Department of French and Romance Philology  


Major and Concentration in French and Francophone Studies

Studies in Paris

Course Descriptions and Directory of Classes

Language Requirement & Placement Exam

Online Resources



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.

Please examine the Majors/Concentrators’ Worksheet (French Language and Literature) for a breakdown of course requirements.

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 UN1202) distributed as follows:

FREN UN3405 Advanced Grammar and Composition

FREN UN3600 France Past and Present: an Introduction to French Civilization

FREN UN3333-UN3334 Major literary works in French before 1700 and after 1700

FREN UN3995 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.

One of the advanced electives may be a senior essay written under the direction of a faculty member affiliated with the French and Francophone Studies committee or teaching at Reid Hall. Majors who choose to write a senior essay at Columbia should register for the senior tutorial course in their adviser's home department. The senior essay is a requirement to be eligible for departmental honors.

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 UN1101, FREN UN1102,FREN UN1105 FREN UN1201, FREN UN1202, FREN UN2206, FREN UN2221, FREN UN2222, FREN UN3131, FREN UN3132, FREN UN3240, FREN UN3498.

For a Concentration in French

Courses: a minimum of 24 points beyond completion of the language requirement (FREN UN1202), including: FREN UN3333-UN3334; FREN UN3405; FREN UN3600; the remaining courses (12 points) to be chosen from the 3000-level offerings in French literature, linguistics, or civilization.

Minor in French for SEAS students

The department offers SEAS students the possibility of a 15-point minor in French with the following requirements:

FREN UN3333 and UN3334: Major literary works since / to 1800 (3/3)

3 additional courses in French at the 3000-level i.e. beyond satisfaction of the language requirement (the four-semesters sequence (1101, 1102, 1201, 1202), or its equivalent)

For further details, please visit the Columbia College web site or the School of General Studies.

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