French (BA)

Department Website

Program Description

The Department of French Literature, Thought, and Culture welcomes students with no previous knowledge of French as well as students who have already studied French in secondary school or at another university and wish to maintain their language skills and/or study the literature, cultures, or thought traditions of France and the Francophone world. Advanced courses are also suitable for native speakers or heritage speakers of the language. With its emphasis on the diversity of the French-speaking world and on urgent questions such as gender, race, and the environment, the department’s course offerings are constantly evolving. The department offers a variety of majors and minors, all of which complement a wide variety of other majors, including but not limited to art history, comparative literature, economics, history, international relations, journalism, music, and psychology. Departmental majors and minors are strongly encouraged to study away at NYU Paris, located in the heart of the historic Latin Quarter.

After graduation, French majors follow a wide range of career paths. Among recent graduates are: a diplomatic policy advisor for the United Nations, an editorial project manager, a fashion journalist, an international development consultant, a manager in an international real estate firm, and others who work in the US Foreign Service, art museums, and NGOs. Other popular post-graduation pathways include graduate school (French, art history, linguistics, etc.), medical school, and law school.

At the Maison Française, students can attend films, lectures, concerts, and Café et Conversation events, as well as other undergraduate events throughout the academic year. The Department of French Literature, Thought, and Culture hosts a chapter of Pi Delta Phi, the national French honor society. The NYU French Club, run by and for our undergraduates, fosters camaraderie and increases interest in French language and Francophone cultures within the NYU community.

General Information

The prerequisite for admission to the major is completion of FREN-UA 12 Intermediate French II or FREN-UA 20 Intens Intermed French with a grade of B- or better (or an equivalent or higher course or exam, such as AP French Language and Culture). All students who wish to major in French must declare with the department and consult a departmental adviser prior to any registration.

The Director of Undergraduate Studies assigns each major a permanent faculty adviser within the department. Majors must meet with their adviser at least once per semester to obtain clearance for the following semester as well as advising on the progress of their major. When students are abroad, advising takes place virtually.

No grade lower than C may be counted toward the major (courses graded Pass/Fail do not count). The overall GPA in all French courses must be 2.0 or above.

Students in Global Liberal Studies pursuing a major in French may count the French Senior Seminar toward their GLS Senior Seminar requirement.  In addition, any French or Francophone literature course with substantive transnational content in the French Department counts as meeting the GLS Advanced Global Cultures course requirement.

Students in Steinhardt’s program in Media, Culture, and Communication (MCC) who are also pursuing a major in French may count one four-credit discovery course taken for the French major as simultaneously fulfilling 4 credits toward the 12-credit restricted elective requirement for the MCC major. In addition, students double-majoring in MCC and French will be able to count up to three discovery courses taken at NYU Paris toward the French major (as opposed to two).

Transfer students must complete at least 20 credits of the 36 FREN-UA credits required for the French major at the College of Arts and Science and/or at NYU Paris.

For all questions about the French major, please email

Advanced Standing in French

A student who receives a score of 4 or 5 on the French Language and Culture Advanced Placement examination has completed the equivalent of French Grammar and Composition (FREN-UA 30). The student’s CAS adviser will work with the student to award transfer credit for FREN-UA 30, making the student eligible for upper level FREN-UA courses. The student receives 4 credits and is exempted from the CAS language requirement. A student with such a score who is interested in continuing to study French should enroll in Written Contemporary French (FREN-UA 105) and visit the French department for advising. Please note that if a student with a score of 4 or 5 on the French Language and Culture AP exam enrolls in FREN-UA 30 (or a lower-level FREN-UA course), the credits awarded for the AP exam score will be lost. Students with creditable International Baccalaureate or Advanced Level results in French should consult the tables in the admission section of this Bulletin, or consult their CAS adviser.

Honors Program


A student must spend a minimum of three full semesters in residence at the College of Arts and Science. Attendance at NYU Paris counts toward such residence. The student must maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.65 and a major GPA of 3.65 or higher. Students who wish to pursue honors should apply to the departmental director of honors during their junior year.

Requirements for Honors

In addition to completion of all major requirements including one FREN-UA 991 Senior Seminar or FREN-UA 992 Senior Seminar, candidates for French honors must also enroll in a 6-credit course sequence: FREN-UA 995 Honors Thesis, a 2-credit course taken in the fall semester of the senior year, and in two 2-credit independent studies (FREN-UA 997 Independent Study, FREN-UA 998 Independent Study) in the fall and in the spring of senior year under the supervision of a thesis advisor. This honors thesis course sequence cannot count toward completion of the credit requirements for the French major.

The Honors Thesis

A work of scholarship and/or criticism in the field of French or Francophone literature or culture. The thesis is ordinarily written in French (25 pages minimum) or in English (40 to 60 pages). The seminar professor and the thesis adviser determine, based on this work and an oral defense, whether to recommend the student for an honors degree. A grade of at least A- is required for the award of honors in French.


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