Department Learning Goals

The Department of French and Francophone Studies is part of the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics (FLL) of the Georgetown University College of Arts & Sciences, an academic entity that throughout its distinguished institutional history has promoted the study and understanding of a wide array of international languages, literatures, and cultures. Within the FLL, ours is a large and diverse undergraduate department that focuses on the integration of language learning with a dynamic access to multiple facets of France and the Francophone world. Our international faculty includes experts in metropolitan France, Sub-Saharan and North Africa, French-Speaking Canada, Belgium, and the Caribbean.

The Department of French and Francophone Studies is committed to the enhancement – through the development of intercultural literacy in the broadest sense – of a liberal arts education at once ethically based and globally contextualized, one that encourages ongoing intellectual questioning, social awareness, and personal and professional growth. Indeed, Georgetown Department of French and Francophone Studies alumni have successfully pursued careers in education, publishing, law, medicine, government, and business.

The Department’s overarching learning goal is to give students the linguistic competency, cultural literacy, writing and research skills, and critical thinking abilities that will benefit them in a variety of professions both here and abroad. To that end, French majors and minors will engage with the Department’s four central curricular dimensions (listed below), each of which has distinct yet interrelated learning goals and outcomes.

French majors enjoy a number of curricular opportunities that enable them to achieve high levels of linguistic and cultural competency that meet and often surpass those of their peers from other top-tier institutions. After achieving linguistic proficiency, French majors pursue study of French and Francophone cultures and literature, as well as specialized areas of post-advanced language learning. Moreover, French majors are required to study abroad in a French-speaking country. Eligible French majors also have the opportunity to write a Senior Honors Thesis, which serves as a capstone for their studies and allows them to consolidate and further refine their research and writing skills.

French minors achieve proficiency in the French language and then further develop their understanding of the French and Francophone world. By complementing their primary fields of study with a French minor, students will bolster their linguistic, cultural, and literary knowledge and further their exploration of the humanities. Students’ enhanced exposure to French and Francophone cultures comes coupled with more refined writing, research, and critical thinking abilities.

Because writing is integrated and emphasized across our curriculum, students will fulfill the integrated Writing Requirement through the fulfillment of major and minor requirements.

I. Introductory through Advanced-Level Language Learning Courses
Goal: The introductory through advanced-level language learning program has as its overarching educational goal to promote the attainment of linguistic competency and cultural literacy. Students will use their linguistic and analytical skills to engage French and Francophone cultures in a meaningful way.
Outcome: Students will demonstrate a high degree of fluency and proficiency in French, both in their oral and written production and also in their reading and listening competencies. 

II. Mid and Upper-Division French and Francophone Culture Courses
Goal: Our French and Francophone culture courses integrate approaches and methods from film studies, literary studies, cultural studies, and the social sciences. Through study of authentic documents and artifacts (such as ethnographies, political and historical tracts, critical essays, fiction, testimony, reportage, images, non-fiction film, and feature film), our culture courses stress the wide varieties of meaning created and communicated through observable linguistic and cultural practices. The primary goal of these courses is to complement linguistic mastery with a critical appreciation of the specificities of the targeted Francophone cultures.
Outcome: Students will produce critical essays, oral exposés, and research papers that demonstrate they are informed citizens of the contemporary globalized world. Furthermore, students’ work will show that they grasp the major social, cultural, and political stakes of the French and Francophone world in the twenty-first century. Students’ research papers will also demonstrate an ability to analyze a wide variety of documents, situating those documents in relevant cultural contexts.

III. Mid and Upper-Division French and Francophone Literature Courses
Goal: The French and Francophone literature courses give students a broad understanding of literary movements and literary history, focusing on the work of noteworthy authors from a variety of periods, traditions, and genres. Our literature courses afford students the opportunity to gain a nuanced appreciation of literary esthetics, to study the mechanics of narrative discourse, and to deepen cross-cultural and/or interdisciplinary understanding. The literary curriculum supports the Department’s mission to provide students with a rigorous and comprehensive training in the French language, thereby offering them the opportunity to acquire the high degree of cultural literacy necessary to achieve high proficiency.
Outcome: Students will produce critical essays, oral exposés, and research papers that demonstrate a solid understanding of the major currents of the French literary and artistic traditions, from the medieval era through the present day. Students’ work will also show an ability to analyze discourse with the goal of grasping the literary, artistic, and ideological stakes of texts from a variety of genres, including the novel, autobiography, theater, poetry, and essays.

IV. Courses in Post-Advanced Language Learning and Language-Centered Expression
Goal: The Department’s post-advanced language learning and language-centered expression courses have as their goal the continued refinement of linguistic knowledge and cross-cultural literacy through the study of particular content areas, including theater and performance, phonology and linguistics, and French for pedagogical and professional purposes.
Outcome: Students will produce critical essays, research papers, and oral exposés that demonstrate a mastery not only of standard linguistic usages but also of appropriate professional discursive structures. For theater and performance courses, students will perform dramatic readings of French theatrical works and will demonstrate familiarity with major currents in French dramaturgy.