French and Francophone Studies Major | French and Francophone Studies Minor

Study Abroad

A French and Francophone studies major requires a study away experience in a French-speaking country.  The department of French and Francophone Studies recommends study abroad as well for those doing a French minor. With prior approval from the department chair, up to two courses from a semester study away program may be counted toward the French major or minor if they are at the level of courses taken on campus toward a French major or minor. All additional courses necessary to meet departmental graduation requirements must be taken on campus. Before studying abroad students should usually have completed a French course at the 300 level.

Because study abroad programs vary widely in quality, focus and content, it is imperative that students majoring or minoring in French and Francophone Studies consult with faculty in the department as they choose their program. The following programs are recommended by the department for majors and minors: Center for University Programs Abroad (CUPA); Internships in Francophone Europe (IFE) in Paris, Strasbourg, and Bruxelles; Institute for the International Education of Students (IES) in Nantes, France; and Minnesota Studies in Development (University of Minnesota) in Senegal.  For a list of all programs, consult with the Center for Study Away.

The French House

The Macalester French House is the center of the Department of French and Francophone Studies' social and cultural activities. Students have the opportunity to live in the French House where residents benefit from daily conversation and interaction with native French-speaking graduate assistants and other students of French (both to improve oral proficiency in French and to develop increased understanding of culture and society in France and other French-speaking countries). The residents of the French House commit to speak only French while in the house, and to participate in department activities.

Placement Tests

Students can satisfy the Macalester College language requirement in French in one of the following ways: 1) A score of 4-5 on the Advanced Placement Test in French language or literature offered through high schools; 2) A score of 5-6-7 on the International Baccalaureate French B exam (Higher level); 3) Successful completion of Macalester's French 204.

Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate

A score of 4-5 on an AP exam, or a score of 5-6-7 on the IB Higher level gives four credits toward graduation, but not toward the French major or minor program. Credits received through AP or IB may not be used to meet the general distribution requirement.

General Distribution Requirement

All courses in the department of French and Francophone Studies count toward the general distribution requirement in humanities except elementary and intermediate language courses, FREN 321 (fine arts general distribution) and FREN 333 (general distribution).

General Education Requirements

Courses that meet the general education requirements in writing, quantitative thinking, internationalism and US identities and differences will be posted on the Registrar's web page in advance of registration for each semester.

Additional information on the general distribution requirement and the general education requirements can be found in the graduation requirements section of this catalog.

Honors Program

The department of French and Francophone Studies participates in the honors program. Eligibility requirements, application procedures and specific project expectations for the department are available from either the department office or the Academic Programs and Advising Office.

Policy on French Language Grades

In order to be accepted into the next French language course in the sequence, a student must have received a grade of C- or higher in the previous course.


FREN 194 , FREN 294 , FREN 394 , FREN 494  

Advanced and topics courses are offered by faculty at their own initiative or in response to student requests. In recent years, these courses have included "Contemporary Art in France and Francophone Countries"; "What Happened In France From The Renaissance To The XVIIth Century? Did Anybody Read, Write or Live Well"; "How to Start a Revolution"; "Science Fiction and Technology in French Literature and Film"; "Voix du Nord: Quebec et les autres"; "Ecolos avant l'heure? Environmentalism, Industrialization and Nature in 19th Century French Literature and Art;" "Voices of the Francophone Mediterranean"; and "French Cultural Studies: Literature and Cinema of Immigration."

During their first semester all Macalester first-year students take one course designated as a First-Year Course. First-year courses taught by faculty in the Department of French and Francophone Studies in recent years have included: "Food in French and Francophone Cultures: the Local and the Global"; "La Belle Epoque? The Best and the Worst of France, 1880-1914"; and "Loving and Loathing our Posthuman Future: Science Fiction and Technology in French Film and Literature."

Independent Study

The department offers independent study options in the form of tutorials, independent projects, internships, preceptorships and Honors independent projects. For more information contact the department and review the Curriculum section of the catalog.

French and Francophone Studies Major

Major Requirements

A major in French consists of a minimum of nine courses beyond FREN 204 to include: a) FREN 306 and one other 300-level bridge course (FREN 305, FREN 310, FREN 311, FREN 320, FREN 323, FREN 370, or an equivalent FREN 394); b) six advanced courses (300- and 400- level), including one upper-level course on a period preceding the 20th century (FREN 371, FREN 380, FREN 445, FREN 446, FREN 451, FREN 452, or an equivalent relevant topics course); one course on a francophone region (FREN 322, FREN 330, FREN 336, FREN 340, FREN 341, FREN 344, FREN 345, FREN 350, FREN 403, or an equivalent relevant topics course); one French or Francophone culture course: (FREN 320, FREN 321, FREN 323, FREN 332, FREN 340, FREN 342, FREN 378, FREN 475, or an equivalent relevant topics course); c) the senior capstone requirement; d) an appropriate study abroad experience as approved by the department. The department will support an alternative immersive experience that will support their study of language and culture for French majors unable to study away.

Senior Assessment

During the senior year, majors will be required to demonstrate proficiency in language, literature and culture by successfully completing a series of evaluations as outlined in departmental materials. These evaluations form part of the senior capstone requirement.

French and Francophone Studies Minor

Minor Requirements

A minor in French consists of five courses beyond FREN 204 to include at least two courses at the 300 level and three additional French courses at the 300-400 levels. The department also strongly recommends that minors take FREN 306, as it is required for all 400-level topics courses.