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The major in French and Francophone Studies allows students to engage in intensive study of the French language, and the literatures, cultures and the arts of the French-speaking world, including parts of Africa, North America, the Caribbean, and the Asia-Pacific region. The program is dedicated to preparing students for spending time in a Francophone country and to supporting engagement with a foreign culture.
If you are majoring in another field, the French and Francophone Studies minor offers you an opportunity to complement the knowledge gained in your principal field, while adding a cultural and linguistic dimension to your academic experience.
French Honors major. For information on French Honors requirements, please proceed to the French Honors page.
Why Study French?
- French is one of the world's major international languages: it is spoken by over 200 million people in 43 countries, on five continents. Knowing French increases your chances of communicating in a non-English-speaking country and makes you a global citizen. French also has roots and is still spoken in the United States.
- The RLL department has specialists in literature, linguistics, art, film studies and cultural studies; and study-abroad programs in France, Quebec, Senegal, Morocco and Switzerland offer students the opportunity to improve language skills and cultural understanding in a range of environments.
- To study French means to travel not just in space but in time. French-language culture is connected to major developments in world history: the Crusading movements and knights of the middle ages, the French and Haitian Revolutions, student rebellion in the 1960s, AIDS activism, decolonization from Vietnam to Algeria, twenty-first-century climate accords, and more.
- Having access to the vast diversity of the French-speaking world and its long history allows you to expand your thinking on questions of race, religion, gender, sexuality, disability, neurodiversity and social justice.
- French-language literature is one of the richest and most influential of the modern world, featuring authors and philosophers who have defined movements such as the Enlightenment, Surrealism, Negritude, Feminism, Créolité and Critical Theory, among many others. These writers' works are far better appreciated when read in the original language.
- France is one of the most prolific producers of international films. When you understand French, you don't have to rely on subtitles to enjoy a French-language film.
- Approximately 45% of English vocabulary comes from French. As you learn French, you also enhance your grammar and vocabulary skills in English.
- A knowledge of French opens doors to graduate school, important research, and careers in the fields of medicine, the environment, business, engineering, art, history, and science and technology.
For a list of the French and Francophone Studies courses offered in recent semesters, visit the LSA Undergraduate Course Catalog. For information on currently offered French and Francophone Studies courses, visit the LSA Course Guide.
Course Numbering System
In most LSA departments, courses that introduce the methods and basic concepts of the discipline are numbered at the 100 or 200 level; the 300 level consists of advanced undergraduate courses; and the 400 level has more advanced courses that are suitable for both undergraduates near the end of their major and for beginning graduate students.
In language departments, however, introductory courses in literature and culture, and even third-year language courses, are often numbered at the 300 level simply because they have second-year language courses as a prerequisite. The numbering system in French and Francophone Studies is more like that of non-language departments in the College. For example:
- 235-299 are introductory courses in language, culture, and literature, and are appropriate for first- and second-year students
- 300-level courses are upper-division undergraduate offerings, and are not open to graduate students
- 400-level courses are intended for advanced undergraduates and graduate students together.
Non-UM Study Abroad and Domestic Transfer Credit
Review and follow this PDF checklist which outlines the proposal process for non-UM study abroad and domestic transfer credit.
Please note: students are required to have coursework pre-evaluated by an RLL faculty advisor prior to enrolling or going abroad; syllabi and specific course descriptions are needed. A final evaluation of coursework is required upon completion of the course or upon return from abroad. Specific courses and credits must appear on the transcript; syllabi and completed coursework are needed.
For information regarding earning credit for UM/CGIS study abroad programs, please reference the RLL Study Abroad page page.
Students who are interested in learning more about pursuing Teacher Education should contact Dr. Maria Coolican. For further information about teacher certification options in the School of Education, please review their Educator Preparation Program website. To review the specific courses that are required for the various teaching majors, please see the Teaching Major and Minor Requirements.