French and Francophone Studies

Q: What courses should be taken during the first year?
Students should start at the level they place into based on their total number of years of French study (middle school plus high school). (Consult the Language Placement Guidelines here.) Depending on their experience, this can be a language class or a more advanced course in literature or film, for example. Ir is highly advisable for incoming students with French experience to take a French and Francophone Studies course in their first year in order to fully capitalize on knowledge and skills acquired in high school. Students considering majoring or minoring in French and Francophone Studies will want to make sure that they can progress to the 120-level by their sophomore year. During their first or second year students should consider CMLT 130: Studies in the National Imagination (offered Spring semester only), ideally fulfilling this requirement before studying abroad.
Q: What courses should first year students steer clear of?
New students should steer clear of all 200-level courses offered in LL&C (including Comparative Literature). These are courses designed for students with advanced standing in one of the department’s majors. First year students who speak French at a near-native level and have already had extensive literature study may inquire about taking such courses.
Q: If key introductory courses are filled, are there good alternatives?
Students taking Intermediate I or II (FREN 105 or 106) will want to progress through the sequence as quickly as possible so as to reach the 120-level by sophomore year. If students enter Clark with four or more years of previous study in a strong high school program, they should consider taking FREN 124 or 120 (Fall and Spring semester respectively), which will give them credit for the major. If a student has studied French-language literature in high school (AP Literature, International school, studying in francophone country), they should plan to take 131 or 132 (literature course), 137 or 140 (cultural studies course). All majors should progress into the 130-level no later than their third year, ideally earlier, upon completing 120 or 124.
Q. How does Study Abroad fit into the Major?
Linguistic and cultural competences are integral to the French and Francophone Studies major, thus the immersion experience of studying abroad is a required part of the major. A full semester of Study Abroad is preferable, though a shorter, summer option is available. See programs in France (Rennes, Dijon) and Senegal (Dakar) here. Students should talk with program faculty as early as possible so that they can start mapping out their course load to include a semester aboard, especially those who are considering a double major.
Q. Is there an advice for potential French and Francophone Studies minors?
The 100-level courses that fulfill the major requirements also fulfill the minor requirements (FREN 120 and above), including courses taken during Study Abroad. Six courses are needed for a minor; a semester abroad will fulfill half the courses required.
Q. Should students consider majoring in French and Francophone Studies and another discipline?
Students in F&FS often pursue a double major within the social sciences or the humanities (International Development and Social Change, Psychology, Sociology, History, etc.). Because the major requires four related courses, students who are also majoring in another discipline can often count courses that they take for their second major.
Q. How and when does your department assign advisors for declared majors?
Students should see a professor of their choice when declaring a major, typically a professor whom the student knows through their coursework.
Q. Where should students or faculty go for more information?
Students and faculty can contact the section coordinator, Professor Allison Fong, or the Department Chair, Professor Beth Gale, Department Chair.

*Language Placement Guidelines:

*Study Abroad programs page:


Revised: 3/2017