Romance Languages Major, B.A.–French and Francophone Studies

Department of Romance Studies

238 Dey Hall, CB# 3170

(919) 962-2062

Hannelore Jarausch, Undergraduate Advisor and Director of French Language Instruction

Dorothea Heitsch, Study Abroad

Samuel Amago, Chair

Glynis Cowell, Director of Undergraduate Studies

The French major provides students with a more thorough command of the language, as well as a comprehensive knowledge of the literatures, cultures, and civilization of the francophone world.  French majors are also trained in research methodology in French, Francophone, and European studies.

French majors have gone on to careers in education, international business, law, journalism, publishing, social work, and health, as well as graduate study in French. The diverse offerings of the program include courses such as French civilization, business French, advanced oral and written French, introduction to French and Francophone literatures, the role of France in Europe today, and identities in European cinema.

Department Programs



Graduate Programs

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will acquire competence in the practice and analysis of Romance languages together with a critical knowledge of the written, oral, and visual traditions of their origin and diaspora. Our faculty promotes interdisciplinary connections and incorporates the study of literature, culture, theory, and history across the curriculum. Through coursework that emphasizes language acquisition, rhetoric, composition, and written and oral expression, our majors receive sustained personalized training in critical thinking and close reading. Upon completion of the program in Romance languages, students should be able to:

  • Participate in conversations on concrete, social, academic, and professional topics
  • Speak in detail about experiences and events in a variety of time frames and moods
  • Represent points of view in discussions, both oral and written
  • Deliver well-organized presentations on concrete, academic and professional topics
  • Write on a wide variety of general interest, professional, and academic topics
  • Follow narrative, informational, and descriptive speech on concrete, academic and professional topics
  • Understand and discuss texts representing a variety of topics and genres


In addition to the program requirements listed below, students must

  • attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum of 18 hours of C or better in the major core requirements (some majors require 21 hours).

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Gateway Course
FREN 260Literature and the French-Speaking World H3
or FREN 312 French University Methodology through Literature
Core Requirements
FREN 300French Composition and Grammar Review3
Three survey courses chosen from the following:9
Survey of French Literature I
Survey of French Literature II
Survey of French Literature III
Survey of French Literature IV
Four additional courses, chosen from:12
French "Discoveries" of the Americas in Translation
Sex, Philosophy, and Politics: Revolutionary Literature in Translation
Food for Thought: The Culture of Cuisine in Modern France
or any FREN courses 310 or above (excluding FREN 401, FREN 402, and FREN 692H)
Total Hours27

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

French (FREN) course descriptions.

We offer a strong emphasis on European and francophone studies as well as the Languages across the Curriculum Program (LAC), which allows students to participate in one-hour, one-credit discussion sections in French on an array of courses across the College of Arts and Sciences.

Special Opportunities in Romance Studies


The departmental honors program is open to any qualified major with a cumulative grade point average of 3.3 or higher and 3.5 or higher in their major courses. Eligible honors candidates will formulate a topic and select an appropriate faculty member to supervise the writing of an honors thesis. Specific coursework for the major with honors consists of enrollment in the honors thesis courses in the language of the major emphasis.

Honors Thesis in French
and Honors Thesis in French
Honors Thesis
and Honors Thesis in Italian
Honors Thesis
and Honors Thesis in Portuguese
Honors Thesis
and Honors Thesis in Spanish

691H is taken in the fall semester of the senior year and 692H is taken in the spring semester. FREN, ITAL, PORT, SPAN 398 Undergraduate Seminar may be substituted for the research course if the subject of the seminar is central to the research project chosen. In the 692H course the thesis will be completed and the student examined by the supervisor and two additional faculty members, to be agreed upon by the student and supervisor. The director of honors, in consultation with the examiners, will recommend that the student who has defended the thesis graduate with honors, highest honors, or with course credit. Courses numbered 691H or 398 may count toward the eight courses for the major, but 692H may not. Students who intend to graduate in December should adjust the scheduling of these courses in order to allow for completion of the honors project in December. Students meeting the required grade point averages should contact the undergraduate advisor for their language. For detailed information on the B.A. with honors, visit the department's Web site.

Out-of-Class Language Experience

Students may enrich their cultural and language experience by applying to the Spanish House, a section of Craige North residence hall. Equipped with a lounge and a kitchen, the house has space for eight male and 16 female students. Students make an effort to speak only Spanish while in residence.

The department offers credit-bearing service-learning opportunities through SPAN 293. This course satisfies the experiential education (EE) General Education requirement and is always connected to a specific course.

Students also find opportunities to speak Spanish and meet native Spanish speakers in an informal weekly Tertulia. Additional activities such as lectures, receptions, and films are organized by the department and student organizations such as CHispA (Carolina Hispanic Association). Numerous volunteer opportunities using Spanish are available in the local community through CHispA, Campus Y, UNC Hospitals, and other organizations.

For further opportunities to speak French, students are encouraged to participate in the weekly meeting of the Table Française and become members of the French club, les Francophiles. Departmental lectures and film series are also offered.

Students wishing to speak Italian may participate in a weekly conversation table, La Tavola Italiana. They may also attend departmental lectures and film series and participate in the Italian Literary Contest.

Students who wish to practice Portuguese can meet weekly for the “bate-papo” (chat).

Study Abroad

The Study Abroad Office sponsors many year-long, semester-long, and summer programs appropriate for students of the Romance languages and has special arrangements with the Department of Romance Studies for the UNC in Montpellier, UNC in Seville, and Florence programs. Students from UNC–Chapel Hill and from other institutions may earn up to 30 semester hours of undergraduate credit in these programs, which are open to qualified undergraduates regardless of academic major. Students may satisfy up to 50 percent of their major or minor coursework abroad.

General inquiries concerning any of these programs should be addressed to the Study Abroad Office, CB# 3130, FedEx Global Education Center, (919) 962-7002.

Undergraduate Awards


Students have the opportunity to be inducted into Pi Delta Phi, the national French honor society. Those with outstanding records in French are recommended as candidates for the Jacques Hardré Award, which is given to the best graduating senior in French; it includes a cash award.


Students are nominated for membership in Gamma Kappa Alpha, the Italian honor society, by undergraduate instructors. The society recognizes “outstanding scholastic performance in the fields of Italian language and literature” and encourages students “to acquire a greater interest in, and a deeper understanding of, Italian culture.” The Kimberly Kyser Award for Excellence in Italian is awarded to the most outstanding student in Italian and includes a cash prize.


Each year the department awards the Camões Prize to the outstanding student in Portuguese during that year. The prize carries a monetary award made possible by a donation from the Gulbenkian Foundation.


Students have the opportunity to be inducted into Sigma Delta Pi, the national Spanish honor society. Those with outstanding records in Spanish are recommended as candidates for the Stoudemire Award, which is given to the best graduating senior in Spanish and includes a cash prize. The Thomas Henry Wilson, Sr. Award provides an undergraduate with a major or minor in Spanish support to conduct research during the summer in a Spanish-speaking country.