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College of Letters and Science

French and Italian

French Program Courses
Italian Program Courses
Requirements for the French Major
Requirements for the Italian Major
Honors in the Major
Junior–Senior Honors Curriculum
Undergraduate Certificate in French
Undergraduate Certificate in Italian
Graduate Programs
Study Abroad
French House
Piazza Italia
Clubs and Other Activities
French Courses (Course Guide)
Italian Courses  (Course Guide)

618 Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-3941; http://frit.wisc.edu/

Professors Bousquet, Buccini, Debaisieux, Goodkin, Langer, Livorni, Miernowski, Rumble, Songolo, Tochon, Vila; Associate Professors Armbrecht, El Nossery, Menechella, Phillips-Court, Vatan, Willis Allen; Assistant Professors Armstrong, Dima, Gipson, Todorovic; Faculty Associate Halzen; Senior Lecturers Irving, Miernowska; Associate Faculty Associate Serafini

French undergraduate advisors: Consult department website

Italian undergraduate advisors:  Consult department website

Faculty diversity liaison: Contact department at 608-262-3941.

The programs in French and Italian are multifaceted, with an array of courses in language, literature, culture, and film. Students may begin the study of French or Italian in college or continue it at any level for which they are prepared. For French, a placement test is highly recommended. Questions about placement should be addressed to an academic advisor or the SOAR foreign language consultant.

French Program Courses

The first-year French program consists of French 101–102; the second-year program consists of 203–204.

Honors option is available at almost all levels. For introductory and intermediate language courses (101, 102, 203, 204, 227 & 228), dedicated honors sections may be offered.  See the online Course Guide. Honors sections in 101–228 offer smaller enrollments (16 instead of 24 max) and, by demanding a more concerted and independent effort on the part of the students, class sessions allow for greater expansion of activities and more in-class communication. Taking a course "for honors" entails extra work, discussions, or class meetings as designated by individual instructors.

French 227–228, 301–302, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 350, 351, 523, and 590 provide intermediate or advanced training in language.

French 271 and 321–322 are introductory and survey courses in literature, prerequisite to most other literature and civilization courses . French literature courses include 321, 322, 430, 431, 432, 433, 461, 472, 567, 595, and all 600-level courses except 681–682, 698, and 699. French literature courses numbered 430–690 are specialized. French courses at the 600 level or above are primarily graduate courses and require permission of an undergraduate advisor and the instructor.

French 347, 348, 449, 451, 462, and 568 are culture courses. French 313, 314, and 315 are both culture and language courses, examining the culture and sociology of professional environments in the French-speaking world, including international organizations, government, and global corporations. French 325 is a visual culture course. French 440 and 465 are film courses. French 595 is a theater course in which students produce a French-language play for the general public. French 211, 240, and 248 are introductory culture courses taught in English (not for credit toward the major).

For information on teacher training in French, see the School of Education section in this catalog.

For courses in French literature in translation, see the Literature in Translation subject listing in the Course Guide.

Italian Program Courses

The first- and second-year Italian program consists of Italian 101/181–102/182, 201, and 203–204. Italian 311–312 and 423 provide advanced training in language.

The Honors option Italian 181/182 has an enrollment cap of 16 max. instead of 24.  This gives students the possibility to work more productively, and allows for more class time to expand on activities or develop class projects.  In most cases, the honors section has the same syllabus and similar testing program as Italian 101/102.

Italian 321 and 322 are introductory and survey courses in literature, prerequisite to all other literature courses. Specialized Italian literature courses are numbered 430–690.

Italian 230 is a culture course, and Italian 460 is a film course. Italian 340 and 429 are introductory linguistics courses.

For information on teacher training in Italian, see the School of Education section in this catalog.

For courses in Italian literature in translation, see the Literature in Translation subject listing in the Course Guide.

Requirements for the French Major

Prerequisites: 228 and 271

French majors must complete 24 credits in French courses numbered 300 or above, to include:

A. The following three courses in French/Francophone literature and culture: 321; 322; and 347 or 451.

B. Two additional courses in French/Francophone literature and/or culture. Select from the following, including at least one (1) course at the 400 level or higher: 313, 314, 315, 325, 348, 350, 430, 431, 432, 433, 440, 449, 450, 451, 454, 461, 462, 465, 467, 471, 472, 531, 532, 567, 568, 595, 600–697.

C. One language course numbered 300 or above. Select from: 311, 312, 313*, 314*, 315*, 350*, 351, 520, 523, 590.
*May be counted in category (B) or (C) but not in both.

D. Additional credits to attain the total of 24. Select from lists in (B) and (C) above, plus 301, 302, and 555.

French 211, 240, 248, 365, 391, 429, and literature in translation courses cannot be counted toward the major (except for one credit per course of a French-language discussion section, if offered). 

Literature in translation courses cannot be counted toward the major.

To declare the major, students complete the L&S Major Declaration Form and bring it to a French advisor (contact schedule available at the French and Italian website).

All students must fulfill the L&S requirement of at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major (300 level or above) completed in residence (at UW–Madison or as a participant in a UW–Madison study abroad program). In addition, students must satisfy the Study Abroad Stipulation of 15 credits of French at any level (100 or above) on the UW–Madison campus; this excludes literature in translation courses but does include 211, 240, 248, 365, 391 and 429.

Requirements for the Italian Major

Italian majors must complete:

24 credits beyond Italian 204, including Italian 230, 321–322 and 311–312. 3 credits at the 600-level are optional.

Additional courses to attain the total of 24 credits include: Italian 313, 340, 350, 423, 429, 450, 451, 452, 453, 460, and all Italian 600-level courses.

Literature in translation courses cannot be counted toward the major.

To declare the major, students should complete the L&S Major Declaration Form, and bring it to an Italian advisor (contact schedule available at the French and Italian website).

All students must fulfill the L&S requirement of at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major (300 level or above) completed in residence (at UW–Madison or as a participant in a UW–Madison study abroad program). In addition, students must satisfy the Study Abroad Stipulation by completing 15 credits of Italian at any level (100 or above) in the language on the UW–Madison campus; this excludes literature in translation courses.

Honors in the Major

To be graduated with honors, a major in French or in Italian must register as an honors candidate with a department honors advisor and must complete the junior–senior honors curriculum in the department with a GPA of at least 3.5 in the major. Students must also have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.3 in all courses taken at UW–Madison at the time of graduation.

Junior–Senior Honors Curriculum

Students wishing to graduate in French with Honors in the Major are required to take 24 credits of French courses beyond the prerequisites 228 and 271. Honors candidates must take at least 8 of these credits in honors courses (designated by H or ! or %). Study abroad in France or in another French-speaking country is highly recommended, and the 8 credits of honors course work can be fulfilled through French courses taken abroad at the appropriate level. In addition to the 24 credits for the major, the honors candidate must complete a Senior Honors Thesis (two semesters, 681–682, 6 credits) under the direction of a faculty member, who must be consulted about the project by the beginning of the student's senior year (at the latest) so that a topic can be formulated. In certain circumstances (particularly when the student is an honors candidate in two or more departments, two courses in literature or cultural studies (6 credits) at the 500 or 600 level may be substituted for the honors thesis.

Students wishing to graduate in Italian with Honors in the Major are required to take 16 honors credits beyond 204. Honors students should begin with the special honors sequence in Italian 181–182. Honors credit is generally available in all courses. In addition, a Senior Honors Thesis of 6 credits, Italian 681 and 682, will be required. Candidates will be allowed to substitute for the Senior Honors Thesis two semesters of literature (6 credits) at the 600 level.

Students should check with the department honors advisor at least once a year to make sure that satisfactory progress is being made, as well as to seek guidance about planning the best possible Honors in the Major curriculum that reflects their special interests.

Undergraduate Certificate in French

The Undergraduate Certificate in French offers students the opportunity to develop their proficiency in French language and their knowledge of literature and culture in the French-speaking world, thereby complementing their major(s) in other subjects across the university. It also strengthens the applications of students who intend to pursue careers or graduate study in areas where French is useful. The certificate is open to all undergraduate students.

The Undergraduate Certificate in French requires 15 credits of French coursework, 5 courses, including French 228, French 271 and courses at the 303 level and above. Nine of the 15 credits must be taken on the UW–Madison campus. Up to 3 transfer credits and up to 6 credits earned through a UW-sponsored study abroad program may be applied toward the certificate with departmental approval (transfer and study abroad credits cannot exceed 6 credits total). Courses for the certificate cannot be taken on a credit/no credit or pass/fail basis.

Retroactive credits do not satisfy criteria for the certificate.

Students may declare the Undergraduate Certificate in French at any time and are encouraged to do so as early as possible, once enrolled as an undergraduate.

The 15 credits required for the certificate will be distributed as follows:

  • 2 required core courses: 228 and 271
  • 1 advanced course in language, selected (through advising) from the following: 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 350, 351, or 590
  • 2 elective courses at the 303-level or higher, selected from among the following classes: 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 321, 322, 325, 347, 348, 350, 351, 430, 431, 432, 433, 440, 449, 450, 451, 454, 461, 462, 465, 467, 471, 472, 531, 532, 567, 568, 590, 595, 600–697.

Note: For courses taken on campus at the 303 level or higher, prerequisites must be met or permission given by the department.

Undergraduate Certificate in Italian

The Undergraduate Certificate in Italian offers students the opportunity to develop their proficiency in Italian language and their knowledge of literature and culture in the Italian-speaking world.

The certificate also strengthens the applications of students who intend to pursue careers or graduate study in areas where Italian is useful. The Undergraduate Certificate in Italian is open to all undergraduate students.

The Undergraduate Certificate in Italian requires 15 credits of Italian coursework taken beyond Italian 204 (at least 9 credits must be taken in residence on the UW–Madison campus, distributed as follows:

  • 2 courses required from Italian 311, 312, 321, 322;
  • elective courses to achieve minimums for the certificate to be chosen from: Italian 230, 311, 312, 313, 321, 322, 340, 350, 423, 429, 450, 452, 453, 460;
  • one elective course may be chosen from: Littrans 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, or 410.

Note that:

  • a minimum 2.500 GPA in certificate courses must be achieved;
  • transfer and retro- credits may not be applied toward the certificate, though Italian credits earned through a UW-sponsored study abroad program may;
  • maximum 6 credits of elective requirements may be taken through a UW–Madison study abroad program;
  • students must declare the Undergraduate Certificate in Italian before completing the first half of the required credits, and are encouraged to do so as early as possible, once enrolled as an undergraduate. Note: for courses taken on campus at the 300 level or higher, prerequisites must be met or permission given by the department.

Graduate Programs

Students interested in graduate programs in French and Italian should inquire at the graduate coordinator's office (612 Van Hise, 262-6971) and see the French and Italian website).

Affiliated Graduate Programs. For information about the PFMP (Professional French Master's Program), see the PFMP website or call 262-6971. For information about the Ph.D. in second language acquisition (SLA), see the Language Institute website.

Study Abroad

For information about study abroad programs, see International Academic Programs and programs in the student's school or college.

French House

La Maison Française, a francophone (French-speaking) residence hall and cultural center, is managed by the Department of French and Italian. Residence is open to UW–Madison students with the equivalent of a fourth-semester level of French. At least two native French graduate students reside in the house, aiding in conversation and facilitating the use of French. Most residents are Americans: prospective teachers of French, French majors, and students in other disciplines who want to continue speaking French on a daily basis. Applications should be made well in advance. Nonresidents enrolled in French 301/302 take four to five meals per week at the French House Monday–Friday. Wednesday dinner and Friday lunch are open to the greater Madison community. Scholarships are available to first-year and other new UW–Madison students.

Piazza Italia

The department sponsors Piazza Italia, the Italian floor in the Lakeshore residence halls. An Italian graduate student serves as the resident house fellow, facilitating conversation in Italian and assisting a faculty member in a special 1-credit course on Italian culture. Students studying Italian will find a collegial atmosphere at Piazza Italia, which features special Italian-oriented programming including films, lectures, games, current events material, and regular meals "all'italiana" with guests from the Italian program. In addition, Piazza Italia is part of the International Learning Community (ILC), which is dedicated to enriching cross-cultural understanding through a variety of social and educational programs.

Clubs and Other Activities

French conversation groups and an Italian Club ("Circolo italiano") give students the opportunity to converse in the target language and participate in cultural events. French/Francophone and Italian films are also shown through the Maison Française and the Cineteca italiana. Undergraduates are welcome at scholarly talks and department events on an array of subjects (see the French and Italian website for a calendar of events and other information).


This page was updated 8/12/15.