdisciplinary Studies in French:

    • FREN 005–102 or FREN 005–105; or FREN 101–102 or FREN 101–105.
    • FREN 212 or 260 (you may not take both).
    • Two 200-level courses within the French departments: e.g., FREN 255, 291, or 299.
    • Two 200-level courses chosen by the student outside the French departments (at Haverford/Bryn Mawr or Junior Year Abroad) that contribute coherently to his/her independent program of study.
    • FREN 325 or 326 (Etudes avancées de civilisation).
    • Two 300-level courses outside the French departments.
    • A thesis of one semester in French or English. (For details, see The Senior Project section.) Students interested in this option must present the rationale and the projected content of their program for departmental approval during their sophomore year; they should have strong records in French and the other subjects involved in their proposed program.
  • Minor

    • FREN 005–102 or 005–105; or FREN 101–102 or 101–105.
    • FREN 212 or 260 (you may not take both).
    • Four courses at the 200 and 300 levels. At least one course must be at the 300 level.

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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