French Studies

Department Affiliation: Language and Culture

French is the most widely spoken European language outside of English. It remains the language of culture, but also of diplomacy and business, particularly in the European Community, but also in Africa and the Middle East.

The department offers two majors (French Studies, and French Studies with International Emphasis) as well as a minor in French Studies. Any of these can be combined with majors or minors in other fields, and, keeping with college recommendations, students are encouraged to do so. Students are also encouraged to spend a Junior semester abroad - in France or other Francophone country- which will transfer as many as 12 units.

The French programs lead to proficiency in the four basic language skills speaking, listening, reading and writing; culture is presented at every step of the learning process.

Majors must take at least 15 units in the department, and minors must take at least 12 units in the department.

French Studies Prerequisites



FRE 1 (4 units) & FRE 2 (4 units)
Language Fulfillment Alternative

(see description under Academic Information)


French Studies Core Courses

Core Courses required for Majors and Minors (15 units)

FRE 3 & 4

Intermediate French


FRE 101

Writing Lab


FRE 112

History & Civilization of France


CUL 107

Theory & Practice of Culture





French Studies Major

The focus of this program is on language fluency, literature, and the culture of France and the Francophone world.


Same Prerequisites



Same Core Courses





Additional upper division courses





FRE 115

Translation and Interpretation


FRE 126

Modern Classics


FRE 128

Twentieth Century Literary Trends


FRE 191

Senior Thesis


Plus 2 additional upper division courses




Total required units:


French Studies with International Emphasis

This major is designed for students interested in pursuing careers related to world affairs from a global perspective, such as journalism, communication, diplomacy, the world of export/import and travel.

Same Prerequisites


Same Core Courses


Additional upper division courses required





FRE 116

Contemporary Culture and Politics


FRE 126

Modern Classics


HIS 003

History of the World


POL 131

International Relations


FRE 190A






Plus 2 additional upper division courses



Total required units:


French Studies Minor

This program is intended for students who wish to acquire proficiency in the language and culture of France. It is especially designed to be an easy add-on to majors and minors in other fields.

Same Prerequisites


Same Core Courses


Plus 1 additional upper division courses.


Total required units:


French Courses

FRE 1 Elementary French I (4)

Develops fundamental skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Emphasis on speaking and writing. GS-IV

FRE 2 Elementary French II (4)

Further improves all four language skills stressing reading and writing, and vocabulary building. GS-IV

FRE 3 Intermediate French III (3)

Emphasis on conversation and oral comprehension. Emphasis on vocabulary building and the acquisition of idiomatic speech patterns. GS-IV

FRE 4 Intermediate French IV (3)

Introduction to French and Francophone literature. A variety of literary texts will be read and discussed to improve reading and oral communication. GS-IV,VI

FRE 33A/B French Culture and Civilization (3,3)

A comprehensive approach, both historical and thematic, to a better understanding of French culture today. Highlights of major social and historical developments and of literary and artistic movements. These courses are given in English only through the Weekend College. GS-IV

FRE 101 French Writing Lab (3)

Intensive training in writing, with emphasis on vocabulary, idiom, structural patterns and style. Exercises in rhetoric, in creative and other forms of writing.

FRE 112 History and Civilization of France (3)

This course will cover the major events and cultural movements of the history and civilization of France, including the Age of Cathedrals, the French Renaissance, the glory of Versailles, and the French Revolution.

FRE 114 The Belle Epoque: Before and After (3)

This post Revolutionary period starts with Napoleon and ends with the second World War. From Romanticism and Surrealism in literature, from Impressionism to Cubism in painting, it is the vibrant evolution of modern France.

FRE 115 Translation and Interpretation (3)

An introduction to the theory and the mechanics for written translation and basic oral interpretation. Prerequisite: basic fluency in both languages.

FRE 116 Contemporary Culture and Politics (3)

The economic recovery of France under the leadership of Charles de Gaulle, its place and role in the European Community, as well as the new trends in art, philosophy, literature and films are some of the topics included in this course.

FRE 120 Introduction to Francophone Literature (3)

A survey of the very rich Francophone literature from all parts of the globe.

FRE 124 Literary Masterpieces (3)

Poetry, tragedies, comedies and philosophical essays, from the Middle Ages to the end of the eighteenth century: the best of French literature before the Revolution.

FRE 126 Modern Classics (3)

The nineteenth century has been called the Golden Age of French literature and includes Balzac, Victor Hugo, Beaudelaire, Flaubert, Emile Zola and many other remarkable writers.

FRE 128 Twentieth Century Literary Trends (3)

From the Surrealists to the Roman Nouveau, this course will focus on some of the great French writers of this century, with special emphasis on Albert Camus, André Malraux, Marcel Pagnol, and Natalie Sarraute. Selected texts from various Francophone cultures will be evaluated in terms of cultural variances and their impact on mainstream French literature. GS-VI

FRE 148 French Cinema (3)

French Cinema, from its early days and following its transformation through the 20th century, from Films Noirs to Nouvelle Vague and to the New French Cinema.

FRE 50/150 Times, People and Themes (3)

This course will foster the exploration of special interest areas, such as  Francophone Cinema, French Cuisine, or  French Philosophers in the 20th. century. Course content will be defined an announced when the course is offered. May be repeated for credit.

FRE 190A/B Internship (3, 3)

Internship/cooperative experience programs in areas related to French culture or international business.

FRE 191 Senior Thesis (3)

A two-semester directed research project required for majors under the direction of a department faculty member. The topic of the thesis must be approved by the department chairperson. Students must enroll in their thesis course no later than the first semester of their senior year.

FRE 194 Study/Travel (1-6)

Pre-travel lectures and readings, as well as guided tours in the country, serve as basis for a study/travel program, with each participant developing a project highlighting the travel experiences.

FRE 196H Senior Honors Thesis (3)

Open only to students admitted to the Honors Program.

FRE 198AB Directed Readings (3,3)

Directed readings selected from authors representative of significant literary periods.

FRE 199AB Independent Studies (1-3,1-3)

Directed research. For qualified students with the approval of the department.