The study of French includes instruction in language, literature, linguistics, and culture. Students of French studies acquire the skills required to not only speak the language, but also to learn about and appreciate French societies, cultures, and artistic expressions. The guiding principle of the curriculum is that one of the best ways to understand a culture is directly through its language.

The French studies program is designed to help students develop a solid grammar and vocabulary base that allows students to become effective communicators with an equal emphasis on cultural awareness. The department emphasizes the diversity and multicultural aspects of the Francophone (French speaking) world through civilization, culture, literature and sociolinguistic courses. Training includes both language structure and literary analysis. Language structure is taught both holistically and analytically — with multimedia technology, study abroad, language skills courses, and linguistics courses. Literary analysis is an essential component to the curriculum, and the department provides instruction in history and culture, as well as literary theory. 

The Modern and Classical Language Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.


Beyond the Classroom

Students can participate as facilitators in the WELP (Western Employees Language Program) program, which gives students first-hand experience teaching French to speakers of other languages, or get involved with the “On Parle” program, which helps high school students develop their French conversational skills. 

Many students apply to the TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France), which offers students the opportunity to work in France for seven months teaching English to French students of all ages. Each year three to eight students succeed in obtaining the assistantship and are sent to schools in various French cities.

Sample Careers

  • Interpreter 
  • Foreign Correspondent 
  • Foreign Service Officer 
  • FBI Agent 
  • Educator 
  • Linguist 
  • Travel Writer 
  • Communication Consultant

Department of Modern and Classical Languages

French, BA

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