Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree with a Major in French Studies

Program Learning Outcomes for the BA Degree with a Major in French Studies

Upon completing the BA degree with a major in French Studies, students will be able to: 

  1. Communicate fluently in spoken and written French at an advanced level, as indicated by the ability to: understand spoken French, converse in French, critically read and translate French texts, and write in multiple genres in French.
  2. Achieve the cultural literacy necessary for studying abroad or practicing internationally-based professions by demonstrating an understanding of the major social, cultural, and political stakes of the French and Francophone world, past and present.
  3. Demonstrate an interdisciplinary understanding of French studies through critical investigations of French literature, art, film, and other cultural forms.
  4. Understand French language and culture not as isolated geographic phenomena, but in the wider context of multicultural exchange and globalization.
  5. Learn and apply various research skills, including critical thinking and reading skills, theory, and criticism, to French texts (broadly construed) in order to produce new critical insights verbally or in writing.

Requirements for the BA Degree with a Major in French Studies

For general university requirements, see Graduation Requirements. Students pursuing the BA degree with a major in French Studies must complete:

  • A minimum of 10 courses (30 credit hours) from departmental (FREN) course offerings to satisfy major requirements.
  • A minimum of 120 credit hours to satisfy degree requirements.
  • A minimum of 60 credit hours outside of major requirements.  
  • All courses at the 300-level or above.

Students who are pursuing two majors (i.e., are double majors) and have declared the French Studies major must complete:

  • A minimum of 8 courses (24 credit hours) from departmental (FREN) course offerings to satisfy major requirements
  • All courses at the 300-level or above.

Double majors who drop the other major are required to meet the requirements listed for single majors. 

The courses listed below satisfy the requirements for this major. In certain instances, courses not on this official list may be substituted upon approval of the major’s academic advisor (or official certifier). Students and their academic advisors should identify and clearly document the courses to be taken.


Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in French Studies (for single majors)30
Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in French Studies (for double majors) 124
Total Credit Hours Required for the BA Degree with a Major in French Studies120

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements 2
Major Literary Works and Artifacts
Select 2 from the following:6
Writing Workshop
Elective Requirements
Select 7 elective courses from departmental (FREN) course offerings. 321
Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in French Studies (for single majors)30
Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in French Studies (for double majors)24
Additional Credit Hours to Complete BA Degree Requirements24-30
University Graduation Requirements *60
Total Credit Hours120

Footnotes and Additional Information 

Policies for the BA Degree with a Major in French Studies


As many as two French courses taught in English may count toward a major in French Studies. Students who have taken French courses at the 300 and 400 level (except those taught in English) cannot enroll simultaneously or afterward in 200-level French courses for credit. Students with diplomas from French-speaking institutions must consult with the department before enrolling in courses, and all majors and prospective majors must have their programs of study approved by an undergraduate advisor.

Students who arrive at Rice with AP credit in French of '4' or '5,' or who have passed the International Baccalaureate with a '6' or '7' in French, can immediately enroll in all courses at the 300 or 400 level without taking a placement exam. All other students are required to take the placement exam administered by CLIC and will be assigned to courses in accordance with their level.

Transfer Credit 

For Rice University’s policy regarding transfer credit, see Transfer Credit. Some departments and programs have additional restrictions on transfer credit. The Office of Academic Advising maintains the university’s official list of transfer credit advisors on their website: Students are encouraged to meet with their academic program’s transfer credit advisor when considering transfer credit possibilities. 

Departmental Transfer Credit Guidelines

Students pursuing the major in French Studies should be aware of the following departmental transfer credit guidelines:

  • Requests for transfer credit will be considered by the program director (and/or the program’s official transfer credit advisor) on an individual case-by-case basis. 

For additional information, please see the Classical and European Studies website:

Opportunities for the BA Degree with a Major in French Studies 

Academic Honors

The university recognizes academic excellence achieved over an undergraduate’s academic history at Rice. For information on university honors, please see Latin Honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude) and Distinction in Research and Creative Work. Some departments have department-specific Honors awards or designations.

Honors Program

The Honors Program in French Studies is meant to recognize outstanding French majors and to offer an opportunity to complete a senior thesis in close collaboration with a French Studies faculty member. The program provides seniors with the opportunity to develop individual research projects culminating in the Honors thesis. 

Study Abroad Opportunities

The program in French Studies offers a wide range of courses in literatures and cultures from France, Africa north and south of the Sahara, the Caribbean, and Québec. It covers major chronological periods while simultaneously anchoring the study of French cultures in a broad spectrum of disciplines that include literary, film, art, and historical studies. The program also offers advanced French language instruction focusing on writing, translation, and literary analysis. We strongly encourage students to spend time studying in a francophone country, and to that end the faculty and the Rice Study Abroad Office will help them select an appropriate program. 

See for tables of fellowships, prizes, and internships/practica that may be relevant to this major.