Courses of Study

Departments and Programs

View All Departments and Programs

Majors and Minors

View All Majors and Minors


In the Department of French and Italian.

Unless otherwise specified, all courses are conducted in French.

Achievement Test: If a student offers a foreign language for entrance credit and wishes to continue it in college, that student must either have taken the College Board SAT Subject test in the language or take the placement test during orientation.

The major in French studies promotes the acquisition of superior language skills while offering an opportunity to explore the richness of French and Francophone literatures and cultures. Emphasis is placed on developing the critical and analytical skills that enhance the appreciation of various forms of cultural production and on broadening and deepening students’ understanding of values foreign to their own.


Requirements for the Major in French Studies

Students must successfully complete a minimum of 10 courses in French, beginning at the 200 level, including French 231, 493, and two courses selected from 232, 233, 236, 238, 243, and 252. Among the courses at the 200 or 300 level selected for the major, either in the department or abroad, students are required to complete one course focused on Early Modern France and one course focused on the Francophone world. One course conducted in English in such departments as art, government, and history, in which the principal focus is France or Francophone countries, may be counted toward the major; it must be approved in advance. Majors must take at least one course in the department each semester. For students returning from foreign study, these courses must be numbered 300 or higher. Potential majors, and especially students beginning their French studies at the 100 level, should consult with the department chair during the first year to determine the appropriate sequence. Majors are required to spend at least one semester studying in a French-speaking country and are strongly encouraged to spend a full academic year. Three semester courses of transfer credit may be counted toward the major for a semester of study away from Colby, a maximum of five for a year.

The point scale for retention of the major is based on all French courses numbered above 127. No major requirement may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

Honors in French

Majors may apply to write an honors thesis, which counts as one of the 10 courses required for the major. Formal application must be received no later than September 10 of the student’s senior year and preferably by April 10 in the spring of the junior year. Students who successfully complete the honors thesis, including the oral defense, will graduate “With Honors in French.”




Colby College reserves the right in its sole judgement to make changes of any nature in its program, calendar, academic schedule, fees, deposits, or any other matters in this catalogue.