Peter Kirkpatrick
Associate professor and program coordinator, French

worldstudies.vcu.edu/academics/languages/french

The foreign language program offers a varied interdisciplinary humanities curriculum, global in scope and designed to increase students’ knowledge about the cultures and traditions, languages, literature and media, history, values, concerns, and aspirations of peoples in different countries and regions of the world. The goal of the program is ultimately also to both broaden students’ comparative intercultural perspectives and develop their cross-cultural communication abilities. Students have the option to pursue a focus or even combination of concentrations in foreign language(s), area studies and/or global issues (in either cinema and/or social justice), depending upon their interests and career plans. Within each chosen concentration or minor, the range of offerings allows for flexibility in configuring each individual’s course of study, which can be organized in a manner that best suits a student’s particular needs.

The Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Language will qualify students to pursue any of a number of career paths, including international communications, business and marketing, aid and development, journalism, or education; government foreign service, international affairs, immigration service or the Peace Corps; nongovernmental organizations involved in development, relief programs, immigration or human rights advocacy; or public relations in a multicultural environment. Graduates of our program will also find opportunities in teaching at home or abroad, as well as in work with a variety of public-service organizations. In addition, an undergraduate degree in foreign language provides excellent background and qualifications for admittance to graduate degree programs in a number of humanities disciplines, including foreign languages and international studies, as well as in international law, business or journalism.

Learning outcomes

  • Development of written communication skills
  • Development of oral communication skills
  • Development of reading and analytical skills
  • Cultural competence

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  • The goal of the program is ultimately to both broaden students’ comparative intercultural perspectives and develop their cross-cultural communication abilities.
  • Students gain proficiency in speaking, listening, reading and writing in French.
  • Students also gain knowledge and a set of cognitive, affective and behavioral skills and characteristics that support effective and appropriate interaction with the French-speaking world.
 

Special requirements

To earn a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Language, students must complete at least 39 credits within the major, 36 credits of which must be upper-level (300-level or above), with a minimum GPA of 2.25 within the major.

Majors in foreign language are encouraged to choose a minor that will broaden their global and cultural perspectives. Foreign language majors are encouraged — but not limited — to complete the course requirements for a minor in one of the following fields: African studies, Arabic and Middle Eastern studies, anthropology, Chinese and Asian Studies, economics, business (general business minor), French, geography, German, history, Italian studies, Mediterranean studies, political science, religious studies, Russian studies, sociology, Spanish or urban and regional studies. Students also may want to consider a double major. The School of World Studies Advising Office will work with students to explore the benefits of a double major and/or a minor.

All foreign language majors, students transferring credits from study abroad and transfer students who intend to major in a foreign language must take a minimum of two 400-level courses at VCU in the chosen language area. Both credit and distribution (minimum of 10 courses) requirements for the concentration must be satisfied.

Degree requirements for Foreign Language, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) with a concentration in French

General education requirements

University Core Education Curriculum (minimum 21 credits)
UNIV 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IFocused Inquiry I3
UNIV 112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IIFocused Inquiry II3
UNIV 200Inquiry and the Craft of Argument3
Approved humanities/fine arts3
Approved natural/physical sciences3-4
Approved quantitative literacy3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences3-4
Total Hours21-24
Additional College of Humanities and Sciences requirements (11-23 credits)
HUMS 202Choices in a Consumer Society1
Approved H&S diverse and global communities3
Approved H&S human, social and political behavior (fulfills University Core social/behavioral sciences)
Approved H&S literature and civilization (fulfills University Core humanities/fine arts)
Approved H&S science and technology (fulfills University Core natural/physical sciences)
Approved H&S general education electives6-8
Experiential fine arts 11-3
Foreign language through the 102 level (by course or placement)0-8
Total Hours11-23
1

Course offered by the School of the Arts

Collateral requirements

Experiential learning
Select one of the following:0-3
Major-specific service-learning course
Study abroad program
Approved internship: Select one of the following:
World Languages Internship
World Cultures Internship
International Studies Internship
Or other preapproved internship opportunities
Foreign language requirement
In order to begin upper-level course work in any foreign language, students must have consecutively completed the following courses or prove the equivalent proficiency level through placement testing:0-6
Intermediate French
Intermediate French Readings
Intermediate Conversation
World Passport
Students must complete the School of World Studies World Passport
Total Hours0-9

Major requirements

FREN 300
FREN 301
Advanced Grammar and Writing
and Advanced Grammar and Writing
6
FREN 305Advanced Conversation3
or FREN 307 French Conversation and Film
FREN 320French Civilization and Culture I3
FREN 321French Civilization and Culture II3
FREN 330
FREN 331
Survey of Literature
and Survey of Literature
6
FREN electives (400-level or above)9
WRLD/INTL 203Cultural Texts and Contexts: ____3
WRLD 302Communicating Across Cultures3
WRLD 490Seminar in World Cultures and Languages (capstone)3
Total Hours39

Open electives

Select 26-49 open elective credits26-49

Total minimum requirement 120 credits

What follows is a sample plan that meets the prescribed requirements within a four-year course of study at VCU. Please contact your adviser before beginning course work toward a degree.

Freshman year
Fall semesterHours
FREN 101 Elementary French 4
WRLD 203 Cultural Texts and Contexts: ____ (fulfills approved literature and civilization) 3
UNIV 101 Introduction to the University 1
UNIV 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I Focused Inquiry I 3
Approved quantitative literacy 3-4
 Term Hours: 14-15
Spring semester
FREN 102 Elementary French 4
HUMS 202 Choices in a Consumer Society 1
UNIV 112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II Focused Inquiry II 3
Approved diverse and global communities 3
Approved human, social and political behavior 3
 Term Hours: 14
Sophomore year
Fall semester
FREN 201 Intermediate French 3
UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
Approved general education elective 3-4
Approved science and technology 3-4
Open electives 3
 Term Hours: 15-17
Spring semester
FREN 202 Intermediate French Readings 3
WRLD 302 Communicating Across Cultures 3
Approved general education elective 3
Experiential fine arts 1-3
Open electives 6
 Term Hours: 16-18
Junior year
Fall semester
FREN 300 Advanced Grammar and Writing 3
FREN 305
Advanced Conversation
or French Conversation and Film
3
Open electives 9
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
On-campus or study abroad semester:  
FREN 301 Advanced Grammar and Writing 3
FREN 321 French Civilization and Culture II 3
FREN 331 Survey of Literature 3
Open electives 7
 Term Hours: 16
Summer semester
Study abroad (recommended): 0-6
FREN 320
French Civilization and Culture I
or Survey of Literature
3
WRLD 391 Topics in World Languages and Cultures (or FREN elective 300-level or above) 3
 Term Hours: 0-6
Senior year
Fall semester
FREN 320 French Civilization and Culture I (if not taken abroad) 3
FREN 330 Survey of Literature (if not taken abroad) 3
FRLG 493 World Languages Internship (or FREN elective 400-level or above) 3
Open electives 6
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
FREN elective (400-level or above) 3
FRLG 493 World Languages Internship (or FREN elective 400-level or above, whichever not completed in Fall) 3
WRLD 490 Seminar in World Cultures and Languages (capstone) 3
Open electives 6
 Term Hours: 15
 Total Hours: 120-131

FREN 101. Elementary French. 4 Hours.

Continuous courses; 5 lecture/recitation hours. 4-4 credits. Prerequisite: completion of FREN 101 to enroll in FREN 102. Elementary grammar, reading and oral drill.

FREN 102. Elementary French. 4 Hours.

Continuous courses; 5 lecture/recitation hours. 4-4 credits. Prerequisite: completion of FREN 101 to enroll in FREN 102. Elementary grammar, reading and oral drill.

FREN 110. Intensive French I. 8 Hours.

Semester course; 10 lecture and laboratory hours. 8 credits. This intensive course combines FREN 101 and 102 into a single semester.

FREN 201. Intermediate French. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FREN 102. Continuation of the essentials of grammar with emphasis on achieving proficiency in aural comprehension, speaking, reading and writing skills.

FREN 202. Intermediate French Readings. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FREN 201. In order to complete French through the intermediate level, a student may select FREN 202 or 205. Designed to increase the student's proficiency through the study of selected cultural and literary texts.

FREN 205. Intermediate Conversation. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FREN 201. Designed to increase the student's proficiency in the spoken language through audio-oral exercises, dialogues and free conversation.

FREN 210. Intensive French II. 6 Hours.

Semester course; 6 lecture and laboratory hours per week. 6 credits. Prerequisites: FREN 101 and 102, or FREN 110. This intensive course combines FREN 201 and 202/205 into a single semester.

FREN 295. Gateway to the French Major/Minor. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FREN 201 or permission of instructor. Non-foreign language majors who wish to take one or two upper-level classes only need to complete FREN 202, 205 or equivalent. This course is composed of three different areas: 1) writing and analytical skills: enhancement of grammatical and writing skills and development of analytical techniques using a variety of texts; 2) improving students' oral communication; 3) listening skills: extensive use of recorded material and Language Learning Center resources to improve and enhance listening skills in a variety of authentic contexts.

FREN 300. Advanced Grammar and Writing. 3 Hours.

Semester courses; 3 lecture hours. 3, 3 credits. Prerequisites: for FREN 300: FREN 202 or 205; for 301, FREN 202, 205 or 300. Conducted in French. A systematic review of French grammar with emphasis on the elements of style and vocabulary building; translation and composition.

FREN 301. Advanced Grammar and Writing. 3 Hours.

Semester courses; 3 lecture hours. 3, 3 credits. Prerequisites: for FREN 300: FREN 202 or 205; for 301, FREN 202, 205 or 300. Conducted in French. A systematic review of French grammar with emphasis on the elements of style and vocabulary building; translation and composition.

FREN 305. Advanced Conversation. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FREN 202 or 205. Conducted in French. Development of advanced oral skills while conversing about topics on current French culture and society. Proficiency in listening comprehension is stressed through regular activities based on a variety of different situations of communication.

FREN 307. French Conversation and Film. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FREN 202, 205 or 300. The course is designed to develop the student's conversational skills, oral comprehension ability and knowledge of contemporary culture through discussion of selected French films. Emphasis is also placed on vocabulary development and writing practice.

FREN 320. French Civilization and Culture I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FREN 202, 205 or 300. Conducted in French. A survey of French civilization and culture from its origins to the French Revolution. Introduction to and analysis of the most important aspects of Gallo-Roman society and of the Merovingian, Carolingian and Capetian dynasties which influenced the institutions of the Ancien Regime and still serve as cultural archetypes and icons in contemporary French culture.

FREN 321. French Civilization and Culture II. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FREN 202, 205 or 300. Conducted in French. A survey of French civilization and culture from the Napoleonic era to the present. This course retraces important cultural and social traditions found during the first Empire, the Restoration, the Second Republic, the Second Empire, the Commune, the Third and Fourth Republics which influenced and continue to shape contemporary French civilization and culture of the Fifth Republic.

FREN 330. Survey of Literature. 3 Hours.

Semester courses; 3 lecture hours. 3, 3 credits. Prerequisite: FREN 202, 205 or 300. Conducted in French. First semester: through the 18th century. Second semester: 19th and 20th centuries.

FREN 331. Survey of Literature. 3 Hours.

Semester courses; 3 lecture hours. 3, 3 credits. Prerequisite: FREN 202, 205 or 300. Conducted in French. First semester: through the 18th century. Second semester: 19th and 20th centuries.

FREN 410. Explication de Textes. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different topics up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: FREN 301; FREN 305 or 307; FREN 320 or 321 or 330 or 331. Conducted in French. This course provides an introduction to terms encountered in text analysis: prosody, versification, rhetorical language, narratology and genres. It presents traditional and current schools of literary criticism and applies them to an interdisciplinary selection of texts. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester.

FREN 420. French Regional Culture. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different topics up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: FREN 301; FREN 305 or 307; FREN 320 or 321. Conducted in French. Focuses on the culture and civilization specific to each of France's 22 regions. History, culture, architecture as well as sociopolitical, linguistic identities, artisanal trades and folklore are presented for each region. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester.

FREN 421. French Contemporary Culture. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different topics up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: FREN 301; FREN 305 or 307; FREN 320 or 321. Conducted in French. Focuses on the contemporary culture found in French society. The individuals and events shaping current French social, political, artistic and cultural life are examined. Each theme is illustrated by current audiovisual materials. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester.

FREN 422. French Cinema. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different topics up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: FREN 301; FREN 305 or 307; FREN 320 or 321. Conducted in French. Tracing French cinema from les Frores Lumiore and Georges Melius through the New Wave to new contemporary directors, this course focuses on the thematic selections and stylistic techniques particular to French cinematographic culture. The class is offered concurrently with the annual VCU French Film Festival, thereby permitting students to directly communicate with French actors and directors participating in the festival. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester.

FREN 425. French Media. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different topics up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: FREN 301; FREN 305 or 307; FREN 320 or 321 or 330 or 331. Conducted in French. Analysis of the French media: written press, radio and television. Advanced comprehension skills required and stressed through regular exercises pertaining to different journalistic discourses and styles. Proficiency in journalistic writing is developed in class through the creation of an electronic French newspaper on the Internet. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester.

FREN 426. Pop France. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Prerequisites: FREN 301; FREN 305 or 307; FREN 321or 331. Conducted in French. Explores contemporary French popular culture, put in a wider historical context. Discusses mainstream media, new media, commercial cinema, comic strips, pulp fiction and food, while devoting several weeks to music. Investigates the complex sociolinguistics of argot (slang), with a special interest in the banlieues' (suburbs') multicultural subculture and multifaceted codes. Also questions the possibility of a "pop philosophy" in French thought.

FREN 430. Great Poets and Their Times. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different topics up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: FREN 301; FREN 305 or 307; FREN 330 or 331. Conducted in French. Poetry of select major poets of a select century or centuries within a context of the historical, artistic and broad cultural setting of the poets' times. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester.

FREN 431. The 16th Century. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different topics up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: FREN 301; FREN 305 or 307; FREN 330 or 331. Conducted in French. A contextualization and detailed study of a selection of works representative of literary schools, genres and major works of the period: Rabelais, the Pleiade, Minting and the Baroque poets. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester.

FREN 432. The 17th Century. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different topics up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: FREN 301; FREN 305 or 307; FREN 330 or 331. Conducted in French. A contextualization and detailed study of a selection of texts representative of literary schools, genres and major works of the period: Baroque and Classical readings including prose, poetry and drama of the authors of the reign of Louis XIV; Pascal, La Rochefoucauld, La Bruyure, Corneille, Racine and Moliere. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester.

FREN 433. The 18th Century. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different topics up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: FREN 301; FREN 305 or 307; FREN 330 or 331. Conducted in French. A contextualization and detailed study of a selection of texts representative of literary schools, genres and major works of the period: the "philosophes" including Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot and Rousseau and readings from Marivaux, Provost and Vauvenargues. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester.

FREN 434. The 19th Century. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different topics up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: FREN 301; FREN 305 or 307; FREN 330 or 331. Conducted in French. A contextualization and detailed study of a selection of texts representative of literary schools, genres and major works of the period: Romanticism, Realism, Naturalism and Symbolism. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester.

FREN 435. Contemporary French Literature. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Prerequisites: FREN 301; FREN 305 or 307; FREN 330 or 331. Conducted in French. An overview of French literature from 1900 to the present. Discusses texts that have particular resonance in relation to contemporary issues, including literary works that have contributed most saliently to French culture over this time period.

FREN 440. Commercial French. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different topics up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: FREN 301; FREN 305 or 307; FREN 320 or 321 or 330 or 331. This course introduces students to the cultural, economic and linguistic dimensions of the Francophone commercial sector. It builds the student's reading, writing, listening and speaking proficiencies through active engagement with business-related materials and activities. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester.

FREN 450. Francophone Literatures and Cultures. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different topics up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisite: FREN 301; FREN 305 or 307; FREN 320 or 321 or 330 or 331. Conducted in French. Introduces students to the literatures and cultures of the Francophone world. Provides an overview of the Francophone world and an in-depth study of literary works written in French from Africa, the Caribbean, North America, Asia and Europe. Also explores the impact of Colonial history on Francophone literatures and cultures. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester. Crosslisted as: INTL 450.

FREN 491. Topics in French. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1-3 credits. May be repeated with different topics for a maximum of 9 credits. Prerequisites: FREN 301; FREN 305 or 307; FREN 320 or 321 or 330 or 331. An in-depth study of selected topics in French. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

FREN 492. Independent Study. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. Variable credit. Maximum of 3 credits per semester; maximum total of 6 credits for all independent study courses in French. Prerequisite: FREN 301; FREN 320 or 321; Senior standing with a minimum of 85 credits earned toward the degree. Determination of course content and permission of the instructor must be obtained prior to registration of the course. A course designed to give students an opportunity to become involved in independent study in a literary or linguistic area or subject in which they have an interest.