Students explore the history and contemporary applications of concepts such as citizenship, national unity, secularism, and human rights, and explore central issues including universalism/relativism, tradition/modernity, and religion/state as they have developed in France and its colonies/former colonies since the 17th century. They take a series of required courses that includes Third Year Grammar and Composition, essential to achieving proficiency in French language, Introduction to French and Francophone Studies I and II, a course on francophone or postcolonial French literature and culture (French language literature from Africa, the Caribbean, Canada, or that bears on the history and legacies of colonialism) and the senior seminar-- the culmination of the undergraduate experience..

Having completed these courses they take electives that include courses in related departments/programs, e.g. history, anthropology, political science, women's studies, human rights, art history, to fulfill the interdisciplinary portion of the major. To ensure methodological focus, these courses should be taken within a single field (e.g. history, music, anthropology, or political science), or in relation to a single issue or world region, e.g. West Africa.

The optional senior essay, written under the guidance of a faculty member at Columbia or during a student’s semester abroad, provides an initiation to scholarly research. It is a requirement to be eligible for departmental honors.

Because a direct experience of contemporary French society is an essential part of the program, students are strongly encouraged to spend either a semester or a year at Reid Hall-Columbia University in Paris, where they can take courses that will be credited toward the French major as well as to other majors including Political Sciences, History or Art History. Qualified students may also take courses directly in the French university system.

Please examine the Majors/Concentrators’ Worksheet (French & Francophone Studies) for a breakdown of course requirements. 

The department offers SEAS students the possibility of a 15-point minor in French & Francophone Studies with the following requirements:

FREN UN3420 Introduction to French and Francophone Studies, I

FREN UN3421 Introduction to French and Francophone Studies, II

3 additional upper-level courses in French and francophone literature, culture, linguistics

For further details, please visit the Columbia College web site or the School of General Studies.