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University of Pittsburgh    
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog 
  Jun 16, 2024
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

French, BA

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A major in French gives students the opportunity to study in detail a foreign language and to acquire an education in a literary and cultural tradition central to the humanities. Studying French language and literature prepares students for graduate study in law and international affairs, advanced work in the humanities, and careers in business, government service, and teaching. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the numerous opportunities to study abroad. They can combine a major in French with a second major in a field such as political science, history, biology, or economics. Students who choose to study the grammar, linguistics, rhetoric, literature, and film of the Francophone world will acquire an invaluable technical resource and an in-depth knowledge of a diverse and foundational intellectual tradition.


Majors in French must have completed two years of college work or the equivalent before beginning core courses. The French major consists of at least 31 credits above the intermediate level. Elementary French language courses (FR 0001  and FR 0002  ) do not count toward the major. Required credits follow.


Majors are expected to take one credit of FR 0058 - ADVANCED FRENCH CONVERSATION , but they may take two additional credits of the course as a nonmajor elective.

Additional requirements

In addition to the basic requirements, the following criteria must be met by French majors:

  • Once the basic requirements are met, students will, in consultation with their advisor, design a program that corresponds to their needs, but they must take an additional 15 credits at the 1000 level. Twelve credits must be in courses taught in French. Intermediate language courses (FR 0003  and FR 0004 ) may be used to fulfill this requirement.
  • French majors may take one course above 0004, in addition to 0058, on an S/NC option.
  • Although study abroad is not a requirement for the major in French, students are strongly encouraged to consider participating in a study-abroad program in a French-speaking country during their undergraduate career.
  • Students must complete at least one W course within the major.

The Dietrich School requires 12 credits in a related area to be chosen in consultation with the program advisor. This requirement can also be met by completing an official minor in another area.

French and Italian Major Requirements

The following requirements apply to both French and Italian majors:

  • Students are required to maintain at least a 2.00 GPA in major courses.
  • Students may choose courses from three areas: language, literature, and civilization.
  • Reading competency in at least one other language is recommended for students interested in graduate school.
  • To earn departmental honors, students must major in French or Italian, demonstrate superior performance in departmental courses, and be enrolled in 1000-level French/Italian courses preferably no later than the first term of the junior year. Selection of honors candidates takes place only in the second term of the junior year. During the senior year, two appropriate sequential courses are chosen in consultation with the major advisor, and a research paper must be completed. The paper must be defended before a faculty committee. Honors will be determined by the quality of the paper and the defense, as well as the cumulative grades in all departmental courses counting toward the major.

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