Major Requirements

French and Francophone Studies Major

Major Requirements. The major in French and Francophone studies consists of a minimum of ten courses. These courses should reflect both geographical breadth and historical depth; students must consult with a faculty member when planning the course of study in the major. Two courses in a related discipline may normally count as one of the ten courses in the major; one of the two may be taught in English. All majors are required to take at least one 300-level seminar in their senior year.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. No courses beyond FRE 235 may be taken pass/fail for credit toward the major.

The Capstone Experience

Fluent and correct use of the language is essential to the completion of the major. All senior majors are required to complete a capstone experience that serves to synthesize and reflect upon their work in the major as described below.

1) The Portfolio

All majors must assemble a portfolio of their work in the major and discuss it in at the end of the second semester of their senior year. This exercise is known as the “oral defense” of the portfolio. The portfolio contains a personal statement on the student’s experience in French and Francophone studies and other components such as papers from courses taken at Bates or abroad, a journal of a study-abroad program or travel experience, audio and/or video recordings to show progress in oral proficiency, websites that may have been created for courses or other Francophone endeavors, or other personal reflections. To download a pdf. version of the guidelines for the portfolio click here

2) Senior thesis, Senior Essay, Oral History Project, or another 300-level seminar

All majors must complete a) a senior thesis, b) a senior essay, c) an oral history project, or d) a second 300-level seminar, all of which fulfill the [W3] requirement. The thesis (which may be one-semester, two-semester, or honors) represents a sustained, scholarly work in the discipline, written in close consultation with a faculty member from the department. The senior essay is an extracurricular (noncredit) written work that treats a question in the field of French and Francophone studies as agreed upon by the student and faculty advisor; it is significantly shorter than a one-semester thesis, yet still involves research and inquiry into a topic using tools of literacy and cultural study as practiced in the discipline. The oral history project consists of a series of interviews with local Francophone residents that are transcribed, presented at the Mount David Summit, and archived at Bates and in local repositories. The second 300-level seminar can be taken either in the junior or senior year. Some portion of any of these options must be included in the portfolio for discussion. To download a pdf. version of the guidelines for the thesis click here

3) Portfolio Workshop Series

All majors participate in a regularly scheduled portfolio workshop series in which they discuss skills developed in French and Francophone cultural studies focusing on critical thinking, communication, and equity and inclusion, share their progress in the capstone requirements, and work toward the completion of their personal statement required in their portfolio. 

4) Honor thesis in French and Francophone Studies

Honors candidates register for both FRE 457 and 458. For more details about the Honors program in French and Francophone Studies.

French and Francophone Studies Minor

Minor Requirements. A minor in French and Francophone studies requires a minimum of seven courses. At least one of the seven courses must focus on literature or culture. Advanced Placement courses may not be applied toward the minor. All students who minor in French and Francophone studies must assemble a portfolio of their work in the minor. The portfolio consists of samples of written coursework and is designed to demonstrate progress in the study of the French language.

Students considering a major or minor should begin to compile a writing portfolio as soon as possible.

Study Abroad and Transfer Credit

Students majoring in French and Francophone studies are strongly encouraged to study abroad in a country appropriate for their area of interest. Normally majors receive a maximum of three credits for one semester of study and five credits for two semesters of study in a recognized program. Normally, minors receive a maximum of two credits for one semester of study and three credits for two semesters. Students must obtain approval from the department chair in order for their course to count toward major or minor in the discipline; otherwise, credit is not guaranteed.

Transfer Credit. Students normally may transfer up to two credits for coursework equivalent to courses offered by the Department of French and Francophone Studies. Students need to obtain approval from a faculty member in the department in order for their courses to count toward the major; otherwise, credit is not guaranteed.