French Program


The French division of the department offers a complete language program which includes elementary, intermediate and advanced language, conversation, composition, business French, phonetics, as well as courses designed to provide graduate students from other departments with reading knowledge of French.

In addition, every year it offers several courses per term given entirely in English, all of which have general education credit. A full complement of upper-level courses in literature, film, and culture is also offered each year.

Beyond the classroom, the French program offers students exciting opportunities in internships; directed and independent research experiences; an active French Club, and a French Honor SocietyPi Delta Phi. We also sponsor an annual paper prize for a French major. 

The Undergraduate Program in French & Francophone Studies: A Curriculum for the mid-21st Century

The French major and minors allow students to encounter the literature, film, and culture of the Francophone world through a broad selection of coursework.

  • We offer a trio of courses to be taken after French 104 that focus on language skills in cultural context (French Conversation; Reading French: Literature, Media, Culture; Writing French) and serve to prepare students for 1000-level courses: "Reading French" considers print literature in relation to other non-literary media like video games, graphic novel, film, TV, and e-books (in short, what does it mean to read in the digital age?). "Writing French" helps you write in practical ways (as in let's write our resume in French). French 220/0020, 'France in the 21st Century' is the course for you if you want to study current events and society in the Hexagon (and get answers to questions like: who are those gilets jaunes and what do they want?). French 0227/0027, The French Atlantic, offers the chance to think about how France related to other parts of the world, especially the Antilles and North America, in historical context (recall that Pittsburgh used to be a French-speaking city). Students study historical documents like maps to better understand history and thus the Francophone world today. 
  • Other courses, offered both in French and in translation, explore specific issues (for example, Francophone identities, Francophone narrative, the French nation, gender & sexuality in France today, French in a global context).
  • Our program offers you the chance to be creative in French: we are offering a French Theatre workshop in spring 2020 (with a classical play to be performed all in French, but updated for the 21st century) and then a new course "Creative Writing Workshop" in fall term next year.
  • There are courses in English on Paris (Urbanism Past and Present) and on Fashion (Eurochic: The Invention of Fashion) that willl be offered in academic year 2020-21, alongside the very popular courses "French Kiss" and "History of French Cinema." "Gender, Sexuality, and French Thought" gives you to chance to think about how gender/sexuality studies and French studies relate to each other (trust us, they are closely linked). An upper-level course on France and environmental studies will soon be offered (Green France).
  • At the advanced level, we regularly offer "Global French" (a writing-intensive course) as well as a new advanced course in French on the nation "L'Idée de la France" (and the French nationality room will be on the syllabus). Undergraduate research is embedded in these courses. 

Language, media, environmentalism, globalization, nation, urbanism, race, gender, sexuality, creativity. For us, this is a French curriculum for the mid-21st century.

Double majors in French and a second field (such as political science, economics, business, art history, communication, linguistics, sociology, anthropology, GSWS, or another foreign language) allow students to explore interdisciplinary interests that help to focus and personalize their program of study. French is an excellent complement to majors in science or computer science/information as well. 

New for Spring 2020:  Pause Café

Mondays and Thursdays, 3-4pm from Jan. 20 to March 6, Posvar Global hub (main floor of Posvar Hall). Come speak French in a relaxed and informal way. Chat with French faculty and PhD students en français. All levels welcome! 

Study Abroad

All majors are also highly encouraged to spend a year or a semester in a Francophone country.  In addition to the department’s highly successful language, literature and culture program in Nantes, a new professional skills program in Paris, launched in 2016, provides students the opportunity to cultivate readily transferrable language skills to the workplace. Many students have taken the opportunity to earn credits toward the major or minor and improve their language skills while experiencing firsthand the life and culture of France. 

In just these last few years, dozens of students have taken the opportunity to earn credits toward the major and improve their language skills while experiencing firsthand the life and culture of the French-speaking world.

Financial Support for Study Abroad

The Study Abroad Scholarship Fund, the Nationality Rooms Scholarships, and French and Italian Departmental scholarships support summer study abroad, and students may apply to a number of other sources for financial support.