French and Francophone Studies Curriculum

The French 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 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 contibute to and thrive in a global world

The French and Francophone Studies curriculum consists of the following types of courses, all of them conducted in French.

Language Sequence

As these courses are sequential, students should begin their study of language in the fall semester.
French 1101-2204 [101-204]
These courses develop students’ fluency in French (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and cultural awareness of the French-speaking world. French 1101 and 2203 are offered every fall and French 1102 and 2204 are offered every spring.


Advanced French through Film

French 2305 [205]
This course introduces film analysis, enhances writing skills, provides in-depth advanced grammar review, and develops mastery of complex structures and vocabulary. Please note that this course is offered in the fall semester only.
Prerequisite: French 2304 or placement.


Introduction to French and Francophone Literatures and Cultures

French 2407 [207] through 2411 [211] introduce students to the study of the cultures and literatures of France and the Francophone world. While each course has a different focus, they are all equally challenging and may be taken in any order or number. We encourage students studying away in France during their junior year to take French 2408 in the spring of their sophomore year. For the major in French, students must take at least one culture course (French 2407 or 2408) and one literature course (French 2409, 2410 or 2411) at this level, or the equivalent in study abroad. French 2407 and 2409 are offered every fall and French 2408, 2410 and 2411 are offered every spring.


Introduction to Culture and Society

These courses broaden and deepen students’ knowledge and understanding of French-speaking societies and cultures Students sharpen their skills in cultural analysis. Francophone Cultures (French 2407) introduces students to French-speaking countries outside of France and the histories of slavery and colonization that inform their complex identities today. Contemporary France through the Media (French 2408) examines hot issues in France today through written and visual media and introduces students to the French political system and to key concepts for understanding contemporary France. Courses emphasize oral activities that help prepare students for study abroad in French-speaking countries.
Prerequisite: French 2305 or placement.


Introduction to the Study and Criticism of Literature

These courses expose students to literary works of all genres in their socio-historical contexts. They develop students’ understanding of critical approaches to literary texts and their skill in textual analysis. These courses include an important writing component that helps prepare students for study abroad in French-speaking countries. French 2409 and French 2410 examine French literature from the medieval period through the French Revolution and from the 19th through 21st centuries respectively. French 2411 examines works of French expression produced around the world in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Prerequisite: French 2305 or placement.


Topics in French and Francophone Studies

These courses are seminars that bring together smaller groups of students to focus intensely on particular topics often linked to the professor’s areas of research. Throughout the semester, students take an active role in leading discussion of course material. They conduct independent work on topics of their choosing and share their findings with their peers.
Prerequisite: French 2407 or 2408 and French 2409 or 2410 or 2411, or another 3000-level course


Independent Study and Honors

Available to seniors who wish to work more closely on a particular topic on which they have conducted research. Students work with an advisor for whom their topic is an area of expertise.
Prerequisites: Application and project proposal approved by the Department, and at least one French course at the 3000 level.
Students doing an honors project must be enrolled in another French course throughout the duration of the project. Please see specific course listings for more detailed descriptions of individual course offerings.