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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Languages & Literatures



Distinction in French

Eligible students can earn distinction in French by writing a senior thesis. The thesis is about 25 pages in length, and must be written in French. Topics may highlight French literature, culture, civilization or language. Students may also choose to combine interests from another major, as long as the overall topic is focused on the French-speaking world and the student has obtained faculty member approval.

Writing a senior thesis differs from a regular course or independent study, primarily because the topic is an original formulation by the student, allowing for a deeper level of critical study and understanding.


Students are eligible to participate if they meet one of the following qualifications:

  1. Membership in the University Honors Program
  2. Maintain a GPA above 3.6 in the major and above 3.2 overall


Students are encouraged to sign up for FREN 3998 (Undergraduate Honors Thesis), as this will ensure proper recognition on their undergraduate transcripts. Students should sign up for at least one quarter hour during their senior year.


Junior Year

  1. Select an area of interest by the end of spring quarter of your junior year.
  2. Ask a professor of French to serve as your thesis adviser.

Senior Year

  1. During fall quarter, you should define your thesis topic, conduct research and start writing.
  2. In winter quarter, continue to research and write your thesis. Submit the first draft before the end of the quarter.
  3. Spring quarter should be reserved for revision. Remember, a senior thesis requires several drafts and extensive editing before submission.
  4. Submit your final draft by May 15th. You will present your findings to a committee of three French professors, including your adviser, and at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in May.