French and Francophone Studies

Undergraduate Concentration

The concentration in French and Francophone Studies is committed to the pursuit of an interdisciplinary, linguistically rigorous, and textually informed understanding of French and Francophone literatures and cultures.

Concentration Overview

Concentrators engage actively through their coursework with a wide range of critical perspectives, pertaining to multiple literary genres, media and contexts. They have opportunities to study different periods of French culture as well as Francophone cultures beyond France.

Language Study

The concentration program is designed to encourage and support language-specific study. Literary texts and cultural documents are read principally in the original. Likewise, in most courses, French is the language of class discussions, presentations and research/critical papers. Concentrators thus achieve advanced proficiency in the language. By the time they graduate, they will have learned to read with knowledge and nuance and will have produced a varied body of critical work in French.

Study Abroad

Our concentrators are strongly encouraged to spend one or two semesters (usually in their junior year) in France or in a Francophone country to derive the richest benefits of linguistic and cultural immersion.


Along with close reading and attentiveness to cultural context, effective writing — i.e., writing that is clear, rigorous, informed, nuanced and persuasive — is considered a key skill for the concentration in French and Francophone Studies. Thus all courses offered by the department (starting at the 600-level) are writing-intensive, designated WRIT, which means that they satisfy the University’s Writing Requirement. In our courses, students have the opportunity to write at least two papers, and receive substantive feedback and advice as they develop their writing. All Brown, undergraduates must complete at least one approved WRIT course by the end of their 4th semester, and a second WRIT course during their 5th-7th semesters.


Students who have performed outstandingly in their concentration courses, have completed at least six concentration courses by the first semester of their senior year, and are highly recommended by two professors are eligible to apply for admission to the honors program.

Concentration Requirements

A minimum of ten courses is required for the concentration in French and Francophone Studies. Concentrators must observe the following guidelines when planning their concentration. It is recommended that course choices for each semester be discussed with the department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Of the minimum ten courses:

  • At least four courses numbered 950 or above must be taken in the Department of French and Francophone Studies at Brown.
  • FREN600 (Advanced French) and FREN720 (First Year Seminar) may count for concentration credit.
  • At least one course covering a pre-Revolutionary period (i.e. a course focusing on medieval, Renaissance, 17th or 18th century France) is required.
  • At least one course focusing primarily on Francophone literature, culture or history beyond that of metropolitan France is required.

A senior capstone project will be completed during the senior year.

Concentration Credit

Up to four courses (taken in French) from a semester’s study abroad (and up to five courses from a full year abroad) may count towards the concentration. A year or semester of study abroad in France or a Francophone country is considered an integral part of the concentration and is therefore highly recommended. Students should consult the concentration advisor prior to going abroad to find out which types of courses will count for the concentration.

Up to two 1000-level courses taught in English with a meaningful engagement with French/Francophone texts and/or contexts may be accepted for concentration credit. These may be courses offered within the Department of French and Francophone Studies or other departments at Brown. Appropriate courses on French or Francophone topics from other departments must be approved by the concentration advisor.

Concentration Advisor