French Studies


Professors Emeriti
Arnolds Grava, Ph.D.
  University of Nebraska
 Robert W. Greene, Ph.D.
  University of Pennsylvania
 Martin Kanes, Ph.D.
  University of Pennsylvania
 Frederick W. Moore, Ph.D.
  Yale University
 Raymond J. Ortali, Ph.D.
  University of Michigan
 Herman P. Salomon, Ph.D.
  New York University

 George V. Santoni, Ph.D.
  University of Colorado

 Jean-François Brière, Ph.D.
  York University
 David Wills, Doctorat
  Université de Paris-Sorbonne Nouvelle
 Mary Beth Winn, Ph.D.
  Yale University

Associate Professors
 Susan Blood, Ph.D.
  Johns Hopkins University
 Brett Bowles, Ph.D.
  Pennsylvania State University
 Eloise A. Brière, Ph.D.
  University of Toronto
 Cynthia A. Fox, Ph.D.
  Indiana University, Bloomington

 Veronique Martin, A.B.D.
  University at Albany
Adjuncts (estimated): 3
Teaching Assistants (estimated): 2

French Studies offers a wide range of courses in language, literature, civilization, mass media, Francophone studies, French cinema as well as in business French. The program combines innovative and traditional approaches leading to teaching, international trade, graduate work or other career objectives requiring a comprehensive background in French studies.

Full B.A. and M.A. and Ph.D. programs in French are available as well as a combined B.A./M.A. program.

A number of courses of general interest, given in English and requiring no knowledge of French, are also regularly scheduled.

Graduates enter careers in teaching, government service, translating, editing, interpreting, library science, international business, foreign service and computer-related technologies. Any field of work that requires a broad liberal education, linguistic skill and a knowledge of French-speaking cultures will offer job opportunities for majors. Combinations with particularly strong employment potential are French Studies and economics, political science and business.

Special Programs and Opportunities
The University maintains summer, semester and year-long exchange programs in France with the University of Montpellier, a program which provides students an opportunity to study French language at any level (no language prerequisite), literature and culture as well as business and economics in either French or English. An array of programs are available for study elsewhere in France, Quebec and other French-speaking parts of the world. The Office of International Education provides students with guidance in choosing the right program.

Opportunities to use French and to exchange ideas outside of class are provided through Cercle Français, lecture and film series, and other activities.

Paris Chamber of Commerce Exam The French Studies Program trains students to take both the written and oral parts of the international exam offered by the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Diplôme supérieur francais des affaires) on the Albany campus, when numbers warrant it. Recipients of the “Diplôme supérieur” enhance their employment potential in international business and management.

Language Placement: How do I know what level French is for me?
Students wishing to enroll in French for the first time at the University at Albany should enroll in French 101 if they have never studied French before. Students should use the following guidelines in selecting the appropriate course. Please note that students taking a lower level course after having completed a course at a higher level will not receive graduation credits for that course.

A FRE 101 Students who have no previous experience with French or whose experience is the equivalent of less than one year of high school level French.
A FRE 102 Students who have completed one year of high school level French or its equivalent.
A FRE 221 Students who have completed two years of high school level French or its equivalent.
A FRE 222 Students who have completed three years of high school level French or its equivalent. These students should see the Undergraduate Adviser to discuss the possibility of majoring or minoring in French.
A FRE 301 Students who have completed four years of high school level French or its equivalent. These students should see the Undergraduate Adviser to discuss the possibility of majoring or minoring in French.


  1. Students may elect to enroll one level higher or lower than the level suggested by the above guidelines. Factors which could be taken into consideration in making this decision are: the length of time which has elapsed since last formal study of French; additional travel or home experience with the language; quality of previous program of study; grades earned (overall performance) in previous study. Note, however, that the Language Placement rules of the Undergraduate Bulletin state that A FRE 101 may not be taken for credit by students who have taken three years of high school French or passed the Regents examination within the last five years.
  2. Students who wish to be placed more than one level higher or lower than the placement suggested by these guidelines must have written permission from the Language Sequence Coordinator.
  3. Students who have completed A FRE 200 or 221 through the University in High School Program should enroll in A FRE 222; students who have completed A FRE 210 or A FRE 222 should enroll in A FRE 301.
  4.  Students who have received Advanced Placement (AP) credit should see the Language Sequence Coordinator to discuss their program of study.
  5.  Students whose experience with French has not been primarily through organized study in an American high school setting should consult with the Language Sequence Coordinator or the Undergraduate Adviser for help in selecting an appropriate class.

Students are strongly encouraged to see the Language Sequence Coordinator if they feel they are in the wrong class or if they have any questions about placement. Decisions to change courses should be made no later than the fourth week of classes.

Degree Requirements for the Major in French

General Program B.A.: a minimum of 36 credits above A FRE 222. These include: 21 credits of core courses (A FRE 301, 306, 340Z, 341Z, 355, 360, 461Z); 15 credits of elective courses at the 300 level and/or 400 level, including at least 6 credits at the 400 level. A FRE 306, 355, and at least one 400-level course must be taken in residence at the Albany campus. Credits earned through study abroad programs will not fulfill this requirement.

Teacher Education Program
To obtain teacher certification, students must complete the French major plus an M.A. in Education, according to New York State Education Department regulations for teacher certification. Students interested in teaching as a profession should contact the Pathways Into Education (PIE) Center at 518-442-3529.

Honors Program in French

The honors program in French is designed to promote opportunities for advanced work to highly motivated, mature undergraduate majors and prepare them to do independent work. Students may apply for admission to the Honors Program after the beginning of the second semester of their sophomore year. To gain admission to the program students must have formally declared a major in French and have completed at least 12 credits toward their major, including A FRE 341 and 355. In addition, they must have an overall GPA of at least 3.25, and 3.50 in their major, both of which must be maintained in order to graduate with honors.

Students must complete a minimum of 40 credits, including a 4 credit Honors Thesis (A FRE 497) as well as the 36 credits normally required for the major. Of these 36 credits, 9 must be electives at the 400 level.

Combined B.A./M.A. Program

The combined B.A./M.A. program in French provides an opportunity for students of recognized academic ability and educational maturity to fulfill integrated requirements of the undergraduate and master’s degree programs from the beginning of their junior year. A carefully designed program can permit a student to earn the B.A. and M.A. degrees within nine semesters.

The combined program requires a minimum of 138 credits, of which at least 30 must be graduate credits. In qualifying for the B.A., students must meet all University and college requirements, including the requirements for the major listed previously, the minor requirement, general education requirements, the minimum 90-credit liberal arts and sciences requirement and residency requirements. In qualifying for the M.A., students must meet all University and college requirements as outlined in the Graduate Bulletin, including completion of a minimum of 30 graduate credits, and any other conditions such as a research seminar, thesis, comprehensive examination, professional experience and residency requirements. Up to 12 graduate credits may be applied simultaneously to both the B.A. and M.A. programs.

Students may apply for admission to the combined degree program in French at the beginning of their junior year or after the successful completion of 56 credits. A cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher and three supportive letters of recommendation from faculty are required for consideration. In exceptional cases, students with more than 100 undergraduate credits may apply to the program for exemption from the 100-credit rule.