A major or minor in French and Francophone Literature and Culture prepares students to succeed in our pluri-lingual and globalized world. Culture and commerce alike require culturally-sensitive, adaptable individuals with strong critical thinking skills who are equipped to communicate effectively with a range of interlocutors. Our faculty teach students how to read and analyze texts with rigor and insight, write carefully and with well-supported arguments, and refine their written and oral expression. 

Requirements

Interdisicplinary Study

Because the French program routinely cross-lists courses with other departments, students interested in a cultural studies model may apply towards their major or minor courses in departments such as Art History, Theater and Performance Studies, Music, or Cinema and Media Studies. Our students are often double majors who bring to the classroom a multiplicity of perspectives that enrich our interdisciplinary approach to the study of language, literature, and culture. In addition, students with competence in Spanish, Italian, Catalan, or Portuguese may wish to pursue a degree in more than one Romance language. Students who complete a BA thesis may be nominated for the Nef Prize.

Study Abroad

We strongly encourage all of our majors and minors to study abroad. It is when immersed in another culture that the language becomes alive, and opportunities for communication become relevant in a way that the classroom cannot fully capture. The University of Chicago offers many Study Abroad programs at the Paris Center, both during the academic year and in the summer. The courses taken as part of the Civilization sequence in French may be applied to the major or minor.  In addition, students wishing to travel to other Francophone countries or regions may apply for summer funding for language study through the France Chicago Center or by applying for a FLAG grant. The Center for Latin American Studies offers courses in first and second year Haitian Kreyol.

French at UChicago

Students are also encouraged to join the French Club, a dynamic student-run organization that organizes events of wide political and cultural interest, and provides a welcoming space for social interaction.

Language Study at the University of Chicago

Alumni

Our alumni have gone on to excel in a wide range of areas. Many have chosen to spend a year in France following the completion of their degree by participating in the TAPIF program, which provides English-language conversation leaders in French classrooms. Others have continued their education by pursuing doctoral degrees at institutions such as Johns Hopkins University, Princeton University, New York University, and Columbia University, or have become education providers at the K-12 level, often by participating in the University of Chicago’s Urban Teacher Education Program (UTEP). Other students have gone on to careers in law, medicine, and public policy, while still others work as journalists, writers, translators, news production assistants, and in many other fields.  

Recent graduates say:

The French major literally expanded my conception of the world, including my awareness of the opportunities for me in it.  Studying a foreign language and living abroad afforded me a unique perspective on my own country that remains extremely influential on my desire to actively participate in its development to this day. Perhaps as equally valuable, a working knowledge of French never fails to impress at any cocktail party! – Paul Staisunas, AB ‘09

It’s sometimes surprising how few people can read and understand foreign languages, even in a newsroom. Understanding French has given me access to stories that I might not have been able to investigate and pursue otherwise. I also feel I can better understand European affairs and read French perspectives on current events by reading French blogs and newspapers. –Julia Greenberg, AB ’11, working at CNN