French Area

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What’s special about French at UMBC?

In the interdisciplinary MLLI program, French students participate with students of other languages in a common core of three courses that stress linguistic and cultural analysis. Therefore, aside from acquiring proficiency in French language and knowledge of the cultures of France and the French-speaking world ( the Cajuns of Louisiana, the Caribbean, Canada, West Africa…), they also learn about the fascinating dynamics of languages and cultures in general.At UMBC the study of French is part of the major and minor programs of the department of Modern Languages, Linguistics & Intercultural Communication (MLLI). The MLLI faculty, which includes a unique combination of specialists in linguistics, sociology, cultural and literary studies, and pedagogy have been pioneers in developing an interdisciplinary curriculum. Most university language programs focus almost exclusively on language and literature. Not UMBC:

French courses address an exciting variety of cultural, sociological, and literary themes. UMBC French students learn about the histories, the cultures, and the social problems of the societies in which French is spoken. Classes in advanced French courses are small and offer the opportunity for individual interaction with professors.

French, an International Language

French is, after English, the most widely used lingua franca in the world. It has official status in 38 nations stretching from the Pacific (Vanuatu, Polynesia) to Africa (Senegal, Chad), North America (Haiti, Canada,) the Indian Ocean (Mauritius, Reunion), and, of course Europe (France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland). In addition, it is a widely used second language in places as far apart as Argentina, Morocco, Romania, and Vietnam. In other words, French is an extremely useful tool for anyone considering international contacts of any kind, and it is essential for Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. Finally, France certainly had the most longstanding and profound influence of any culture on the Anglo-American tradition. For this reason, the study of French language and culture is also a search for the roots of our own experience.

Major Track Options  
Students select either a one-language (French) or the Language and Literary Studies option.
One-Language Option (42 credits)

•  9 credits: MLL/LING/ENGL 190, MLL/LING 230, MLL 301 (Note: These core courses must be taken at UMBC)
•  6 credits: FREN 301, 302
•  12 credits Foundation Courses: FREN 310, 320, 330, 340
•  3 credits Experiential Learning: FREN 399
•  6 credits of elective FREN courses at the 300 or 400 level
•  6 credits of elective FREN courses at the 400 level

Up to 15 transfer credits may be applied to the major requirements, but at least two 400-level FREN courses must be taken at UMBC. Credit by exam for FREN 301 and 302 counts towards the 15 transfer credits allowed.

Suggested Sequence of French Courses in the Major

Semester 1: 310, 320, Elective, 4XX
Semester 2: 330, Elective, Elective, 4XX
Semester 3: 340, 310, Elective, 4XX
Semester 4: 320, Elective, Elective, 4XX

Minor Program (22 credits)

A minor in French combines well with any major. Speaking more than one language and knowing about more than one culture is a definite advantage in any career. Required courses are:

•  3 credits: one MLL core course: MLL/LING/ENGL 190, MLL/LING/ENGL 191, MLL/LING 230, MLL 301 (Note: All core courses must be taken at UMBC)
•  10 credits: FREN 202, 301302
•  9 credits of elective FREN courses at the 300 or 400 level

All candidates must complete at least three FREN courses at the 202-level or above at UMBC, according to placement.


Certificate in French Studies (17 credits)

•  FREN 201
•  FREN 202
•  FREN 301
Certificate electives (choose two):

•  MLL 205
•  MLL 215
•  MLL 219
•  MLL 250
•  MLL 319
•  Any FREN courses above 301

Note: All courses in fulfillment of the Certificate in Language Studies must be completed with a grade of “B” or higher.

All candidates must complete at least three FREN courses at the 202-level or above at UMBC, according to placement.


Espaces Series

About every two years, the French area sponsors a series of cultural events focusing on one area of the world in which French plays a significant role. The Espaces series usually includes two courses taught in French, a film course taught in English, lectures by distinguished visiting speakers, concerts, debates, and other events. Open to the entire community, Espaces offers UMBC French students a chance to deepen their understanding of the French language, cultural dynamics, and world affairs.

Espaces archive:
    Afrique Centrale/Central Africa (2017-2018)

    The Maghreb (2009-2010)
    French in the United States of America (2008-2009)
    Occitania (2004-2005)
    The Levant: Lebanon, Syria, Egypt (2002-2003) (pdf file)
    The French Caribbean (2000-2001) (pdf file)
    Canada and Quebec (1998–1999) (pdf file)
    West Africa (1995-96) (pdf file)


For further information about the MLLI French program, please contact French area coordinator Dr. Omar Ka.