About the Major

Department/Program Description

The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures (RL&L) is a cornerstone of the humanities at Wesleyan and the University’s gateway to the French-, Italian-, and Spanish-speaking worlds. We represent literary and cultural traditions that extend from the Middle Ages to the present. We teach languages, literatures, and cultures that span Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Our students develop and apply their knowledge and skills through the extracurricular activities and study-abroad opportunities that we promote. Through a network of collaborations across departments and divisions, we support a wide array of majors, academic programs, and initiatives.

Additional Information

Students interested in enrolling in French, Italian, or Spanish at the elementary or intermediate levels are urged to do so during their first-year and sophomore years. Department policy gives priority to first-year and sophomore students in our language classes (numbered 101112) to allow students to study abroad and to meet the requirements of those programs requiring language study. Juniors and seniors who wish to take elementary and intermediate language courses should submit an online enrollment request and attend the first class. They may be accepted during the drop/add period if seats become available. Should a junior or senior enroll in the first course of an ampersand sequence (such as 101102), he or she will have priority for the second course, just like first-year and sophomore students.

Major Description
The French Studies major provides students with a command of the French language sufficient to live and work successfully in a French-speaking environment. It enables them to develop an in-depth knowledge of French-language literatures and critical approaches and, through them, an awareness of French and Francophone modes of thought and expression. It also offers them the opportunity to develop simultaneously a broad knowledge of French and Francophone cultures, through a flexible, interdisciplinary program combining coursework in a number of fields that may serve as the basis for future work or further academic or professional studies.
Student Learning Goals

The French studies major provides students with a command of the French language sufficient to live and work successfully in a French-speaking environment. It enables them to develop an in-depth knowledge of French-language literatures and critical approaches and, through them, an awareness of French and Francophone modes of thought and expression. It also offers them the opportunity to develop simultaneously a broad knowledge of French and Francophone cultures through a flexible, interdisciplinary program combining coursework in a number of fields that may serve as the basis for future work or further academic or professional studies.

Admission to the Major

Students must have completed FREN215 or a higher level course with a grade of at least a B to be admitted to the major.

Major Requirements

FREN215 or the equivalent is the prerequisite for all FREN courses numbered 220 or higher.

The major consists of a minimum of eight courses beyond FREN215:

  • Four FREN courses numbered 220-399.
    • These courses must be taken on campus in French.
    • Courses numbered 220-299 are introductory courses intended for students who have completed FREN215, who have taken an equivalent course elsewhere, or who have placed out of FREN215 through the placement test. In general, these courses are designed for students who have not yet studied abroad in a French-speaking country.
    • 300-level courses are upper-level courses intended for students who have already completed two courses in French beyond FREN215 or who have studied abroad in a French-speaking country for at least a semester.
  • Four other courses whose content is devoted substantially to the study of French or Francophone literature, history, culture, or society. These courses may be taken on campus or abroad, may be in French or English, and may be chosen from among the following courses:
    • Courses from the French section’s normal offering of FREN courses numbered 220-399.
    • Courses listed Romance Lang & Lit In Eng (RL&L).
    • Courses taken through approved study-abroad programs.
    • Courses offered by other departments and programs on campus that include a study of French or Francophone culture, politics, or history. These courses must be approved by the student’s major advisor.

A minimum grade of B is required for courses taken on campus to count toward the FRST major or the Romance studies RMST major where the student is combining French with another Romance culture. 

Study Abroad
All students who have completed FREN215, both majors and non-majors, are strongly encouraged to spend at least one semester studying abroad in a French-speaking country. We encourage students to participate in Wesleyan’s Program in Paris (the Vassar-Wesleyan Program), but other Wesleyan-approved study-abroad programs currently exist in Cameroon, Madagascar, and Senegal. Wesleyan also sends one or two exchange students a year to the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris. Students who would like information on other programs or who have strong academic reasons for wishing to participate in other French-based programs should contact the Associate Director of Study Abroad.
Advanced Placement

See wesleyan.edu/romance/french/aptransferofcredit for more information.

Transfer Credit

See wesleyan.edu/romance/french/aptransferofcredit for more information.