French and Francophone Studies Major

Overview of Program

The major in French was revised in 2010 and was renamed Major in French and Francophone Cultural Studies, to reflect national trends in language pedagogy in colleges across the nation. The major is composed of courses in language, literature, film, and culture whose objectives are to a) educate students to become global citizens by familiarizing themselves with a non-Anglophone language and culture (specifically French/Francophone b) provide students with competency in a language other than their own, a skill that can help them pursue multiple professional goals ranging from education to business to medicine. In fact, the French major is almost always part of a double major and is usually combined with a major in business (see the International-Language Business program) or with a pre-med curriculum. The major is currently staffed by one split faculty load (French and Italian) and a Fulbright Teaching Assistant. 

Why study French? Take a look at this flier for more information about the language, employment opportunities, and must see locations available for those who speak French!

Students may also choose to focus on French as part of the B.A. in International-Language Business or B.S. in Secondary Education.

Major Requirements

The program consists of courses progressing from the two sequence Beginning French (101/102), to Intermediate French (211/212) to Advanced Composition and Conversation (311/312). Students pursuing a major or minor and those with an advanced level of proficiency can also enroll in one of the 300- and 400-level upper-division courses that allow students to a) develop knowledge of French and Francophone Culture (i.e. Survey of French Literature, French or Francophone Culture and Civilization, French Short Story, French Theater etc.) b) acquire skills in the practical and professional application of the language (The Craft of Translation) c) learn skills necessary to use French in the world of business (Business French) or in the medical professions (Medical French). An additional course, LIT 323 E/F Topics in French and Francophone Cinema is offered as part of the Languages across the Curriculum (LxC) program and is therefore taught in English and open to non-French speaking students. Independent Studies are also offered and are available on an as-needed basis.

Students majoring in French typically complete part of their coursework in France during a semester in an approved program (namely in Paris or Rennes, in partnership with the CIEE).

More information on the French major can be found in the course catalog.

Students majoring in French are also required to complete a senior portfolio prior to graduation.

French Courses Offered

  • Beginning French I & II: Designed to impart a good basic foundation in comprehending, speaking, reading, and writing the French language.  
  • Intermediate French I & II: Designed to give greater scope and depth to the student’s knowledge of the French language and Francophone culture. 
  • French Conversation: Intensive French conversation, emphasizing cross-cultural comparisons and development of self-expression in French
  • French Composition: An intensive course in writing in French, stressing grammar, writing analysis and composition. 
  • French Cultural Heritage: This course aims to develop understanding of the culture, literature and civilization of France. 
  • Survey of French Culture and Civilization: a review of the geography, history, art and other components of the heritage of continental France, from antiquity to the present.
  • Survey of Francophone Culture and Civilization:  a historical view of the cultural contribution and heritage of French-speaking peoples living outside continental France
  • Business French: an overview of the spoken and written language of the French business world. Formalities and conventions of letter writing, banking, import/export, and other commercial transactions. Analysis of terminology from business-related areas such as finance, insurance and international commerce within a contemporary cultural setting
  • Introduction to French Literature: an introduction to the principal literary genres of poetry, novel, short story, essay and drama, through analysis of representative works in the French tradition
  • French-Francophone Politics and Society: The course addresses the historical, social and cultural aspect of France’s imperialistic expansion, with particular emphasis on French relations, past and present, with the African colonies.  
  • Women Writers of the Francophone World: Women’s view of themselves and the world as reflected in their literary creations.
  • French Short Story: principal practitioners of the short story in French, including contemporary authors
  • The French Theater: an inquiry into the various forms of the French theater through a study of significant representative works from different periods.
  • Francophone Literature: an overview of different forms of literary expression throughout the Francophone world from Africa to Haiti to Quebec. Emphasis will be on main literary currents, ideology, political climates, and linguistic traditions in each country. 
  • Literature of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries: This course provides an overview of different literary genres and literary currents through in depth reading and analysis of exemplary texts written in French in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
  • Twentieth Century French Drama: The development of dramatic forms from the Théâtre Libre to the present.
  • The Craft of Translation: a study of the techniques of translation with emphasis on accurate terminology and proper syntax when translating newspaper articles, legal documents, medical records, business records and correspondence, essays, poems, songs, and short fiction.

Contact Information


Marzia Caporale, Ph.D., Professor of French and Italian

To learn more about the French program, contact Dr. Marzia Caporale.

Dr. Marzia Caporale
319 O'Hara Hall


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