French Studies

In the Department of French and Italian Studies

Unless otherwise specified, all courses are conducted in French.

Achievement Test: Students seeking entrance credit in French and wishing to pursue French at Colby must have taken either the College Board SAT Subject Test in French or the French Department’s online placement test.

The major in French studies promotes the acquisition of superior language skills along with an opportunity to explore, via a set of multi-disciplinary approaches, the richness of French and Francophone cultures. Emphasis is placed on developing skills in critical analysis that enhance appreciation of print and visual texts while also broadening and deepening students’ understanding of values foreign to their own. Advanced competence in French and a heightened reflection about cultural differences offer students a fuller grasp of the world in an era of globalization and the opportunity to secure employment that will allow them to develop further their foreign language skills.

Faculty

Chair, Associate Professor Mouhamédoul Niang (French)
Professors Bénédicte Mauguière and Adrianna Paliyenko; Associate Professors Audrey Brunetaux, Valérie Dionne, and Mouhamédoul Niang; Visiting Assistant Professor Flavien Falantin; Language Assistant Elsa Fèvre


Requirements +

Requirements for the Major in French Studies

A minimum of 10 courses is required to complete the major for students starting at the 200 level. Students who begin their study of French at Colby in the required 125-126-127 sequence need to take nine additional courses, including 128 or 131. Students who begin in either 128 or 131 need to take nine additional courses. Students who enter the major from Colby in Dijon may count FR240D toward the major. All 200-level courses must be taken prior to senior year.

The 10 (or nine) courses completed on campus or abroad must include

  • one course focusing on early modern France, pre-1800 (such as French 232 and select 300- or 400-level courses)
  • one course focusing on the Francophone world (such as French 236, 237, 238, 297, and select 300- or 400-level courses)
  • one course focusing on the acquisition of critical tools and methods and/or the application of theory (such as French 233, 252, and select 300- or 400-level courses)
  • one senior seminar (such as French 493). Majors fulfill the senior seminar (493) requirement by electing the seminar section of a 300-level course, either in the fall or spring of their senior year, with supplementary work authorized by the instructor.

One course conducted in English in a department such as art, government, or history, in which the principal focus is France or Francophone countries, may be counted toward the major; it must be approved in advance by the advisor in the major or department chair.

Majors must take at least one course in the department each semester (that cannot be an independent study).

For students returning from foreign study, these courses must be numbered 300 or higher. 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.

An independent study cannot replace the requirement for majors to take a course in the department each semester.

Honors in French

French studies majors with a 3.5 average or higher in the major may apply to do a senior honors thesis. Grades in all French courses taken in the major, either on campus or abroad (whether a Colby or a non-Colby program), will be included in determining the average.

Formal application must be received by April 30 (in the spring of the junior year) or Sept. 7 (in the fall of the senior year).

Students who successfully complete the honors thesis, including the oral defense, will graduate with “Honors in French.”

Requirements for the Minor

Requirements for Minor in French and Francophone Studies:

The addition of a French and Francophone Studies minor creates the opportunity for students to continue their course of study beyond the required language sequence (FR125, FR126, FR127). The minor in French and Francophone Studies promotes the acquisition of superior language skills along with an opportunity to explore the richness of French and Francophone cultures via a set of multidisciplinary approaches.

Minor Requirements

A minimum of six courses is required to complete the minor for students starting at the 200 level. Students who begin their study of French at Colby in the required 125-126-127 sequence need to take five additional courses, including 128 or 131. Students who begin in either 128 or 131 need to take five additional courses. Students who enter the minor from Colby in Dijon may count FR240D toward the minor.

An independent study cannot take the place of a course selected to fulfill requirements for the minor.

Up to two courses from study abroad in a French-speaking country may be transferred toward the minor.

Five courses, after the completion of the language sequence (FR125-126-127):

  • FR128 or FR131
  • Two courses at the 200 level: FR 231, FR2XX (French or Francophone)
  • One course at the 300 level: FR3XX (French or Francophone)
  • Elective at the 200 or 300 level (in French or English*): an additional course completed on campus and focused on a field of French and Francophone culture at an advanced level.

Six courses, beginning at the 200 level:

  • FR231
  • FR2XX: one ADDITIONAL course at the 200 level (French or Francophone)
  • FR3XX: 3 courses at the 300 level (French or Francophone)
  • Elective at the 200 or 300 level (in French or English*): an additional course completed on campus and focused on a field of French and Francophone culture at an advanced level.

*Elective in English:

Students minoring in French and Francophone studies may select a course taught in English with a significant focus on France and/or the Francophone world. This course can be completed in history, art, cinema studies, African-American studies, or global studies, among other departments/programs. It must be approved in advance by the designated advisor in the department or the chair.

Overview of coursework for minor in French and Francophone studies:

  • FR128 builds reading skills and broadens cultural background with a literary and media component. Students, who complete this course, will have a good foundation for more advanced analysis of various print and visual texts in addition to stronger oral and written skills.
  • FR131 is a culture-based course with a strong oral and compositional component that fosters students’ abilities to debate and write about major issues. By completing this course, students will be able to transition to any of our 200-level courses with stronger language skills.
  • FR231 is an advanced grammar and composition course that all our minors and majors must complete. By requiring this course for the minor, we maintain a key component of our overall curriculum focused on the acquisition of advanced skills in oral and written French.
  • Additional course at the 200 level: our course offerings at the 200 level include: the history of French and Francophone culture, advanced skills in critical and cultural analysis, film studies, theater, environmental studies, and hands-on learning.
  • Coursework at the 300 level: our course offerings at the 300 level are principally cross-disciplinary and treat a broad range of topics on the French-speaking world.
  • Elective at the 200 or 300 level (in French or English): an additional course completed on campus and focused on a field of French and Francophone culture at an advanced level will allow our minors to develop interest in a particular area they have encountered in previous coursework or explore a new area by electing a course offering in our department or another department at the College.