French Undergraduate Program

The French and Francophone Studies undergraduate program provides students with the opportunity to pursue coursework in literature, culture, intellectual history, theory, and film. It aims to equip students with critical, analytical, communication, and writing skills through training in the French language utilizing the Stanford Language Center and through the variety of literature and culture courses offered by the department. The program prepares students for careers in business, social services, journalism, government, and graduate study in French. Students will embark on a transcontinental journey in French, traveling through both time and space to learn about the medieval world through ancient texts, song lyrics, and food. They will explore the classical and early modern periods through literary masterpieces, art, and history. They will acquire knowledge of great revolutions, from France to Haiti. Along the way, they will reflect on the human condition and the moral and political philosophies that underpin our contemporary world. From the most famous authors to the unsung heroes of these historical periods, students will analyze groundbreaking texts, films, and theories that have shaped France and the French-speaking world. Through this wide array of courses, students will develop interpretive and argumentative skills that will prepare them to become global citizens and thinkers.


A major in French requires students to enroll in a set of core courses offered by the department, to complete electives in the department, and to enroll in additional literature courses, or courses offered by other departments with approval from the Director of Undergraduate Studies. In their senior year, students will complete a Capstone project under the supervision of a faculty member and take an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) through the language center to assess their speaking ability in French. The Proficiency Notation appears on the official Stanford transcript and provides evidence of both oral and written advanced-level language proficiency. In addition, successful students will also receive an official certificate from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). More information can be found here.

French and Philosophy Subplan

Students may also enroll in the Philosophy and Literature subplan (65 units) and complete, under the supervision of a faculty member from the Department of French and Italian, one of the following (a) take one of the officially-designated Philosophy and Literature capstone seminars; (b) write an honors thesis (see the “Honors Program” for instructions); or (c) write a 5,000-word paper on a topic of their choosing, serving as the culmination of their work in the field. To make time to write the paper, students must enroll in a 3-unit, letter-grade independent study with a faculty member (or affiliate) in the Philosophy and Literature Focal Group. The paper must involve both philosophy and literature, and the topic must be approved by the faculty member by the add/drop deadline.

Honors Program

The department’s honors option offers motivated French majors the opportunity to write a senior honors thesis. For more information, please read a description of the program.


Students wishing to minor in French will enroll in a minimum of two literature courses from the FRENCH 130 sequence (8 units), a third course from the French department (4 units), and elective courses selected from the array of choices offered by the department and affiliated programs (12 units).

Before taking literature courses taught in French, students are encouraged to complete FRENLANG 124—which introduces them to composition, presentation, and writing—or successfully test above this level through the language center.

Elective options for both majors and minors include intermediate, and advanced language courses and all French and Francophone literature courses. Students may also select courses offered by other entities such as the Bing Overseas Studies Program in Paris taught in French, the Stanford Education as Self-Fashioning Program in the Digital Humanities, and the Structured Liberal Education programs; all of which may be counted toward the major with the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.


Declaring involves a few steps. First, complete the declaration worksheet for your major or minor. Remember that this form is simply a way to begin the conversation with your advisor and that you will not be bound to any electives that you initially choose. Next, meet with your advisor, discuss, and agree on a potential plan. When the declaration worksheet is complete, you can then declare on Axess. Finally, you must submit the approved declaration worksheet to the Undergraduate Student Services Officer for the DLCL.



The French program maintains contact with the Ecole Normale Supérieure, the Institut d’Etudes Politiques, and the Ecole Polytechnique.

Green Library’s French collection contains various resources for students. The Hoover Institute on War, Revolution, and Peace also includes materials on 20th-century France and French social and political movements.

The France-Stanford Center for Interdisciplinary Studies was founded in partnership with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It aims to bridge the disciplines of the humanities, social sciences, engineering, business, and law to address historical and contemporary issues. Its programs bring faculty and students from across Stanford’s departments and schools in contact with colleagues in France to explore issues of common intellectual concern. The center invites French-speaking scholars to offer courses or give lectures or seminars on campus. It facilitates internships for Stanford students in computer science and engineering in Sophia-Antipolis, France’s new high-tech center near Nice.

The Bing Overseas Studies Program in Paris offers undergraduates the opportunity to study in France during the Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters. It provides a wide range of academic options, including coursework at the Stanford center and at the University of Paris, independent study projects, and internships. In addition, the program promotes interactions with the local community through volunteering, homestays, and internships. The minimum language requirement for admission into Stanford in Paris is one year of French at the college level. In order to ensure that coursework and skills acquired abroad can be coordinated appropriately with their degree program, students should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies before and after attending the program. Detailed information, including program requirements and curricular offerings, may be obtained from the Bing Overseas Program in Paris website or the Overseas Studies Program Office in Sweet Hall.

The At Home Abroad House, 574 Governor’s Avenue, is an undergraduate student residence located in Yost that brings together Francophone, Italian and Slavic cultures, and languages. The At Home Abroad House offers a cross-cultural, intellectual, and social experience for students interested in developing awareness of our world in motion across languages and disciplines. It boasts a dynamic community of students and a range of cultural and social activities throughout the year, from cooking classes to museum excursions, film screenings, discussions with artists and scholars, and seminars on contemporary international issues.