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Studying French language and culture opens many doors both personally and professionally.

French is an official language in dozens of countries around the world including, France, Canada, Gabon, Haiti, Belgium, Senegal, Switzerland, and Cameroon, just to name a few. And French is used as a language of culture, communication and commerce in many other countries across the world as well. French is the fifth most common language globally with more than 300 million speakers. 

French students at UWM develop a global perspective and a better understanding of cultural diversity on a global scale. A French degree can serve as a gateway to a wide variety of career opportunities in business, finance, tech, marketing, journalism, translation, hospitality, architecture, engineering, the arts, government, and more.

As students move through the French curriculum, they develop greater fluency and use their knowledge of French to explore the cultures, arts, societies, literature, history, and politics of French speaking people from around the world. In almost all of the French program’s courses, students read, write about, and discuss course topics entirely in French.

Many students studying French at UWM spend time studying abroad in a French speaking country and often find that immersing themselves in the language and culture of another country can be an extremely enriching intellectual and personal experience. 

Students who enter UWM already at an advanced French level can earn both a bachelor’s and master’s in 5 years (instead of 6) in French and Francophone literatures and cultures or in Translation and Interpretation. 

Student with no previous experience in French will start in the introductory French language class; those who have studied French in high school should take the placement exam to determine if they can start at a higher level. Students who place in a higher-level course who subsequently complete that course with a “B” or better may receive retroactive credits for the courses that were skipped. 

Program Type

Major

Program Format

On Campus
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Architecture student Alanna was hired before graduation and works for Excel Engineering as a team designer. She says, “I work with a team to bring ideas to paper and design to construction.” (UWM Photo/Elora Hennessey)
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A double major in political science and communication, Sandra started her first full-time job as an administrative assistant/paralegal in the Milwaukee County Court coordinators office. (UWM Photo/Marcelo Martinez)
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Biochemistry major Matida was hired full-time with nonprofit Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin and leads the Dane County team for Project Recovery. (UWM Photo/Troye Fox)
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Esrom was hired as the dance director at the Fine Arts Institute at East High School in Green Bay. Esrom is graduating with a MFA for Dance Performance and Choreography. (UWM Photo/Marcelo Martinez)
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Blake was hired by Rockwell in the sales and engineering department. Blake is a mechanical engineer and interned at Rockwell in Shanghai. (UWM Photo/Elora Hennessey)

Major Requirements

The College of Letters and Science requires that students attain at least a 2.0 GPA on all credits in the major attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.0 GPA on all major credits attempted, including any transfer work.

The major in French consists of 30 credits, at least 15 numbered above 303 taken in residence at UWM.

Lower division courses
Select one of the following:3
Views of France:
First-Year Seminar:
Conversation and Composition: Intermediate Level
Complete the following three courses: 1
FRENCH 324Contemporary French Language and Culture3
FRENCH 325Intensive Grammar and Usage3
FRENCH 332Reading French Texts3
French upper-division electives
Select 18 credits from the following:18
Literature of the French-Speaking World in Translation: 2
Phonetics
French Immersion: Advanced
Growing Up French 3
Advanced Written Expression
Castles, Cathedrals, and Common People: The Foundations of French Culture 3
Royalty, Reason, and Revolution: The Golden Age of French Culture 3
Reaction and Innovation: French Culture of the 19th and 20th Centuries 3
Seminar in Literature of the Francophone World: 3
Seminar in French and Francophone Cultures: 3
Seminar in French Literature: 3
Institutions and Culture of Contemporary France 3
Cinema of the French-Speaking World: 3
Topics in French and Francophone Studies in Translation: 2
Internship in French
Seminar on Masterpieces of Literature Written in French: 3
Seminar in Contemporary French Literature: 3
Seminar in French Language: 3
Total Credits30
1

These courses may be taken in any order, including simultaneously.

2

Only one course 'in translation' can be counted toward the 18 credits needed from this group to fulfill the major.

3

Any of these designated courses can be used to satisfy the research requirement of the College of Letters and Science. Students enrolling in one of these courses and intending to use it to fulfill the research requirement should inform their instructor at the beginning of the semester.

Additional requirements

All French majors are required to pass an advanced language proficiency examination, which they are advised to take in the second-to last semester of their BA.

Sample Study Plan

Year 1
Fall Credits
ENGLISH 101
Introduction to College Writing
3
Math 103 or 105 (QL-A)
3
FRENCH 103
First-Semester French
4
L&S Humanities, not French
3
L&S Social Science
3
Spring Credits
ENGLISH 102
College Writing and Research (OWC-A)
3
PHILOS 211
Elementary Logic (HU) (QL-B) (formal reasoning)
3
FRENCH 104
Second-Semester French
4
L&S Natural Science
3-5
Arts GER
3
Year 2
Fall Credits
OWC-B course
3
FRENCH 203
Third-Semester French (Int'l)
3
L&S Natural Science with lab
3-5
L&S Social Science/Cultural Diversity
3
Elective
3
Spring Credits
L&S Social Science
3
FRENCH 204
Fourth-Semester French (Int'l)
3
L&S Natural Science
3-5
FRENCH 303
Conversation and Composition: Intermediate Level (HU)
3
Elective
3
Year 3
Fall Credits
FRENCH 324
Contemporary French Language and Culture (HU)
3
FRENCH 325
Intensive Grammar and Usage
3
L&S Social Science
3
L&S Natural Science
3-5
Elective
3
Spring Credits
FRENCH 332
Reading French Texts
3
French 350 or above
3-5
L&S upper-level
3
Elective
3
Elective
3
Year 4
Fall Credits
FRENCH 430
Reaction and Innovation: French Culture of the 19th and 20th Centuries
3
French 350 or above
3-5
French 350 or above
3-5
Elective
3
Elective
3
Spring Credits
French 428 or 429
3
French 350 or above
3-5
L&S upper-level
3
Elective
3
Elective
3

Advising

The French Faculty Advisor works closely with students to develop an individual course of study that fulfills program requirements, prepares them to meet their professional and educational goals, and incorporates opportunities to use French outside of the classroom when possible, including during international study abroad experiences or internships. 

Letters & Science Advising

During your time at UWM, you may have multiple members of your success team, including advisors, peer mentors, and success coaches. Letters and Science students typically work with at least two different types of advisors as they pursue their degrees: professional College Advisors and Faculty Advisors. Departmental Faculty Advisors focus on the major while L&S College Advisors advise across your entire degree program.

College Advisors are located in Holton Hall and serve as your primary advisor. They are your point person for your questions about navigating college and completing your degree. College Advisors will:

  • assist you in defining your academic and life goals;
  • help you create an educational plan that is consistent with those goals;
  • assist you in understanding curriculum, major and degree requirements for graduation, as well as university policies and procedures;
  • provide you with information about campus and community resources and refer you to those resources as appropriate; and 
  • monitor your progress toward graduation and completion of requirements.

Faculty Advisors mentor students in the major and assist them in maximizing their development in the program. You will begin working with a Faculty Advisor when you declare your major. Faculty Advisors are an important partner and will:

  • help you understand major requirements and course offerings in the department; 
  • explain opportunities for internships and undergraduate research and guide you in obtaining those experiences; and 
  • serve as an excellent resource as you consider potential graduate programs and career paths in your field.

Students are encouraged to meet with both their College Advisor and Faculty Advisor at least once each semester. Appointments are available in-person, by phone or by video. 

Currently enrolled students should use the Navigate website to make an appointment with your assigned advisor or call (414) 229-4654 if you do not currently have an assigned Letters & Science advisor. Prospective students who haven't enrolled in classes yet should call (414) 229-7711 or email let-sci@uwm.edu.

Get Advising
  • Currently enrolled majors with questions about general degree requirements? Make an appointment with your assigned Letters & Science College Advisor through Navigate or email your advisor.
  • Currently enrolled majors with questions about the major specifically? Email your faculty advisor or the department directly.
  • Currently enrolled UWM students not yet in the College of Letters & Science? Email ls-advising@uwm.edu.
  • Haven’t started classes yet at UWM? Email our admissions counselor at let-sci@uwm.edu
Letters & Science Degree Requirements

In addition to the requirements for the major (shown on the "Requirements" tab of this page), students must fulfil a number of other requirements. Students must take a minimum of 120 credits to graduate, and these can be thought of as falling into one of three buckets. Note that some classes can fall into more than one bucket at the same time:

  • Courses in the major (typically 30 to 40 credits for a bachelor of arts degree)
  • General requirements such as world language, English, Math, etc. (typically 40 to 55 credits)
  • Other elective courses or a minor (5 to 30 credits)

Students interested in French likely are interested in a career with global features. And that is a very possible outcome! The challenge is figuring out how and where you want to apply your French skills – Do you want to work in a business setting for an international company? Do you want to work within the U.S. or work abroad? Do you want to work directly to promote and teach French language and culture in an educational or social service setting? Do you want to use your French skills everyday in a public facing career in the hospitality or travel industry?

There are so many options, and you will need to research, explore and gain hands-in experience while in college to match your skills, knowledge and interests to jobs in the marketplace. 

Internships, research projects, and part-time jobs can help you determine which career path is right for you. French majors often find job opportunities in social research, business administration, marketing and market research, banking, social services, community development, health services, journalism, travel and tourism, sales, teaching, human resources/personnel management, corporate training, and fundraising.  

We encourage you to begin exploring career options when you declare your French major or at the start of your sophomore year, whichever comes first.   

Contact

Prospective Students (not yet enrolled at UWM)

Prospective students, contact our admissions counselor at let-sci@uwm.edu or 414-229-7711.

Current Students

General questions such as how to declare, how to change a major, general education requirements, etc. should be directed to the College advising office at ls-advising@uwm.edu or 414-229-4654.

Specific questions about French, such as research opportunities, internship opportunities, major requirements, etc., should be directed to Prof. Larry Kuiper.