The Major and Concentration in French Language and Literature
The undergraduate major in French is intended to give students an in-depth familiarity with the language, culture, and literature of France and the French-speaking world. It provides an opportunity to continue the study of the literary and cultural issues first discussed in the two principal Core courses, Literature Humanities and Contemporary Civilization, with a greater attention to historical context and textual detail since most works are read and discussed in the original French.
After completion of the four-semester language requirement students take advanced grammar and composition courses to refine their skills in reading, speaking and writing French. They also undertake a comprehensive overview of the development of French literature from the Middle Ages to the present day in a two-semester survey course, and France Past and Present, an introduction to major aspects of French history. A wide choice of advanced elective courses allows students to explore a variety of intellectual interests, to perfect their critical reading skills, and to master the techniques of close reading.
The culmination of the undergraduate experience is the one-semester senior seminar, in which students have an opportunity to collectively create their own syllabus. The optional senior essay, written under the guidance of a faculty member at Columbia or during a student’s semester abroad, provides an initiation to scholarly research. The senior essay is a requirement to be eligible for departmental honors.
Because a direct experience of contemporary French society is an essential part of the program, students are strongly encouraged to spend either a semester or a year at Reid Hall-Columbia University in Paris, where they can take courses that will be credited toward the French major as well as to other majors including History or Art History. Qualified students may also take courses directly in the French university system.
Students interested in French history and civilization, and in French literature and culture throughout the world, should consider the major in French and Francophone Studies, also administered by the French Department.
In Fulfillment of the Language Requirement
Students with no previous knowledge of French can fulfill the language requirement by taking the four-semester sequence of introductory and intermediate courses, FREN W1101, FREN W1102, W1201, and W1202 at Columbia. Although Columbia students may take elementary courses (BC1001, BC1102 and BC1002) as well as Intermediate French I (BC1203) at Barnard College, they must take the final course of the sequence, W1202, at Columbia. BC 1204 (Intermediate French II) does not fulfill the Columbia College and GS language requirement.
Entering students who have studied French previously are placed, or exempted, on the basis of their College Board Achievement or Advanced Placement scores, or their scores on the placement test administered by the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs, 403 Lerner, at the beginning of every fall semester or at any other time during the academic year at the French Department. An SAT score of 780 or a score of 4 on the AP exam satisfy the language requirement.
For a Major in French
Program of study: To be planned before the end of the sophomore year with the director of undergraduate studies.
Courses: a minimum of 33 points beyond completion of the language requirement (FREN W1202) distributed as follows:
FREN W3405 Advanced Grammar and Composition
FREN W3600 France Past and Present: an Introduction to French Civilization
FREN W3333-W3334 Major literary works in French before 1700 and after 1700
FREN W3995 Senior Seminar
One upper-level course on literature before 1800
One course in the area of Francophone literature or culture, i.e. bearing on practices of French outside of France or on the internal cultural diversity of France
The remaining courses (12 points) are to be chosen from 3000-level offerings in French literature, linguistics, or civilization.
BC3006 is not applicable to either the French Major or the Concentration. Other French Barnard College courses may be taken with the approval of the director of undergraduate studies. The following Columbia French courses are not applicable to the French major (or concentration, outlined below): FREN W1101, FREN W1102,FREN W1105 FREN W1201, FREN W1202, FREN W1206, FREN W1221, FREN W1222, FREN W3131, FREN W3132, FREN W3240
For a Concentration in French
Courses: a minimum of 27 points beyond completion of the language requirement (FREN W1202), including: FREN W3333-W3334; FREN W3405; FREN W3600; the remaining courses (15 points) to be chosen from the 3000-level offerings in French literature, linguistics, or civilization.
For further details, please visit the Columbia College web site or the School of General Studies.