Francophone, Italian and Germanic Studies: French and Francophone Studies, BA

French and Francophone Studies introduces students to the full span of historical and cultural traditions from France and the French-speaking world. Language courses from introductory to advanced promote linguistic fluency and cultural competency, and upper-level seminars explore a range of topics pertaining to language, literature, culture, history, visual arts, and media.

The department strongly encourages study abroad and sponsors a summer program in France (Penn Summer in Tours), as well as semester/year programs in Paris, Lyon, Grenoble, and Cameroon.

The minimum total course units for graduation in the FIGS major is 32. Double majors may entail more course units.

For information about the General Education requirements, please visit the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum page.

College General Education Requirements and Free Elective
Foundational Approaches + Sectors 1 + Free Electives20
Major Requirements
FIGS 1000Seeing Differently: Transcultural Approaches to Francophone, Italian, and Germanic Studies1
FREN 0400Intermediate French II1
FREN 1000Advanced French1
At least 4 c.u. of electives must come from among the three following categories with a minimum of 1 in each:4
Advanced Language
Advanced French Grammar and Composition
Advanced French Conversation and Composition
French Phonetics
French Phonetics
Advanced Intensive French Composition and Conversation
Advanced French Language and Culture
Advanced French language course at an approved study abroad program
Advanced French: Translation
History and Culture Surveys
French History and Culture to 1774
French History and Culture 1789-1945
Contemporary France
Contemporary France
Le français dans le monde/French in the World
Literature and Film Surveys
Masterpieces of French Cinema
Perspectives in French Literature: Love and Passion
Perspectives in French Literature: The Individual and Society
Francophone Literature and Film
French Seminars 3000 Level or Higher2
Literary Translation: Theory and Practice
Humor and Comedy in French and Francophone Culture
Topics in French Culture
Medieval Literature
The Enlightenment
French Literature of the 19th Century
Crime and Punishment: Hugo’s Les Misérables in Context
Paris: lire la ville, écrire la ville
Literature of the Twentieth Century
Animal Words, Animal Worlds: Introduction to Zoopoetics
Horror Cinema
French & Italian Modern Horror
The French Novel of the Twentieth Century
Modern French Theater
Paris in Film
Francophone Postcolonial Cultures
French Caribbean Thought & Literature
The remaining 3 CU can come from any combination of: 23
First-Year Seminars
Laughter and Tricky Topics
Decolonizing French Food
The Fantastic Voyage from Homer to Science Fiction
Additional courses taught in French at the 1000-level or higher, including:
French for Business I
French for Business II
From West Africa to West Philadelphia: Creating Community in the Francophone Diaspora
Paris during the German Occupation and its Places of [Non-]Memory
Paris during the German Occupation and its Places of [Non-]Memory
Women’s Writing in French: 19th-21st Centuries
Independent Study
Courses taught in French at approved study abroad programs
Major-related courses in FIGS or other departments
Coursework in another foreign language relevant to the student's interests
Total Course Units32

You may count no more than one course toward both a Major and a Sector requirement. For Exceptions, check the Policy Statement.


The remaining 3 c.u. of electives can be any combination of:

  • Additional courses taught in French at the 1000-level or higher.
  • Courses taught in French at approved study abroad programs.
  • FREN 3999: Independent Study.
  • FREN 4000: Honors Research Project.
  • Major-related courses taught in English, either in FIGS or in other departments.
  • Coursework in another foreign language relevant to the student’s interests.
  • First-Year Seminars counted retroactively.


Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.4 in the Major.

FREN 4000Honors Thesis1

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2024 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.