The Francophone Studies Major and Minor


The Francophone Studies Program at Bowdoin prepares its students:

  • to communicate effectively in French
  • to be excellent listeners, speakers, readers and writers
  • to be knowledgeable about the oral, literary and cultural traditions of the French-speaking world
  • to be well versed in the critical concepts and research methods necessary for their analysis
  • to be familiar with the intellectual movements, histories and social structures of the French-speaking world
  • to be insightful and confident analysts of all kinds of texts and images
  • to contribute and thrive in a global world

The Francophone Studies Major

Nine courses higher than Francophone Studies 22041, including:

  • Francophone Studies 24072 or 24082
  • Francophone Studies 24092
  • Francophone Studies 24102
  • three courses at the advanced level (3000–3999) 
    • Francophone Studies 3299, if offered
    • At least two advanced courses must be taken at Bowdoin.

The Francophone Studies Minor

  • at least four Bowdoin courses in one language numbered higher than 2204
  • One must be an advanced course (3000–3999).
  • Courses taken abroad do not satisfy the requirements for these minors.

The Romance Languages and Literatures Major

Nine courses higher than 22043. Students must fulfill the requirements below from two different languages.

Francophone studies requirements:

  • One of Francophone Studies 2407 or 24082
  • One of Francophone Studies 2409 or 24102

Hispanic studies requirements:

  • Hispanic Studies 24092
  • Hispanic Studies 24102

Italian studies requirements:

  • Italian Studies 23052
  • Italian Studies 24082

For any of the above combinations, three additional courses at the advanced level (3000–3999) are required, at least two of which must be taken at Bowdoin. These courses may be taken in either or both languages. If one of the languages is Italian, at least one advanced-level course (numbered 3000–3999) must be in Italian.

1 Or eight courses higher than 2204 for students beginning with 2203 or lower.
2 Or an equivalent course from off-campus, in consultation with a faculty advisor for the major.
3 Or eight courses higher than 2204 for students beginning with 2203 or lower in one or both languages.

Career opportunities for Francophone Studies majors and minors

The linguistic and analytical abilities, cultural awareness, and excellent communication skills developed by Francophone Studies majors and minors at Bowdoin serve our alumni in a wide range of professional pursuits. Business leaders have said again and again that they prefer to hire humanities majors because of their ability to think creatively and to write and speak well. The Bloomberg Rankings place French as the second most useful language for business after Mandarin Chinese. Strong command of a language and knowledge of a culture other than one’s own are a tremendous advantage in countless professions. The experience and expertise students gain in our courses and through study away give our graduates an edge in diverse areas: business, law, medicine, international relations, education, journalism, politics, communications, non-profit and NGO work. The program also prepares students for graduate studies in French and comparative literature, among other areas.

Visit the Featured Alumni section to read about some of the ways in which Francophone Studies majors and minors have used their skills to pursue a variety of life paths.