Specialization in French Literature with a Bachelor's Thesis

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The course delves into the novel as a genre in a diachronic perspective. Through the study of four to five representative novels, situated in their cultural and historical context and in light of central technical terms concerning the novel, the course gives an overview of the genre's development from the 17th century up to today.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completing the course, the student is expected to:


  • have intimate knowledge of the works on the reading list
  • have knowledge of the works' cultural and historical context
  • have knowledge of narratology and central technical terms concerning the novel


  • be able to utilize terms learned in independent analyses of the curriculum texts
  • be able to analyze the texts thematically and in a cultural and historical perspective
  • discuss orally and in writing research questions related to the curriculum

General competence

  • be able to transmit knowledge in French within his/her own academic field orally or in writing
  • be equipped to work independently with a research question and find relevant background material
  • be able to plan and execute supervised tasks for a certain amount of time and to present results from this work in a written, academic form

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
No official requirements, but all the teaching is conducted in French and presupposes high level of French.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
FRAN256 builds on FRAN122 and FRAN123. Students' language proficiency should be equivalent to those having completed course work on the 100 level.
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Due to academic overlap, credits awarded for completing FRAN256 are reduced by 15 ECTS if combined with FRAN203, FRAN253 or FRAN206 and 10 ECTS if combined with FRAN204 or FRAN254.
Access to the Course
The course is open to all students admitted to the University of Bergen.
Teaching and learning methods

Teaching is normally conducted in the form of three-hour lectures, seminars and supervision over a twelve-week period.

At the beginning of the term, the department normally organizes a four-week course for the students at the Norwegian Study Center in Caen, with a focus on oral and written French. The course is free, but students must pay for travel and accommodation themselves. It is possible to stay with a French host family.

If less than five students sign up for the course, the teaching may be adjusted to fit the number of students, e.g. by making lectures into seminars or other forms of individually suited teaching. If this should be the case, students will be notified on the nature of the alternative teaching arrangements before the registration deadline 1 Feb/1 Sep.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Students must attend at least 75 % of the lectures/seminars (including digital teaching) in order to be eligible for assessment in this course.

During the first four weeks of the course the students must write a French-English word list (minimum 50 words) based on a given text from the curriculum to be published on the platform for the use of the group.

In the course of the semester, students are required to get approval of an oral presentation on a topic related to the curriculum of approx. 15 min. Students devise their presentations in conjunction with the instructor. Manuscripts of the presentation are to be handed in at the time of the presentation.

Students are required to have at least one session of academic advisement with a supervisor while writing the term paper.

Mandatory assignments are valid for one additional semester following the semester of instruction.

Forms of Assessment

The exam is a term paper on French literature of approx. 4000-5000 words, written in the course of the semester. The paper is written in French, and fulfills the requirement for independent research as part of a BA degree.

At the end of the course, there is an oral examination approx. 20-30 minutes in the literature curriculum. The test is also meant to show the candidates proficiency in oral French.

Oral and written exams each count 50 % of the final grade in the course. Both tests must be taken in the same semester.

Students are not eligible to receive more supervision if the term paper is deferred to the following semester.

Grading Scale
The grading scale is A-F, where F is a fail.
Assessment Semester
Spring. Students with valid approvals on their mandatory assignments may also be assessed in the fall semester.
Reading List

The curriculum comprises four to five novels, as well as an introduction to the theory of the novel. The student engages with one representative novel from four or five of the five past centuries, as well as literary and historical background materials with bearing on the works in question. The student also reads an introduction to the theory of the novel/narratology, which is in line with the theoretical aim.

The reading list will be ready by July 1st for the fall semester, and December 1st for the spring semester.

Course Evaluation
Evaluation of the course is carried out in accordance with the University of Bergen quality assurance system.
Examination Support Material
Not relevant