As a French major, it is essential to study abroad in order to fully immerse yourself in the language and culture you are studying. Furthermore, after graduating, you are likely to be competing in a job market with native French speakers, so you will need to have the level of fluency that only living abroad can provide.
Study abroad options for the French major include opportunities for intensive language study, as well as courses taught in English, focusing on aspects of French culture and society. Whether you choose to spend a year in Paris, or some other Francophone locale, there are plenty of ways for you to earn credit towards your degree, while abroad!
As a French major, when you study abroad will depend on your level of French proficiency when you begin studying at the University of Iowa. It would be possible to do some study abroad programs, such as the one in Quebec, after only one semester of French. For most programs, however, you will need to have completed at least three semesters of French before you go abroad.
The director of the French Studies program, Michel Laronde, suggests that you study abroad as early as possible, as a French major, so that you don’t end up repeating the same courses abroad that you have already taken here (because each course you take can only count once towards the major). Make sure to meet with Michel to discuss this before you go abroad!
The undergraduate French Major may be completed with an emphasis in one of the following four tracks: Language, Literature and Culture, French and Arabic, or Teaching. For detailed descriptions of each track and its requirements, please refer to the French Department website.
Keep in mind that the last two courses for the French major must be completed at the University of Iowa, as must any course over the 150-level. All transfer work for application to the major will be evaluated on an individual basis by the faculty in charge of Study Abroad.
For the French Minor, up to 12 out of 15 credit hours can be completed abroad as non-UI credit. Some study abroad programs, such as the USAC program in Pau, and the Study in Montpellier program, count as UI credit!
Your level of fluency in French will have a lot of influence on which study abroad programs will be possible for you.
Be sure to consult with the French Department's Director of Study Abroad, Michel Laronde, before enrolling in courses abroad.
Some programs that we recommend for French majors are listed below. You might also want to browse the complete list of study abroad programs, in the programs search section of the University of Iowa’s Study Abroad website.
The Contemporary French Studies Program for students at intermediate level french and higher offered at the Paris Center for Critical Studies combines an interdisciplinary academic program on contemporary French society and culture (classes taught in French or English) with the opportunity to develop strong language skills. Contemporary social issues are discussed in courses about politics, Francophone cultures, and Muslim communities in Europe – related outings include participation in conferences and outside classes or observation in the streets and neighborhoods of the city. The program is administered by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) on behalf of a consortium of which The University of Iowa is a member. Participants join a group of students from other U.S. colleges and universities. UI students earn resident credit on this program. Program dates are late August to mid-December; late January to mid-May.
The Critical Studies Program emphasizes the analysis of literature, film, and other forms of visual expression through the use of contemporary critical theory. It is designed to allow students with advanced French language to explore the interaction among the fields of literature, aesthetics and psychoanalysis, and to examine the problems involved in such analysis. The language of instruction is French. Students enroll in a combination of special program courses and regular university courses.
The Paris Center for Critical Studies maintains strong relationships with the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3 and the Universite de Paris Diderot. Furthermore, the courses offered at the Center are taught by faculty drawn from the Parisian universities who are recognized researchers in their field. This program is administered by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) on behalf of a consortium of which The University of Iowa is a member. Participants join a group of students from other U.S. colleges and universities. UI students earn resident credit on this program.
The program is of interest to students, having the requisite language proficiency, in comparative literature and literary criticism, history, film studies, French and Francophone literatures, gender studies, philosophy, and the visual and performing arts.
Program Dates: Late August - mid-December; mid-January - May.
This program for intermediate or advanced intermediate students is designed to increase language ability, to provide knowledge of France and French culture, and, for students with an adequate level of French language, to provide the opportunity to take regular university classes alongside French students. The program offers intensive language coursework, humanities coursework and cultural activities throughout the semester. It includes a mandatory three day orientation in Paris prior to arrival in Rennes. The program is administered by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) on behalf of a consortium of which The University of Iowa is a member. Participants join a group of students from other U.S. colleges and universities and take classes at the University of Haute Bretagne’s center for foreign students alongside other internationals from around the world. UI students earn resident credit on this program.
Program Dates : August-December
This semester or year program of the University of Minnesota at Paul Valéry University in Montpellier offers options for students at beginning, intermediate, and advanced French language. Depending on their level, students take a prescribed program of intensive language and culture or select from advanced language and topics classes for International students. Students with high proficiency can choose one or more classes from the regular degree curriculum at Paul Valéry University. Housing options vary in cost and range from homestay, to apartment or residence halls. Academic and personal support as well as activities for cultural enrichment are provided by the on-site director and staff. The UM Learning Abroad Center also offers an optional course on Global Identity: Connecting Your International Experience with Your Future. This is a 1-credit online course to help you reflect on the cross-cultural experience and process it to facilitate presenting to others what you have learned. A pre-session (for students arriving in the fall only) strengthens students’ language skills before the semester begins.
Participants join a group of students from the University of Minnesota and other U.S. colleges and universities. UI students earn resident credit on this program.
Program dates mirror the U.S, calendar, early September to mid-December, and mid-January to mid-May.
This group program offers students the opportunity to concentrate on language development through intensive study at the Institute of French Studies of the University of Pau supplemented by courses, taught in english or French, designed specifically for the USAC group, in Civilization, Art History, Politics and Literature. Students with advanced proficiency can join other international students in Institute classes for the supplementary class(es.) Several group excursions and an optional one week tour in Paris provide enrichment; they earn no academic credit.
The program is administered by the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) of which the University of Iowa is a member and enrolls approximately 50 students from many U.S. colleges and universities. UI students earn resident credit for this program. For more information, visit USAC's web site and talk to a study abroad advisor.