Why study French?

French is spoken by approximately 300 million people across the globe and is one of the operating languages of organizations including the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, and NATO. Given that French is a truly international language, it provides students with an advantage for the job market, especially for students seeking employment in education, public service, tourism, journalism, international business, or marketing. Moreover, the study of French and of global francophone cultures reduces barriers to travel and facilitates intercultural communication allowing our students to connect more directly with other French speakers and with francophone music, cuisine, film, philosophy, art, literature, and media.

With specialized courses examining francophone Canada, the francophone Caribbean, the Hexagon and other francophone regions and cultures, our program helps students acquire the skills required to communicate in French all while providing cultural insights that will facilitate future study or work abroad.

French Degree(s)

French with a Teaching Endorsement Option, BA

Degree Type: Teaching Endorsement

The study of French includes instruction in language, literature, linguistics, and culture. The BA in French leads to a BA degree without teacher certification. In order to receive a recommendation for state of Washington certification, students must complete the professional teacher certification program.


Sheryl Bernardo-Hinesley, World Languages - Education Advisor
bernars3@wwu.edu | 360-650-4852

Janna Cecka, Secondary Education Department Manager
WCE.Advising@wwu.edu | 360-650-3347

French, BA

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.


Shannon Dubenion-Smith, Modern and Classical Languages Chair and World Language Endorsement Advisor
dubenis@wwu.edu | 360-650-3918

French/German, BA

Degree Type: Interdisciplinary

The study of both French and German becomes a meeting place for true diversity. Integrating these multifaceted programs provides an opening to the world through a wide range of courses.


Shannon Dubenion-Smith, Modern and Classical Languages Chair and World Language Endorsement Advisor
dubenis@wwu.edu | 360-650-3918

French/Spanish, BA

Degree Type: Interdisciplinary

Students of both French and Spanish studies acquire the skills required to not only speak the languages, but also to learn about and appreciate French and Spanish 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.


Shannon Dubenion-Smith, Modern and Classical Languages Chair and World Language Endorsement Advisor
dubenis@wwu.edu | 360-650-3918

French — Elementary, BAE

Degree Type: Teaching Endorsement

The French - Elementary program satisfies the academic major requirement for teacher certification with an endorsement in Elementary Education and must be accompanied by the professional preparation program in Elementary Education.


Teacher Education Admission, Woodring College of Education
TeacherEd.Admission@wwu.edu | 360-650-6161

Shannon Dubenion-Smith, Modern and Classical Languages Chair and World Language Endorsement Advisor
dubenis@wwu.edu | 360-650-3918

French at Western

The French program at WWU currently offers both a major and minor, as well as a variety of dual degree programs. In addition to supporting students in their pursuit of linguistic proficiency and a more nuanced appreciation of global francophone cultures, our curriculum is well-aligned with the university’s mission and includes several courses that can be applied to our institution’s general university requirements (GURs). These offerings are designed to help students gain and refine cross-disciplinary competencies in critical thinking, creativity, academic excellence, and analytical writing.

To further support students’ interest in French, we encourage the pursuit of experiential learning opportunities and extracurricular activities in French such as our student-led French club, departmental tutoring, education abroad, internships, and other community language collaborations both on and off campus.

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

Explore Courses

FREN 101, 102, 103, 104 - Elementary French

FREN 201, 202, 203 - Intermediate French

FREN 331 - La France: société et culture

FREN 332 - Civilisation et Culture du Canada Francophone

FREN 340, 341, 342 - Introduction à la littérature française

FREN 410 - Écriture féminine francophone

Activities and opportunities

Beyond the Classroom

Students in the French program are encouraged to take advantage of experiential learning opportunities and extracurricular activities to extend their language practice outside the classroom.

  • La Table Française: WWU’s student-led French club
  • French 425: departmental tutoring
  • Western Employee Language Program (ELP): student-led conversation and culture courses for WWU faculty and staff
  • Individualized campus and community partnerships

Education and Experiences Abroad

Many students pursue coursework or professional opportunities abroad to deepen their understanding of the French language and of la francophonie. Students interested in counting international credits toward a major or minor in French should seek approval from a program advisor before applying to one of our partner institutions.

What can you do with French?

A degree in French provides a strong foundation for students pursuing careers both locally and globally.

While many graduates have a clear professional path in mind, others choose to work abroad before applying to permanent positions. 

Some popular pathways include:

French careers

  • Interpreter
  • Translator
  • Foreign Correspondent 
  • Foreign Service Officer 
  • FBI Agent 
  • Linguist 
  • Travel Writer 
  • Elementary or Secondary Teacher