University of Sydney Handbooks - 2021 Archive

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French and Francophone Studies

About the major

French is spoken by over 300 million people all over the world. It is an official language in 29 countries and is widely used as the international language of diplomacy, notably in the United Nations and the European Union.

French has for centuries been a major language of international culture, and the French literary and artistic tradition is of great historical significance. In recent decades, French and Francophone critical thought has occupied a highly influential position in the theoretical discourse of the humanities and social sciences. The Department of French and Francophone Studies provides access to this global language and its rich culture and history.

Whatever your prior knowledge of French, the department provides pathways to a French and Francophone major. You can enrol in our Introductory, Intermediate or Advanced pathway. You will study French language and the history, societies, literatures and cultures of France and la Francophonie. In addition, you can spend a semester or a year on exchange in France, Switzerland or Canada.

Our units of study are led by academic researchers with expertise in a wide range of fields, including French and Francophone literature, cinema, visual arts, women’s writing, autobiographical writing, South Pacific literature and culture, digital humanities, translation, linguistics and pedagogy of French as a foreign language. Most teaching in the Department of French and Francophone Studies is in French, with content, class activities and assessment all adapted to your language level in each year of study. Our teaching is strongly focused on student participation and interaction, so that you develop autonomy as learners of French and as independent thinkers.

Our graduates work in fields as diverse as international relations and trade, journalism, information technology, teaching, law, medicine, the arts and a range of international organisations.

Requirements for completion

The French and Francophone major and minor are available via the pathways indicated below.

Students will follow the appropriate pathway specified in the unit of study tables, based on their individual language level*. Students completing any of the pathways below will be awarded a major or minor in French and Francophone Studies.

* Appropriate language units are determined by language level and grade therein achieved in Higher School Certificate or International Baccalaureate, and/or by a placement questionnaire and if necessary a one-on-one interview prior to commencement. If you are unsure of your language level or which pathway is appropriate for you, please contact the Department for advice.

Please note: A 'gap' year after Year 12 does not normally affect placement.

Learning outcomes
No. Learning outcome
1 Demonstrate a level of written and oral competence in French to at least CEFR level B1+ (Introductory stream), CEFR Level B2 + (Intermediate stream), CEFR level C1 (Advanced stream), with confidence and a significant degree of disciplinary expertise in the French language, including the ability to communicate effectively and persuasively on a range of topics and in a range of genres.
2 Demonstrate an advanced understanding of various aspects of French and Francophone culture, including sociolinguistics, social media, textual linguistics, life writing, cinema, literature or popular culture.
3 Display high-level problem-solving and critical analysis skills developed through independent and collaborative research activities related to French and Francophone language and culture, and its place in the world.
4 Exhibit a high degree of cultural competence and sense of professional and social responsibility.
5 Effectively apply approaches and knowledge from French and Francophone Studies to issues encountered in an interdisciplinary context.
Advanced coursework

The Bachelor of Advanced Studies through the School of Language and Cultures prepares students to actively engage in the complex and culturally diverse contemporary world. Students will utilise linguistic and methodological skills developed in their previous studies to develop their knowledge of institutions, practices and ideas that permeate different cultures in the local and global context. They will be offered opportunities to participate in projects on translation, acculturation and self-reflexivity and to examine textual and social real-world problems related to topics which include translation, migration studies, cultural diversity and social integration.

Requirements and units of study for advanced coursework can be found on the French and Francophone Studies advanced coursework units of study page.


Students may qualify for Honours regardless of the language level at which they commenced.

It is strongly recommended that all intending Honours students complete an exchange of at least one semester in a French-speaking country.

Honours admission requirements

Admission to Honours is via the Bachelor of Advanced Studies and requires the completion of a major in French and Francophone Studies with an average of 70 percent or above.

Prior to commencing honours, you will need to ensure you have completed all other requirements of the Bachelor of Arts or other bachelor degree, including Open Learning Environment (OLE) units and a second major.

Requirements and units of study for honours can be found on the French and Francophone Studies honours units of study page.

Contacts and further information

More information and current contact details for academic coordinators can be found on the Department of French and Francophone Studies website.