Mar 05, 2024  
Course Catalog 2023-2024 
Course Catalog 2023-2024

French and Italian

Matthew J. Senior, Ruberta T. McCandless Professor of French; chair

Grace An, Associate Professor of Cinema Studies and French
Ivana Di Siena, Senior Lecturer of Italian
Laurel Iber, Visiting Assistant Professor of French
Julien P. Roland, Lecturer of French and Faculty-in-Residence of French House
Matthew Skrzypczyk, Lecturer of French

Appointed by Courtesy
Anna C. Levett, Visiting Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature (French language)
Stiliana V. Milkova, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature (Italian language)

 Visit the department web page for up-to-date information on department faculty, visiting lecturers, and special events.

The Department of French and Italian at Oberlin College encompasses offerings in French, Francophone, and Italian linguistic and cultural studies.

The French program offers a unique interdisciplinary liberal arts curriculum aimed at preparing students to engage in ways that are meaningful to them with the diverse and dynamic Francophone world. The department also supports La Maison Francophone, a language-based program house where students have the opportunity of immersion in the target language and culture in daily contact with native speakers.

The Italian program encompasses language, literature, and cultural study related to the Italian-speaking world.

arrow Learn more about language-based program housing supported by the department.

 See information about Research, Internships, Study Away, and Experiential Learning (RISE).

 Explore Winter Term projects and opportunities.

Departmental Policies

Initial and Advanced Placement

The following score(s) will correspond to credit for the following course(s), fulfilling corresponding prerequisite requirements (if applicable) and counting toward total credits needed for graduation:

  • AP French Language, 4 or 5  →  FREN 300 (one full course)
  • AP French Literature, 4 or 5  →  FREN 300 (one full course)
  • IB HL French (B), 6 or 7  →  FREN 300 (one full course)
  • SAT II French, 626-800  →  FREN 300 (one full course)
    • Students who earn a score of 550-625 on the SAT II Exam in French and who wish to continue their study do not earn credit for FREN 300, but are advised to enroll in FREN 205  or FREN 206 .
  • Students who complete the ​baccalauréat (le bac) in a French lycée also may receive credit for FREN 300.

It is the department’s policy to advance students as fast as achievement warrants. Students who qualify for this credit and who wish to continue their study in the language are encouraged to enroll in FREN 301 FREN 309 , or FREN 321 .

Students with a previous study of French who have not taken an exam listed above, or who did not earn sufficient scores for the exam, should take the Oberlin French Placement Test online to determine their appropriate level.

 Visit the Language Placement website for instructions and information on the Oberlin French Placement Test.

Note: Transfer credit received for FREN 300 may count toward the French major and the French minor.

Majors and Minors

No major or minor are offered in Italian, but students with interests in this area might consider pursuing a major or minor in comparative literature  or similar fields.


French Program

The French curriculum includes four levels of study.

  • The first level consists of beginning and intermediate language and culture courses for students who are new to French or building on prior preparation.
  • The second level includes a range of language and culture courses for students with different proficiency levels.
  • The third level includes a variety of courses in literature, history, film, and cultural studies, including interdisciplinary courses focused on topics such as queer media, activism, and thought in France; Francophone literature and the history of “esclavage et liberté,” and the history of French Creoles.
  • The fourth level consists of 400-level seminar-style courses focused on specific authors, works, topics, or trends in the French-speaking world. These courses serve as culminating or capstone experiences and provide students opportunities to work on course-related creative and research projects of their own design.

Students are encouraged to reach beyond the curriculum offered by our department to explore English-taught courses in the wider Oberlin curriculum that deal with the Francophone world.

Suggested Course Sequences

FREN 101  - FREN 102 FREN 205  - FREN 206 FREN 301 ; then other 300-level courses in French followed by 400-level courses.


FREN 301 FREN 309 , or FREN 321  is the prerequisite for other courses at the 300-level. Two 300-level courses beyond FREN 301  are the prerequisite for 400-level courses. Other prerequisites may be noted: see the course descriptions below.

Italian Program

The Italian curriculum includes beginning and intermediate language courses as well as courses in Italian literature, both in translation and in Italian. Advanced study and practice of Italian language are supported through the literary translation minor  and the curriculum in literary translation.