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) to satisfy major requirements.
  • A minimum of 120 credit hours to satisfy degree requirements.
  • A minimum of 8 courses (24 credit hours) taken at the 300-level or above.
  • A maximum of 4 courses (12 credit hours) from study abroad or transfer credit. For additional departmental guidelines regarding transfer credit, see the Policies tab.

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 where applicable, the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies. (Course substitutions must be formally applied and entered into Degree Works by the major's 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 Studies30
Total Credit Hours Required for the BA Degree with a Major in French Studies120

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements 1
Major Literary Works and Artifacts
Select 2 courses from the following:6
Elective Requirements
Select 7 elective courses from departmental (FREN) course offerings. 221
Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in French Studies30
Additional Credit Hours to Complete Degree Requirements *59
University Graduation Requirements *31
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:

  • No more than 4 courses (12 credit hours) of transfer credit from U.S. or international universities of similar standing as Rice may apply towards the major.
  • 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. 

Distribution Credit Information

The determination of distribution eligibility is done initially as part of the new course creation process. Additionally, as part of an annual roll call coordinated each Spring by the Office of the Registrar, course distribution eligibility is routinely reviewed and reaffirmed by the Dean’s Offices of each of the academic schools.  

Faculty and leadership in the academic schools are responsible for ensuring that the courses identified as distribution-eligible meet the criteria as set in the General Announcements. Students are responsible for ensuring that they meet graduation requirements by completing coursework designated as distribution at the time of course registration. 

Distribution courses from the Department of Modern and Classical Literatures and Cultures are broad in theme and scope and provide students with a substantial inquiry into literature, art, media, history, thought, and/or politics, including specific national traditions, linguistic contexts, and historical periods. Such courses involve a broad and often interdisciplinary spectrum of knowledge, providing students with the tools for thinking critically about the formation of modern culture, its colonial past, and its national and linguistic traditions from antiquity to the present.

Additional Information 

For additional information, please see the Modern and Classical Literatures and Cultures 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

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. To support study abroad, the department offers several Bull Fellowships annually.

Additional Information 

For additional information, please see the Modern and Classical Literatures and Cultures website:

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