Program Requirements and Opportunities

Published annually, the Course Catalog sets out the requirements of the academic programs--the majors, minors, and concentrations. Each Bryn Mawr student must declare a major before the end of the sophomore year. Students may also declare a minor or a concentration, but neither is required for the A.B. degree. Students must comply with the requirements published in the Course Catalog at the time when they declare the major, minor and/or concentration.

The Course Catalog also sets out the College requirements. Students must comply with the College requirements published at the time they enter Bryn Mawr College.

For more information, visit the Catalog Homepage to view the current content. To view Catalogs from previous academic years, visit the Catalog Archives page.

The French and Francophone Studies program at Bryn Mawr and Haverford is recognized as one of the top undergraduate French programs in the country. The purpose of the major in French and Francophone Studies is to develop sophisticated critical and analytical skills through the analysis of, among other things, French and Francophone literature, history, art, film, material culture, and/or institutions. Transdisciplinary approaches are strongly encouraged in all our courses.

100-level courses introduce students to the study of the French language, French and Francophone literatures and cultures, as well as exposing them to critical materials related to textual and documentary analysis conceived broadly. Courses at the 200-level treat French and Francophone literature and cultures across the historical spectrum and most are topic-based. Advanced (300-level) courses offer in-depth study either of genres and movements or of particular periods, themes and problems in French and Francophone culture. Students are admitted to advanced courses after satisfactory completion of two semesters of 200-level courses in French. Courses at the 200- and the 300-level are either taught in French, or taught in English with an extra hour in French. This extra hour is mandatory for students taking the course as part of their minor or major work plan. 

All students who wish to pursue their study of French, regardless of level, must take a departmental placement examination prior to arriving at Bryn Mawr. Those students who enter beginning French have two options: intensive study of the language in the intensive track (001-002 Intensive Elementary and 005 Intensive Intermediate; or non-intensive study of the language in the non-intensive track (001-002 Elementary; 003-004 Intermediate). Although it is possible to major in French using either of the two tracks, students who are considering doing so and have been placed at the 001 level are strongly encouraged to take the intensive track.

College Foreign Language Requirement

Before the start of the senior year, each student must complete, with a grade of 2.0 or higher, two units of foreign language. Students may fulfill the requirement by completing two sequential semester-long courses in one language, beginning at the level determined by their language placement. A student who is prepared for advanced work may complete the requirement instead with two advanced free-standing semester-long courses in the foreign language(s) in which she is proficient.

Major Requirements 

  • FREN 005 and 102 or 005 and 105 or 101 and 102 or 101 and 105.
  • 200-level sequence: three courses, two of which (maximum) may be taken outside the department, and the Junior Seminar (JSEM). Courses taken outside of the department should contribute to your independent program of study and have to be pre-approved by your major advisor and entered in your major work plan. 
  • 300-level sequence: two courses, one of which may be taken outside the department, pending pre-approval of your major advisor.
  • Senior Experience consists of a thesis development workshop (Senior Seminar = FREN 398) in the fall semester and either a Senior Thesis (FREN 400) or a third 300-level course culminating in the Senior Essay during the spring semester. In either case, the work of the spring semester is capped by an oral defense.
  • All French majors are expected to have acquired fluency in the French language, both written and oral. Students placed at the 200-level by departmental examinations are exempted from the 100-level requirements. Occasionally, students may be admitted to seminars in the graduate school.
  • The Major Writing Intensive requirement may be met by any one of the following courses: FREN 101, 102, JSEM, Senior Essay (in a 300-level. course).

Honors and the Senior Experience 

After taking Senior Conference in semester I of the senior year, students have the choice in semester II of writing a thesis in French (40-50 pp.) under the direction of a faculty member or taking a 300-level course in which they write a Senior Essay in French (15-25 pp.) The first choice offers self-selected students who already have developed a clearly defined subject in semester I the opportunity to pursue independent research and writing of the thesis with a faculty mentor. The second choice allows students, often double majors with another thesis or pre-medical students, the opportunity to produce a substantial, but shorter, piece of work within the structure of their 300-level course in semester II.

Ideally, students intending to write a Senior Thesis define their subject, identify their advisors and start discussing the project with them by the end of the Junior Seminar. Discussion continues in the fall of senior year with the expectation that the student submit a thesis proposal in the context of the Senior Seminar. Depending on the transdisciplinary nature of the subject, the student may be advised to select a second reader in another department. The choice of the language (French or English) is made in consultation with the primary thesis advisor.

Departmental honors are awarded for excellence in the Senior Experience after the oral defense of either the Senior Thesis or the Senior Essay.

Minor Requirements

Requirements for a French minor are FREN 005 and 102 or 005 and 105, or 101 and 102 or 101 and 105; four 200-level or 300-level courses. At least one course must be 300-level. 

Teacher Certification

The Department of French and Francophone Studies offers a certification program in secondary teacher education. For more information, see the description of the Education Program.

A.B./M.A. Program

Particularly well-qualified students may undertake work toward the joint A.B./M.A. degree in French. Such a program may be completed in four, four and a half or five years and is undertaken with the approval of the department, the Special Cases Committee and the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Study Abroad

Students majoring in French may, by a joint recommendation of the deans of the Colleges and the Departments of French, be allowed to spend a semester of their junior year in France and/or a Francophone country under one of the junior-year plans approved by Bryn Mawr.

Students wishing to enroll in a summer program may apply for admission to the Institut d’Avignon, held under the auspices of Bryn Mawr. The Institut is designed for selected undergraduates with a serious interest in French and Francophone literatures and cultures; it will be particularly attractive for those who anticipate professional or graduate-school careers requiring knowledge of the language and cultures of France and French-speaking countries. The curriculum includes general and advanced courses in French language, literature, history, performance and art. The program is open to students of high academic achievement who have completed a course in French at the third-year level or the equivalent.


old library

Contact Us

Department of French and Francophone Studies

Old Library 103
Bryn Mawr College
101 N. Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-2899
Phone: 610-526-5198; Fax: 610-526-7479

Rudy Le Menthéour, Chair
Phone: 610-526-5674

Oliva Cardona, Program Assistant
Phone: 610-526-5198