French Studies at Rice is a truly global program. French is spoken not only in France and across large parts of Europe, but also in Canada, the Caribbean and many parts of Africa — from Martinique to Algeria, Morocco, Senegal to Madagascar and Mauritius. The major in French Studies is devoted to the artistic, intellectual and cultural history not just of France, but also many other French-speaking cultures.
The approach of the French Studies Program is interdisciplinary and global. We mobilize literary and cultural studies, history, political economy, philosophy, the study of women and gender, and the visual arts. Our courses cover a broad range of subjects: from the medieval period to the nineteenth century, World War II, colonialism and the postcolonial period to contemporary cinema. In all our courses, French language acquisition is an integral component.
Our faculty values broad conversation with our humanist colleagues and the collaborations made possible by our larger Department of Classical and European Studies. In this same spirit, we work hard to encourage our students to enrich their studies through independent research and writing and through studying abroad.
During their senior year, outstanding French Studies majors are invited to complete an honors thesis in close collaboration with a faculty member of their choice on a topic of interest to them. And all our students are encouraged to study in allied programs in Paris and Aix-en-Provence, and in any country where French is spoken.
For all such programs, we are able to support our students with a variety of generously funded fellowships. We ask that courses required for the major (and at least two of the required 400-level courses) be taken at Rice, but we accept for credit other courses taken abroad that have been preapproved by our program director.
Any student can enroll in French Studies courses on the 300 and 400 level. Students who feel unsure whether to take a 200-level or a 300-level course are strongly encouraged to speak with any of the French Studies faculty. Students who wish to enroll in any introductory language courses on the 100 and 200 level are required to take the language placement test in the Center for Languages and Intercultural Communication. The majority of our courses are offered entirely in French, but we do offer a few in English. We also recommend that students take courses in English that enrich the major and are taught in allied fields beyond French studies. From all such courses, two may count toward the major with permission from the department.
THE FRENCH CLUB
French Club — The French Club aims to foster a passion for French language and culture among members of the Rice University community by hosting cultural events, French movie nights, museum excursions, and weekly French conversation practice. We also provide information about studying abroad and the French classes offered each semester. If you’re a Francophone, a Francophile, or just interested in learning more about French culture, like us on Facebook to hear about our upcoming events!
STUDENT PRIZES AND AWARDS
The André Bourgeois Award
This award is given to the most outstanding graduating major in French Studies. The current value of the award is $250.
PI DELTA PHI
This national French honorary founded in 1906 at the University of California at Berkeley is the highest academic honor in the field of French. The purpose of the Society is to recognize outstanding scholarship in the French language and Francophone literatures, to increase the knowledge and appreciation of Americans for the cultural contributions of the French-speaking world, and to stimulate and to encourage French and francophone cultural activities. There are currently more than 370 chapters of the Society in the United States and two representative chapters at the American Universities in Paris and Aix-en-Provence in France. The chapter at Rice University was founded in 1930. Students with excellent standing in advanced French courses are invited to join.