French Studies


French is spoken by over 300 million people, and is an official language in 29 countries (la Francophonie), the United Nations and the European Union. It is also the language of many major literary, philosophical and political works. French Studies provides access to this rich culture and history. Our graduates work in fields as diverse as international relations and trade, journalism, IT, teaching, law, medicine, the arts and a range of international organisations.

Whatever your prior knowledge of French, the department provides pathways to a French major. You can enrol in our Introductory, Intermediate or Advanced stream, and there are options for ‘fast-tracking’ to a higher level if you do well. 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.

Most teaching in the Department 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.

Major outline

A major in French Studies requires at least 36 credit points from senior units of study including at least 6 credit points at 3000 level.

Placement of students in junior units of study (1000 level)

Introductory stream
Absolute beginners or people having 3 years or less Australian junior high school (up to year 10) education in French or equivalent enrol in FRNC1601: Junior French 1: Entry level less than CEFR A1.

Intermediate stream
Less than 75% in HSC continuers, or completed HSC beginners, or International baccalaureate Ab Initio Grades 4-6 or equivalent enrol in FRNC1621: Junior French 3: Entry level CEFR A1+.

75-79% in HSC Continuers and International Baccalaureate Ab Initio Grade 7 enrol in FRNC2623: Senior French 5: Entry level CEFR A2+.

Advanced stream
French Continuers (80-94%) or French Continuers + Extension (less than Band 6 Continuers + Band 4 Extension) or International baccalaureate Standard Level (less than Grade 7) or International baccalaureate Higher Level (Grade 4-5) enrol in FRNC1631: Junior French 5: Entry level CEFR A2+.

Students having obtained International baccalaureate Standard Level (Grade 7) or Higher Level (Grade 6-7), or French Continuers with 95% or more, or French Continuers + Extension (Band 6 + Band 4) enrol in FRNC2633: Senior French 9: Entry level B1+.

Background speakers
Background speakers will be placed on a case-by-case basis according to the level of school education in French.

Intermediate and Advanced language stream descriptions should not be confused with the Faculty descriptions of second and third year study (‘senior-intermediate’ and ‘senior-advanced’ respectively). The unit of study codes given above will indicate the right language level for you.

If you do not fall easily into one of the categories above, you will need to contact the coordinators of the relevant units of study so that your level can be assessed. This includes native speakers who have completed high school study in a French speaking country and students who have undertaken further study or work in a French speaking country, The Department reserves the right to place students according to their correct language level. Students will not be allowed to enrol in a lower level than their own language level.

Please note: A ‘gap’ year between the HSC or International baccalaureate exam and University entry does not normally affect placement. Students should ensure that their language skills remain active during this year.

Senior units of study (2000 and 3000 level)

Introductory stream
In the Introductory Stream you must include the following units of study in your major: practical language unit FRNC3626 and culture unit FRNC2626 or equivalent exchange units. Your CEFR level at graduation will be: B2+.

Intermediate stream
In the Intermediate Stream you must include the following units of study in your major: practical language unit FRNC3626 and culture unit FRNC2626 or equivalent exchange units. Your CEFR level at graduation will be: B2+.

Advanced Stream
In the Advanced Stream you must include FRNC3634 and at least one 3000 level advanced culture option (FRNC3652, 3672, 3684, 3686, 3690 or 3693) or equivalent exchange units. (NB to enrol in

Students enrolled in the Introductory or Intermediate stream who obtain 90% or more in practical language units in their first or second year of study may be able to ‘fast track’ to a higher language level. Please consult your Unit of Study coordinator or the Undergraduate Coordinator for advice.

Graduate opportunities

Sydney Arts and Social Sciences graduates work in government departments at all levels, and major private sector consultancies and corporations, locally and overseas. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences offers a range of subject areas that prepare graduates for careers in administration, education, business research, marketing, media, management consultancy, public relations, gallery and museum curatorship, hospitality and tourism, community and welfare. Our graduates are proficient in research and inquiry, and demonstrate personal and intellectual autonomy, and ethical, social and professional understanding, qualities sought after by leading employers all over the world.

Further study for major

Eligible candidates may proceed to an Honours year in the Bachelor of Arts, or apply for admission to a rich postgraduate program in the humanities and social sciences, comprising advanced learning and professional courses. Master degrees include capstone projects ranging from internships with government and non-government organisations in Australia and overseas, the gallery and museum sector, and leading media organisations, to opportunities for independent research projects which prepare students for higher degrees by research.

Related subject areas

European Studies, Philosophy

Our courses that offer this major

Not available in 2014