Welcome to French Studies
French Studies at Rice is a truly global program. French is spoken not only in France and across large parts of Europe, but also in Canada, the Caribbean and many parts of Africa — from Martinique to Algeria, Morocco, Senegal to Madagascar and Mauritius. The major in French Studies is devoted to the artistic, intellectual and cultural history not just of France, but also many other French-speaking cultures.
The approach of the French Studies Program is interdisciplinary and global. We mobilize literary and cultural studies, history, political economy, philosophy, the study of women and gender, and the visual arts. Our courses cover a broad range of subjects: from the medieval period to the nineteenth century, World War II, colonialism and the postcolonial period to contemporary cinema. In all our courses, French language acquisition is an integral component.
Our faculty values broad conversation with our humanist colleagues and the collaborations made possible by our larger Department of Classical and European Studies. In this same spirit, we work hard to encourage our students to enrich their studies through independent research and writing and through studying abroad.
During their senior year, outstanding French Studies majors are invited to complete an honors thesis in close collaboration with a faculty member of their choice on a topic of interest to them. And all our students are encouraged to study in allied programs in Paris and Aix-en-Provence, and in any country where French is spoken.
For all such programs, we are able to support our students with a variety of generously funded fellowships. We ask that courses required for the major (and at least two of the required 400-level courses) be taken at Rice, but we accept for credit other courses taken abroad that have been preapproved by our program director.
A Few Details
Any student can enroll in French Studies courses on the 300 and 400 level. Students who feel unsure whether to take a 200-level or a 300-level course are strongly encouraged to speak with any of the French Studies faculty. Students who wish to enroll in any introductory language courses on the 100 and 200 level are required to take the language placement test in the Center for Languages and Intercultural Communication.
We encourage our majors and nonmajors to join in the activities and regular conversations over lunch organized by the French Club, and invite all our students to take advantage of our active chapter of the French honor society, Pi Delta Phi.
French studies majors must complete a minimum of 10, 300- and 400-level courses, three of which must be at the 400 level. Double majors must complete eight such courses with at least two of these at the 400 level.
Both our majors and double majors must also complete FREN 302 and two courses from FREN 311, 312 or 313.
The majority of our courses are offered entirely in French, but we do offer a few in English. We also recommend that students take courses in English that enrich the major and are taught in allied fields beyond French studies. From all such courses, two may count toward the major with permission from the department.