The French and Francophone Studies major focuses on mastery of the language, understanding of French cultures, familiarization with the most important figures of French literature, and critical awareness of the intellectual problems and possibilities involved in the study of other cultures.
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.
- 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.
- The prestige of French art, music, dance, fashion, cuisine, and cinema makes French a culturally important foreign 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 film.
- French literature is one of the richest and most influential of the modern European world, featuring authors such as Rabelais, Montaigne, Racine, Proust, and Marguerite Duras. Several well-known philosophers were also French, including Descartes, Pascal, Rousseau, Voltaire, Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir. These authors' works are far more appreciated when read in the original language.
- There is currently great interest in the literature and culture of many Francophone countries and regions, especially in Africa and the Caribbean. French-language authors from outside France such as Patrick Chamoiseau, Maryse Condé, and Tahar Ben Jelloun now have international followings.
- 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 can open doors to graduate school, important research, and careers in the fields of medicine, the environment, business, engineering, and science and technology. American companies well established in France include: IBM, Microsoft, Mattel, Dow Chemical, Sara Lee, Ford, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Motorola, Steelcase, and Johnson & Johnson.
- The RLL department has specialists in literature, art, film studies and cultural studies; and study-abroad programs in France, Quebec, Senegal and Switzerland offer students the opportunity to improve language skills and cultural understanding in a range of environments.
- FR 235
- A minimum of 30 credits through courses numbered 240 and above. Of these, a minimum of 18 credits must be numbered 300 or above, or equivalent.
- A maximum of two courses may by chosen from French courses taught in English without language prerequisites (French 240, 244, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 402, 453).
List of additional French Courses Taught in English
- A minimum of 15 of the required 30 credits must be taken either in residence or through a study abroad program affiliated with the University of Michigan.
- Majors must take one of the following courses in RLL at the Ann Arbor campus: French 340-379, 391-392, 402, 450-499.
- A maximum of nine credits from French 380, 381, and 414 as well as any of their equivalents accepted as transfer and/or study abroad credit can count toward the major.
If you are interested in pursuing graduate studies in French, you should be aware that most graduate programs expect substantial preparation in literature. For this reason, if you are interested in earning a graduate degree in French, you should give particular consideration to FR 270, 362-369, 378, and 400-level courses in literature and culture.
A minimum of 15 credits must be taken at U-M or a study-abroad program affiliated with U-M.
- Completion of prerequisite FR 235
- 18 credits of French and Francophone Studies courses numbered 240 and above, with a minimum of 9 credits at the 300 level
- One French course taught in English without language prerequisites may be counted toward the minor (French 240, 244, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 402, 453).
- List of additional French Courses Taught in English
- At least of the 9 of the 18 credits must be taken in residence or in a study abroad program affiliated with the University of Michigan.
- Minors must take one of the following courses in RLL at the Ann Arbor Campus: French 340-379, 391-392, 402, 450-499.
- A maximum of nine credits from French 380, 381, and 414 as well as any of their equivalents accepted as transfer and/or study abroad credit can count toward the minor.
A minimum of 9 of the 18 required credits must be taken at U-M or a study-abroad program affiliated with U-M.
For a complete, at-a-glance list of all French and Francophone Studies courses offered in any given semester, see the LSA Bulletin. 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 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.
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 the Teacher Certification Options. To review the specific courses that are required for the various teaching majors, please see the Teaching Major and Minor Requirements.