French Major

A major in French gives students at the University of Pittsburgh the opportunity to study in detail a foreign language and to acquire an education in literary and cultural traditions central to the humanities.

Beyond the Major

Studying French language and literatures of French expression prepares students for graduate study in law and international affairs, advanced work in the humanities, and careers in business, governmental service and teaching. The University is committed to international study and students are encouraged to take advantage of the numerous opportunities to study abroad.

Students can also combine a major in French with a second major in a field such as political science, history, biology or economics. Students who choose to study the grammar, linguistics, rhetoric, literature and film of the Francophone world will acquire an invaluable technical resource and an in-depth knowledge of a diverse and foundational intellectual tradition.

Required Courses

French Majors and Minors Checklist

The French major requires the completion of 31 credits above the intermediate level (FR 0001 through FR 0004 do not count toward the major).

Of these, 16 credits consist of the following required core courses:
FR 0020, 0021, 0027, 0055, 0056, and 0058.

Majors are expected to take one (1) credit of FR 0058, but may take two (2) additional credits of the course as a non-major elective. In addition, students must take 15 credits of electives at the 1000-level, of which 12 credits must be in courses taught in French.

Students should design their program of upper-level courses in consultation with their advisor, so that their course selection may best meet their projected career needs.

FREN 0001, 0002, 0003, 0004 (do not count toward major)  
FREN 0020 French Civilization 3 cr.
FREN 0021 Approaches to French Literature 3 cr.
FREN 0027 French Atlantic 3 cr.
FREN 0055 French Conversation 3 cr.
FREN 0056 Written French I 3 cr.
FREN 0058 Advanced French Conversation 1 cr.
Five 1000-level courses in French (one may be taken in English) 15 cr.

Other Requirements

Grade Requirements:
A minimum QPA of 2.0 is required in those courses that count toward the major.

Satisfactory/Audit Option:
Students may take one (1) course toward the major, in addition to FR 0058, on an S/NC basis.

Writing (W) Requirement:
Students must complete at least one (1) W-course in the major.

Related Area:
A minimum of 12 credits is required in any one (1) Arts and Sciences department chosen in consultation with the major advisor. The completion of an official Arts and Sciences minor or an Arts and Sciences/UCIS certificate also satisfies this requirement.

Honors Major Requirements:
To earn departmental honors in French, students must demonstrate superior performance in departmental courses, and be enrolled in 1000-level French courses, preferably no later than the first term of their junior year.

Selection of honors candidates takes place in the second term of students’ junior year. To qualify for departmental honors, students must complete and present a research paper.

Work on this project customarily takes place over three terms, as follows:

  • During the summer before the senior year, students choose an appropriate topic with their faculty advisor and begin independent preparatory work leading to the writing of a rough draft.
  • In the fall term of their senior year, students continue researching and begin writing their paper. This work must be done in consultation with their faculty advisor.
  • In the spring term, students finish writing the paper and present the thesis before a faculty committee.

Honors will be determined by the quality of the paper and the presentation, as well as the cumulative grades in all departmental courses counting toward the major.

Language Study:
Reading competency in another language is recommended for those students planning to do graduate study in French.

Language-Learning Goals:
Our goal in the French and Italian language programs is to guide you in the development of literacy skills in French through the communicative acts of reading, writing, and creating discourse around texts of all types. Because you might have limited opportunities to speak or hear French outside of class, classroom time is devoted to help develop your competency in these areas. This means that your instructor will speak only French to you during class, and you will be expected to do the same with your instructor and classmates.

Should you need additional explanations or wish to discuss matters not directly related to course content, your instructor will be happy to speak to you in English before or after class and during office hours.