French is a global language, spoken by over 200 million people on five continents, and the second most useful non-English language for conducting business around the world. An official language in 32 countries from Africa to Asia, French is also an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, and the international courts.
Studying French opens doors to a Francophone world of literature, film, art and thought of extraordinary richness and influence. Considering that France is the world’s fifth biggest economy and the third most important destination for foreign investment worldwide, proficiency in French opens career doors in a wide range of sectors in France, Francophone countries and multinational industries all over the world: retail, luxury goods, aeronautics and automobile industry, finance, entertainment and hospitality industry, medicine, music, law, international relations, business, the environment and renewable energies, etc.
Twenty-first century careers require culturally-competent critical thinkers with strong communication and language skills, and a major or minor in French prepares students to succeed in our diverse, multilingual, globalized world.
French Language Courses
For the courses offered during any given term, consult the Schedule of Classes. Course availability is subject to change, and non-language courses offered by the Department of French and Italian Studies are not included.
FREN 120: French I (4.0 units)
Introduction to current French. Oral practice, listening and reading comprehension; grammar necessary for simple spoken and written expression.
FREN 150: French II (4.0 units)Continuation of 120.
Note: Students with previous experience in French are REQUIRED to take the French placement exam. FREN 150 registration requires a FREN 150 placement score. After the first week of classes, all sections will be converted from “R” to “D,” requiring instructor approval.
FREN 220: French III (4.0 units)Continuation of FREN 150. Review of structural patterns of French; selected cultural and literary readings; conversation and composition.
Prerequisite: FREN 150
Note: Students with previous experience in French are REQUIRED to take the French placement exam. FREN 220 registration requires a FREN 220 placement score. After the first week of classes, all sections will be converted from “R” to “D,” requiring instructor approval.
FREN 250: French IV (4.0 units)Introduction to French literature through the study of texts and audiovisuals organized around a central theme; develops close-reading techniques and discursive skills; reviews French grammar.
FREN 012x: French 120 Language Practicum (1.0 unit)
English grammar as it relates to French in order to improve students’ French language skills; explicit pronunciation and intonation practice. Requires concurrent enrollment in either FREN 120 French I or MPVA 261 French Language and Diction.
FREN 015x: French 150 Language Practicum (1.0 unit)English grammar as it relates to French in order to improve students French language skills; explicit pronunciation and intonation practice.Concurrent Course: FREN 150: French II (4.0 units)FREN 235x: Intermediate Conversational French (2.0 units)Designed for non-majors/minors interested in maintaining and developing French language competency. Builds vocabulary, ease of communication, and cultural knowledge through discussion of contemporary topics. Graded Credit/No Credit. Not available for credit to French majors. Not open to French majors.
FREN 300: French Grammar and Composition (4.0 units)Grammatical structure and vocabulary building with practical application to written composition.Prerequisites: FREN 250.FREN 322: Translation Workshop (4.0 units)In this introduction to the practice of translation, students will get hands-on experience translating texts and learning about translation as an “art” (theory and approaches).
Prerequisite: FREN 300: French Grammar and Composition
FREN 330: Critical Writing in French (4.0 units)
Advanced composition through critical reading of literary texts; comprehensive analysis of difficult grammatical structures and stylistics.
Prerequisite: FREN 300: French Grammar and Composition
FREN 357: Popular Music in France- Culture, Politics and Protest (4.0 units)History and contemporary dynamics of popular musical culture in France, from chanson to EDM. Emphasis on the intersections between musical culture, political and social history.Prerequisite: FREN 300: French Grammar and CompositionCo-requisite: FREN 330: Critical Writing in French
FREN 446: Contemporary French Thought (4.0 units)Readings in structuralism, post-structuralism, feminism, and deconstruction. Conducted in French.Prerequisite: FREN 330: Critical Writing in FrenchFREN 464: Colloquium: French Civilization (4.0 units)Selected topics such as the press, educational institutions, French cinema today, and French colonial history. Conducted in French.Prerequisites: FREN 330: Critical Writing in French
USC Paris Program
USC Paris is a French language and culture program offered in conjunction with ACCENT, an international education organization that works with American universities to provide quality study abroad programs. The program is housed at the ACCENT center, located in the 11th arrondissement just a few minutes away from the Place de la Bastille. The program is designed for students with intermediate through advanced French proficiency, offering limited classes in English and a wider range in French. Students with an advanced level of French can participate in French-speaking internships.
Dijon Summer Program
Examples of Past and Current Maymesters* offered by the USC Department of French and Italian:
FREN 220: Maymester in Martinique
FREN 307g: Maymester in Paris, France
FREN 318: Global Ciphas: Hip-Hop Circles around the World
* Maymesters are short-term programs, where students take one class in another country or American city after the conclusion of the spring semester. Typically, these programs are about a week to five weeks in length.
The small, close knit classes provide an atmosphere that allows me to warm up quickly to my peers and has helped me to feel more comfortable speaking a different language in front of my class.
With only a handful more students in the course, the learning was so individualized. We were able to engage in conversation with one another and benefit from each other’s learning journey.
I got to know each of my classmates and professors well due to the small class sizes, making it a more engaging, interactive, and overall enjoyable experience. Every French class I’ve taken truly was a breath of fresh air, and over time, I caught myself looking forward to and wanting to go to class and missing it whenever I was in any other class.
Stay connected with the Department of French and Italian Studies through their website and social media accounts.
Explore engagement opportunities, panels, workshops, updates and more on the Department of French and Italian Studies website.
Meet the dedicated faculty who are eager to help you reach your language-learning goals!