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Announcements and Activities



The French Section at Pomona College offers a wide array of courses taught by experienced and distinguished faculty. Enrollment in language classes is limited, ensuring that all students receive a great deal of individual attention and can be fully involved in class discussions. We use the communicative method, stressing the active use of French in real-life situations with practical vocabulary, an inductive approach to grammar and hands-on activities. Both our language and literature courses use multimedia resources, with an emphasis on film, visual arts and the internet. Our transitional courses and upper-level seminars explore a rich variety of material—from the great works of French literature (Molière, Rousseau, Proust, Beckett, Sartre, et al) to the latest in French popular culture (advertising, film, hip hop music, etc.). In all of our classes, we stress rigorous thought and develop students’ ability to speak and write effectively. Students majoring in French become familiar with a range of contemporary approaches to language, literature and culture including political theory and philosophy, feminism, psychoanalysis and cultural and film studies.

Our students are as multidisciplinary as our faculty. Many have double majored in International Relations, Economics, English, Biology, Chemistry, Religious Studies, Public Policy Analysis, Mathematics, and Environmental Studies. Most students spend at least a semester at one of our Study Abroad French-speaking programs—in France (Paris, Toulouse, Montpelier) or in francophone Africa (Cameroon, Senegal and Morocco. Pomona’s program in Romance Languages is also enhanced by a state-of-the-art multimedia laboratory, the Foreign Language Resource Center, with integrated computer, audio, and visual components, including interactive video discs and computer-assisted language programs. Students can further improve their command of French and knowledge of French culture by participating in the programs at the Oldenborg Center for Modern Languages and International Relations, which include daily language tables, study breaks, lectures, a French film series and other cultural programming. They may also apply to live in the French section of Oldenborg where a college-aged native French speaker teaches conversation courses and organizes cultural activities on and off-campus.   

Students majoring in French have been accepted into the most prestigious graduate and professional programs, including medical school, law school as well as Ph.D. programs in French at Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Duke, UCLA and Brown. Many go on to live and work in France and other French-speaking countries.
The major in French is designed to assist students in achieving a superior level of linguistic fluency in French and cultural competency through the study of French literature and culture. Students majoring in French are required to complete major requirements and senior exercises as described below. They are also expected to participate in the Study Abroad Program for a semester and to reside in Oldenborg Center for one year (usually their second year).


Upon graduation, French majors should be able to achieve the following objectives:

  1. demonstrate advanced competence in written and spoken French.
  2. demonstrate the ability to read critically, interpret analytically, and write   coherently about texts produced in the French-speaking world:
    1. identify literary figures and devices and describe their function.
    2. compare and contrast analyses and interpretations of different literary and cultural texts.
  3. identify and evaluate the specific nature of a wide array of literary genres.
  4. demonstrate familiarity with basic critical methodological approaches in the study of these genres, such as close reading, socio-historical contextualization, and literary, political, psychoanalytic and cultural theory
  5. demonstrate knowledge of literary and cultural traditions, such as major 
    movements, writers, and works of France and the French-speaking world
  6. produce a senior thesis/paper with a clear thesis statement, a logical structure, appropriate evidence and persuasive analysis.
  7. demonstrate an understanding of basic elements of scholarly research and writing
    1. locate, evaluate and incorporate material relevant to the research project .
    2. present the bibliography in proper scholarly format.
  8. articulate an argument in an effective and convincing manner in formal spoken French.