French and Francophone Studies

Administrative Information

Undergraduate Adviser: Prof. Vincent Debaene, 501 Philosophy; 854-3522;

Program Office: 515 Philosophy; 854-2500 or 854-3208

Interdepartmental Committee on French and Francophone Studies

Gil Anidjar (Religion)
Hisham Aidi (International and Public Affairs)
Taoufik Ben-Amor (Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies)
Barry Bergdoll (Art History)
Susan Boynton (Music)
Jean Cohen (Political Science)
Matthew Connelly (History)
Peter Connor (French, Barnard)
Souleymane Bachir Diagne (French)
Mamadou Diouf (History)
Victoria de Grazia (History)
Madeleine Dobie (French)
Priscilla Ferguson (Sociology)
Karen Hansen (Music)

Irène Final-Honigan (European Institute)
Pierre Force (French)
Kaiama Glover (French, Barnard)
Martha Howell (History)
John Huber (Political Science)
Annette Insdorf (Film Studies)
Matthew Jones (History)
Mark Kesselman (Political Science)
Gregory Mann (History)
Samuel Moyn (History)
Glenda Rosenthal (European Institute)
Emmanuelle Saada (French, chair)
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (English and Comparative Literature)
Lisa Tiersten (History, Barnard)

The major in French and Francophone studies provides an interdisciplinary framework for the study of the history, literature, and culture of France and parts of the world in which French is an important medium of culture. Students explore the history and contemporary applications of concepts such as citizenship, national unity, secularism, and human rights, and explore central issues including universalism/relativism, tradition/modernity, and religion/state as they have developed in France and its colonies/former colonies since the 18th century.

Students take a series of required courses that includes French grammar and composition/stylistics, essential to achieving proficiency in French language, Introduction to French and Francophone Studies I and II, and the Senior Seminar. Having completed these courses, they take courses in related departments/programs, e.g. history, anthropology, political science, women's studies, human rights, art history, to fulfill the interdisciplinary portion of the major. To ensure methodological focus, three of these courses should be taken within a single field (e.g. history, music, anthropology, or political science), or in relation to a single issue or world region, e.g. West Africa.

Students who are interested in a more traditional French literature/language program should consider the major in French, in the French and Romance Philology section of this bulletin.

Study Abroad

Because a direct experience of contemporary French society is an essential part of the program, majors and concentrators are strongly encouraged to spend either a semester or a year at Reid Hall-Columbia University in Paris, or at another French/francophone university. During their time abroad, students take courses credited toward the major, and in some cases, also toward other majors (e.g. history, art history, political science).

Qualified students may apply to the Columbia/Institut d'études politiques de Paris (Sciences-Po) five-year BA/MA program. Students interested in this opportunity should speak to their undergraduate advisers and major adviser and contact the Office of Global Programs (OGP).

For more information on study abroad, consult the OGP website at, call 212-854-2559, or send an e-mail to For a list of approved study abroad programs, visit:


Located at 4 rue de Chevreuse, Paris, Reid Hall is administered by Columbia University. It offers semester and year-long programs of study, as well as summer courses.

Most students who study at Reid Hall take courses offered in the French university system (e.g. at the Sorbonne, Sciences-Po), as well as core courses offered at Reid Hall. Students begin their stay at Reid Hall with a month-long French immersion program. In their first semester, most students also take a course in academic writing in French that enables them to succeed at a high level in French university courses. Special Reid Hall opportunities include small joint seminars in which ten students from Reid Hall participate with ten French students in seminars devoted to topical issues.

For information on study abroad at Reid Hall, please see:

Departmental Honors

Majors who wish to be considered for departmental honors should consult with the director of undergraduate studies. To be eligible for consideration, the student must have a grade point average of at least 3.7 in courses for the major and have completed an approved senior thesis under the guidance of a faculty member at Columbia or Reid Hall. Normally no more than 10% of the graduating majors in the department each year receive departmental honors.

Undergraduate Prizes

The Department of French and Romance Philology awards the following prizes to students enrolled in French and French and Francophone studies courses:

  1. Prize for Excellence in French Studies: awarded to a highly promising student in an intermediate or advanced French course

  2. Senior French Prize: awarded to an outstanding graduating major