The Department of French and Italian offers four tracks for concentrators, and a flexible, individualized approach to course planning. Students either pursue a course of study entirely in French or Italian, or combine this specialization with another language, academic discipline, or creative art. FIT encourages innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the Italian, French, and francophone worlds, tailored to the unique academic and professional interests of students. For examples of the kinds of topics students in FIT have explored in their Senior Thesis, see the list of titles below.
Track 1: concentration in one language and literature (French or Italian)
Track 2: concentration in two languages and literatures (one of which must be French or Italian)
Track 3: concentration in French or Italian with another related field (e.g. history, politics, anthropology, sociology)
Track 4: concentration in French or Italian with the creative arts (e.g. creative writing, theatre, visual arts, translation, etc.)
Students who wish to concentrate in the department should possess a sound knowledge of either French or Italian by the end of their sophomore year. This can be achieved by completing the language sequence (FRE 107 or 108; ITA 107 or 108), or by demonstrating equivalent qualifications. Students are also strongly encouraged to complete at least one advanced-language course (FRE 207, 207F or 208; ITA 207I, 208) prior to admission or shortly thereafter, which can then be counted toward the concentration. FIT recommends that students complete at least one more 200-level course (such as FRE 211, 215, 217, 221, 222, 224, 225, or ITA 208, 209, 220, 225) before enrolling in a 300-level course.
All four tracks above require students to take eight upper-division courses. Five of these must be departmental courses taken in the language of concentration. The three remaining courses may be cognates, chosen from another field, discipline, or language (depending on the track) with the approval of the DUS. Up to two of the five departmental courses may be taken at the 200-level (but FRE 207 and 208, or ITA 207 and 208, cannot both be counted). Please Note: Students concentrating in French and/or Italian may not PDF or Audit the FIT courses, which they would like to count toward the concentration. Those courses must be taken for a letter grade.
As independent work, concentrators complete two junior papers and a senior thesis, all under close supervision by professors in the department (one advisor for each JP; two for the senior thesis). Independent work does not have to be written in the foreign language.
Students who elect to concentrate in French or Italian are often simultaneously enrolled in certificate programs, such as African Studies, Contemporary European Politics and Society, European Cultural Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Latin American Studies, Theater and Dance, or Visual Arts. FIT concentrators may also apply for admission to the certificate program at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication.
Concentrators in French or Italian are strongly encouraged to spend a semester (or a year) in Italy or in a French-speaking country, usually in their junior year. A number of study abroad programs are recommended on the basis of positive experience by Princeton students over the years. Courses taken abroad in approved programs may fulfill departmental requirements up to a limit of two courses per semester. Course credit in French and Italian can also be obtained through approved summer study abroad.
For more detailed information, consult the Handbook for Junior and Senior Concentrators.