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The French program at UW–Madison offers students opportunities for cultural and literary learning about the French-speaking world through dynamic, in-class experiences and extracurricular components such as the French House, an immersion residence hall and cultural center, and with French and Francophone cultural events in and around Madison.

Students intending to major in French or complete the certificate enter the program at the appropriate level depending on their language proficiency. If you have previous experience in the French language, please refer to Testing and Evaluation Services to register for the placement test.

The majority of UW–Madison French majors or certificate students complete their requirements through a combination of courses taken on campus and abroad with a UW–Madison-sponsored program.

Students have the option to take a class for Honors at almost all levels. For more information, please see the department website and/or consult the undergraduate advisor.

For information on teacher training in French, see the School of Education section in the Guide.

For courses in French literature in translation, see the Literature in Translation course listing.

Students can declare a French major at any time. For more information, please see the department website and/or consult the undergraduate advisor.

Students declared in the French certificate may not be declared in the French major at the same time. Students who do wish to declare this major must first cancel their declaration in the certificate.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Letters & Science Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degree requirements.

Bachelor of Science DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Mathematics Complete two courses of 3+ credits at the Intermediate or Advanced level in MATH, COMP SCI, or STAT subjects. A maximum of one course in each of COMP SCI and STAT subjects counts toward this requirement.
Foreign Language Complete the third unit of a foreign language.
L&S Breadth Complete:
• 12 credits of Humanities, which must include at least 6 credits of Literature; and
• 12 credits of Social Science; and
• 12 credits of Natural Science, which must include 6 credits of Biological Science and 6 credits of Physical Science.
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework Complete at least 108 credits.
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced Coursework Complete at least 60 credits at the Intermediate or Advanced level.
Major Declare and complete at least one major.
Total Credits Complete at least 120 credits.
UW-Madison Experience Complete both:
• 30 credits in residence, overall, and
• 30 credits in residence after the 86th credit.
Quality of Work • 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
• 2.000 in Intermediate/Advanced level coursework at UW–Madison

Non–L&S Students PURSUING AN L&S MAJOR

Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements. They do not need to complete the L&S Degree Requirements above.

Requirements for the Major

INTRODUCTORY (PREREQUISITE) COURSES

FRENCH 228 Intermediate Language and Culture3-4
Total Credits3-4

TOTAL CREDITS

To complete the French major, 24 credits are needed beyond the introductory (prerequisite) course.

REQUIRED FRENCH/FRANCOPHONE LITERATURE AND CULTURE

FRENCH 271 Introduction to Literary Analysis3-4
FRENCH 321 Introduction to Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern Literature 53
FRENCH 322 Introduction to Literature of Modernity 53
FRENCH 347 Introduction to Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern Civilization 53
or FRENCH 451 Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern Studies
Total Credits12-13

AT LEAST ONE FRENCH/FRANCOPHONE LITERATURE AND/OR CULTURE COURSE AT THE 400 LEVEL OR HIGHER

Complete One course from:

FRENCH 430 Readings in Medieval and Renaissance Literature3
FRENCH 431 Readings in Early Modern Literature3
FRENCH 449 Francophone Modernity Studies3
FRENCH 451 Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern Studies3
FRENCH 461 French/Francophone Literary Studies Across the Centuries3
FRENCH 462 French/Francophone Cultural Studies Across the Centuries3
FRENCH 464 Literature and Medicine in French-Speaking Cultures3
FRENCH 465 French/Francophone Film3
FRENCH 467 Aspects of Contemporary French Literature3
FRENCH 472 French/Francophone Literature and Women3
FRENCH 567 Undergraduate Seminar in French/Francophone Literary Studies3
FRENCH 568 Undergraduate Seminar in French/Francophone Cultural Studies3
FRENCH 569 Critical Approaches to Literature and Culture: French and Francophone Perspectives3
FRENCH 595 Theory and Practice of French/Francophone Drama4
FRENCH 630 The Age of Reason3
FRENCH 631 17th-Century French Literature3
FRENCH 633 The 17th-Century Novel3
FRENCH 636 The French Novel: 1850-19003
FRENCH 637 19th-Century French Literature3
FRENCH 639 17th-Century Literature3
FRENCH 645 16th-Century French Literature3
FRENCH 647 The 20th-Century French Novel3
FRENCH 653 French and Francophone Cinema3
FRENCH 665 Introduction to Francophone Studies3
FRENCH 681 Senior Honors Thesis3
FRENCH 682 Senior Honors Thesis3
FRENCH 691 Thesis2
FRENCH 692 Thesis2

ADDITIONAL FRENCH/FRANCOPHONE LITERATURE AND/OR CULTURE

Complete One course from:

FRENCH 210 Sexuality and Gender in 20th-Century French Literature 43
FRENCH 211 French Literary and Interdisciplinary Studies (In English) 43-4
FRENCH/​AFRICAN  216 Modern and Contemporary Francophone Topics 43
FRENCH 248 Ethnic Studies in the French/Francophone World(s) 43
FRENCH/​INTL BUS  313 Professional Communication and Culture in the Francophone World3
FRENCH/​INTL BUS  314 Contemporary Issues in Government, Organizations, and Enterprise3
FRENCH 325 Visual Culture in French/Francophone Studies3
FRENCH 348 Modernity Studies3
FRENCH 350 Applied French Language Studies1-3
FRENCH 361 Study Abroad: French/Francophone Literature2-3
FRENCH 362 Study Abroad: French/Francophone Civilization2-3
FRENCH 430 Readings in Medieval and Renaissance Literature3
FRENCH 431 Readings in Early Modern Literature3
FRENCH/​AFRICAN  440 African/Francophone Film3
FRENCH 449 Francophone Modernity Studies3
FRENCH 451 Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern Studies3
FRENCH 461 French/Francophone Literary Studies Across the Centuries3
FRENCH 462 French/Francophone Cultural Studies Across the Centuries3
FRENCH 464 Literature and Medicine in French-Speaking Cultures3
FRENCH 465 French/Francophone Film3
FRENCH 467 Aspects of Contemporary French Literature3
FRENCH 472 French/Francophone Literature and Women3
FRENCH 567 Undergraduate Seminar in French/Francophone Literary Studies3
FRENCH 568 Undergraduate Seminar in French/Francophone Cultural Studies3
FRENCH 569 Critical Approaches to Literature and Culture: French and Francophone Perspectives3
FRENCH 595 Theory and Practice of French/Francophone Drama4
FRENCH 630 The Age of Reason3
FRENCH 631 17th-Century French Literature3
FRENCH 633 The 17th-Century Novel3
FRENCH 636 The French Novel: 1850-19003
FRENCH 637 19th-Century French Literature3
FRENCH 639 17th-Century Literature3
FRENCH 645 16th-Century French Literature3
FRENCH 647 The 20th-Century French Novel3
FRENCH 653 French and Francophone Cinema3
FRENCH 665 Introduction to Francophone Studies3
FRENCH 681 Senior Honors Thesis3
FRENCH 682 Senior Honors Thesis3
FRENCH 691 Thesis2
FRENCH 692 Thesis2
LITTRANS 209 Masterpieces of French Literature and Culture 43-4
LITTRANS 249 Literature in Translation: Nineteenth-Century French Masterpieces 43
LITTRANS 268 French Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Nineteenth Century 43
LITTRANS 302 What is Life? Biological Life in Literature and Culture 43-4

LANGUAGE COURSE NUMBERED 300 OR ABOVE

Complete One course from:

FRENCH 311 Advanced Composition and Conversation3
FRENCH 312 Advanced Oral and Written Expression: Writing Across the Humanities3
FRENCH/​INTL BUS  313 Professional Communication and Culture in the Francophone World3
FRENCH/​INTL BUS  314 Contemporary Issues in Government, Organizations, and Enterprise3
FRENCH 316 Study Abroad: Advanced French Language2-6
FRENCH 350 Applied French Language Studies1-3
FRENCH 590 Advanced Phonetics3

Residence and Quality of Work

  • 2.000 GPA in all FRENCH and major courses
  • 2.000 GPA on at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major, taken in residence1 
  • 15 credits in FRENCH taken on campus at UW–Madison

Honors in the Major

Students may declare Honors in the Major in consultation with a French undergraduate advisor. 

HONORS IN THE MAJOR REQUIREMENTS

To earn Honors in the Major, students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:

  • Earn a 3.300 University GPA
  • Earn a 3.500 GPA for all FRENCH courses and all courses counting in the major
  • Complete at least 8 credits, taken for Honors, beyond FRENCH 2712
  • Complete a two-semester Senior Honors Thesis in FRENCH 681 and FRENCH 682, for a total of 6 credits3

Footnotes

1

FRENCH 300 and higher are considered upper-level in the major.

2

 Study abroad in France or in another French-speaking country is highly recommended, and the 8 credits taken for Honors can be fulfilled through French courses taken abroad at the appropriate level.

3

 In certain circumstances (particularly when the student is an Honors candidate in two or more departments), two courses in literature or cultural studies at the 500 or 600 level may be substituted for the Senior Honors Thesis.

4

Only one course taught in English may count toward the French Major.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. Demonstrate that they understand and can analyze literary and non-literary texts in French representing a broad spectrum of topics, time periods, and geographical regions (interpretive communication).
  2. Express themselves effectively in spoken and written French to inform, persuade, and narrate for different audiences of listeners, viewers, or readers (presentational communication).
  3. Express themselves effectively in spoken and written French to share information, reactions, and opinions related to a broad spectrum of topics and texts (interpersonal communication).
  4. Recognize and explain cultural artifacts, practices, and perspectives of the French-speaking world including how these cultural elements relate to literary and non-literary texts in French (cultural knowledge).
  5. Demonstrate a good degree of understanding of lexical, grammatical, syntactic, and stylistic features of the French language (linguistic knowledge).
  6. Demonstrate awareness of difference and diversity by comparing and contrasting culturally situated beliefs, behaviors, and norms of the French-speaking world with those found in their own culture (cross-cultural awareness).
  7. Engage in a sustained fashion with the French language, its users, and cultural artifacts in and beyond the classroom, e.g., in their own community, virtual communities, and study abroad (engagement with the French language and culture).

Sample Four-Year Plan

This Sample Four-Year Plan is a tool to assist students and their advisor(s). Students should use it—along with their DARS report, the Degree Planner, and Course Search & Enroll tools—to make their own four-year plan based on their placement scores, credit for transferred courses and approved examinations, and individual interests. As students become involved in athletics, honors, research, student organizations, study abroad, volunteer experiences, and/or work, they might adjust the order of their courses to accommodate these experiences. Students will likely revise their own four-year plan several times during college.

Freshman
FallCreditsSpringCredits
FRENCH 2034FRENCH 2044
Communication A3FRENCH 248 (meets Ethnic Studies requirement)3
Social Science Breadth3Social Science Breadth4
Quantitative Reasoning A3Biological Science Breadth3
Electives3 
 16 14
Sophomore
FallCreditsSpringCredits
FRENCH 2283FRENCH 2113
Quantitative Reasoning B4FRENCH 3113
Social Science Breadth3Communication B4
Electives3Physical Science Breadth3
INTER-LS 2101Social Science Breadth3
 14 16
Junior
FallCreditsSpringCredits
FRENCH 2713FRENCH 3213
FRENCH/​INTL BUS  3133FRENCH 3483
Science Breadth3Science Breadth3
Electives6Electives6
 15 15
Senior
FallCreditsSpringCredits
FRENCH 3223FRENCH 4653
FRENCH 5903FRENCH 3473
Electives9Electives9
 15 15
Total Credits 120
1

FRENCH 321, FRENCH 322 and FRENCH 347 are rarely given as course equivalents for courses taken abroad. Students majoring in French who do not take these courses prior to studying abroad will need to take them upon their return.

The Department of French and Italian encourages our majors to begin working on their career exploration and preparation soon after arriving on campus. We partner with SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science. L&S graduates are in high demand by employers and graduate programs. It is important to us that our students are career ready at the time of graduation, and we are committed to your success.

L&S career resources

Every L&S major opens a world of possibilities.  SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students turn the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and other coursework into fulfilling lives after graduation, whether that means jobs, public service, graduate school or other career pursuits.

In addition to providing basic support like resume reviews and interview practice, SuccessWorks offers ways to explore interests and build career skills from their very first semester/term at UW all the way through graduation and beyond.

Students can explore careers in one-on-one advising, try out different career paths, complete internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and connect with supportive alumni and even employers in the fields that inspire them.

ADVISING RESOURCES

  • For information on language proficiency, language placement, retrocredits and/or declaring the French Major, please see the French and Italian department website.
  • For advising on the French Major or Certificate, please contact the undergraduate advisor.
  • For language and international directions advising, please contact the International Directions Advisor in the Language Institute.

FRENCH FACULTY

Professors Bousquet, Goodkin, Miernowski, Vatan, Vila

Associate Professors Armstrong, El Nossery, Willis Allen

Faculty Associates Deitz, Theobald

Senior Lecturer Miernowska

FRENCH & ITALIAN PEOPLE PAGE

FRENCH HOUSE

La Maison Française, a francophone (French-speaking) residence hall and cultural center, is managed by the Department of French and Italian. Residence is open to UW–Madison students with the equivalent of a fourth-semester level of French. At least two native French graduate students reside in the house, aiding in conversation and facilitating the use of French. Most residents are Americans: prospective teachers of French, French majors, and students in other disciplines who want to speak French on a daily basis. Applications should be made well in advance. More information is available at uwfrenchhouse.org

The French House is open to the public for Wednesday dinner and Friday lunch during the academic year.

CLUBS AND OTHER ACTIVITIES

French

Undergraduates are also welcome at scholarly talks and department events on an array of subjects (see department website and the French House website for event details). Please contact the undergraduate advisor for more information about French activities.