Programs: Majors & Minor

Courses in the French Department have a twofold objective: to perfect fluency in the written and spoken language, and to develop an understanding and appreciation of the literature and culture of France and French-speaking countries.

Placement in Courses and the Language Requirement

New students who have already given evidence of advanced training in French (Advanced Placement Examination with a score of 4 or 5; CEEB examinations with a score of 781 or higher) are automatically exempt from the language requirement. All other new students who intend to satisfy their requirement in French will, depending upon their preparation, be placed immediately in the appropriate language course or be asked to take a placement test offered at the start of each semester. (Spring 2015, Friday, January 16, 10:00am - 12:00pm in 405 Milbank). Those receiving a sufficiently high grade fulfill the requirement. The others may do so by completing French BC 1204. For additional information about language courses, students should consult the department chair.

Students who have satisfied the language requirement may immediately enroll in advanced language courses (BC3006 - 3019) or literature and culture courses (BC 3021, BC 3022, BC 3023, BC 3024).

The Major in French

There are three majors available to prospective students in the department:

Language and Literature:

This program emphasizes the language, culture, and literature of France and other French-speaking countries.

Translation and Literature:

This program teaches students to translate from French into English and English into French, within a context of French culture and literature.

French and Francophone Studies:

This program emphasizes the historical and contemporary interrelationship between France and the French-speaking world in their social, literary, and cultural aspects.

Eleven courses are required for each specific major:

Language and Literature

FRE BC 3021 or BC 3023 and BC 3022 or BC 3024
Three language courses chosen from FRE BC 3006 - 3019
Two literature courses chosen from BC 3028 - 3036
Three courses chosen from 3037 - 3080
One-term Senior Thesis BC 3091

Translation and Literature

FRE BC 3021 or BC 3023 and BC 3022 or 3024
Four language courses chosen from FRE BC 3006 - 3019
Four literature courses chosen from FRE BC 3028 - 3080
One-term Senior Thesis BC 3091

French and Francophone Studies

FRE V 3420 and FRE V 3421
Two language courses chosen from FRE BC 3006 - BC 3019
Four courses selected from FRE BC 3028 - 3080 (Of which at least two must come from 3069-3075.)
Two courses selected from other departments at BC or CU pertaining to the major and chosen in consultation with the adviser
One-term Senior Thesis BC 3091

The student is expected to declare her option by the end of the junior year. Programs may include additional courses in French literature, culture, and language, or in other subjects which may vary with the interest of the student. Certain courses in the French and Romance Philology Department at Columbia University may be substituted with the approval of the Chair. A student who elects French as part of a combined double or interdisciplinary major will establish her individualized program with the departments concerned. All combined or interdisciplinary majors require approval from the Committee on Petitions and Academic Standing.

In March 2010, a group of senior French majors, accompanied by Professor Laurie Postlewate, enjoyed a five-day excursion to Paris, sponsored by the Renée Geen Foundation. Their activities included three theater outings, three museum visits, a cocktail reception with the Barnard Paris Alumnae Association at Reid Hall, and numerous promenades around the beautiful city of lights. The trip together gave Barnard's graduating French majors the opportunity to share some memorable moments and it was a wonderful experience for all.

» see photos of the trip

The Minor in French

Seven courses are required for the minor:
FRE BC 3021 or BC 3023, and BC 3022 or BC 3024, or FRE V3420 and V3421
Two language courses chosen from FRE BC 3006-BC 3019
Three literature and culture courses chosen from FRE BC 3028 - BC 3080