The study of French opens the door to diverse cultures around the globe, from France itself to other French-speaking countries and regions in Europe, North and West Africa, Quebec, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific and Indian Oceans. French provides useful links to many parts of the world and to many areas of the liberal arts curriculum. Students interested in the arts, in government and business, in public health, environmental studies, and international studies across the disciplines, benefit from the practical skills, the cultural knowledge and awareness, and the intellectual connections that studying French can provide.
The French Department offers language courses for beginners and for those who want to build on their knowledge of French. The introductory-level courses stress communicative competency and the acquisition of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. The intermediate courses reinforce and extend those skills through an interactive exploration of contemporary French and Francophone culture, using a variety of authentic electronic and print sources.
The core courses of the French Department (FRN 203, 305, and 306) serve as an introduction to our major and as a bridge from the intermediate to advanced levels of our program. These courses provide students with a broad introduction to the Francophone world and to the important authors, events and ideas that have shaped French history from the Middle Ages to the present day. Advanced courses in French are organized around a literary genre, a single author, or an important question or theme. Advanced courses emphasize critical reading and analysis, research, writing and oral presentation skills, and cross-cultural knowledge and understanding.
Most of our majors and minors spend a semester or year abroad, studying in Paris, Nantes, Strasbourg, Aix-en-Provence, or other cities in France. In recent years, some students have gone to other French-speaking parts of the world, including West Africa and Madagascar. We strongly recommend this immersion experience to all of our students, believing that travel alone is not enough to learn about other cultures. You need to live, work, relax, and even dream in French to acquire the language and appreciate the culture fully.