About French and Francophone Studies

Our Program and Courses

French and Francophone Studies is a major and minor at F&M that distinctly blends the exploration of the language, literature, and culture of France and the Francophone world. You will embrace French as a tool for communication and creation, growing your confidence and fluency in French while taking classes that focus on reading, writing, and cross-cultural perspectives. You will have many opportunities to practice French through films, coffee hours, craft and game nights, and conversations with guest speakers.

A major in French and Francophone Studies follows one of two tracks: 

French

In our French track, you will achieve an advanced level of French language proficiency as well as a solid background in literature and culture. At least nine of your ten required courses will be taught entirely in French, allowing you to engage with the French-speaking world and developing the tools to describe, debate, analyze and critique — both orally and in writing — French literary and cultural texts, films, documents, current events, and other cultural phenomena. At the most advanced level, courses focus on an author, genre, era or theme. The major culminates with a capstone experience, which includes the presentation of a portfolio of work you have created and a longer research project — in French — on a French or Francophone topic of your choice.

French Studies

Our French Studies track is designed for students with a strong interest in French and Francophone culture. You will take at least six courses taught in French, enabling you to develop an upper-intermediate French language proficiency, as well as a rich understanding of aspects of the French-speaking world. The remaining three courses can be ones taught in English with significant French or Francophone content. Your major will culminate in the presentation of a portfolio of work you have created and a longer research project in French or English on a French or Francophone topic of your choice.

You can also choose to combine your French studies with other disciplines by declaring a French minor or a French joint or double major. French offers insight into and connections with many different fields; students complement their studies with art, government, history, economics, or international studies.

French Language Placement Exam

If you’re admitted to F&M and plan to study French, you must complete a language placement exam. You will complete this test the summer before you arrive on campus. 

Wondering what a French course is like? Take a look at our course catalog to explore what’s available to you.

Our Faculty and Staff

Vanessa C Borilot

Adjunct Assistant Professor, French

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Lisa M Gasbarrone

Professor of French

International Studies

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Nadra Hebouche

Associate Professor of Francophone Studies and French, Department Chair of French, Francophone Studies

Africana Studies

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Carrie C Landfried

Associate Professor of French, Chair of Language Studies Council

Comparative Literary Studies

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Scott Lerner

Arthur and Katherine Shadek Professor of Humanities and French and Italian, Department Chair of Italian Studies & Hebrew, Program Chair of Judaic Studies

Comparative Literary Studies; French; Judaic Studies

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Shari Vegso

Academic Department Coordinator

Chinese Language Program; Comparative Literary Studies; French; German and Russian Studies; International Studies; Italian Studies and Hebrew; Japanese Language Program; Latin American Studies; Spanish

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Cindy Yetter-Vassot

Associate Professor of French

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Learning Outside the Classroom

Our French professors are committed to tailoring your education to your interests and goals, and helping you discover research and study-abroad opportunities to broaden your understanding of the discipline. 

Off-Campus Study

When learning a foreign language, it’s important to experience its use in communities that speak it natively. All French students are encouraged to spend a semester or summer abroad, with programs in Paris, Nantes, Strasbourg, Aix-en-Provence, Brussels, Geneva or Senegal. Some programs provide students the opportunity to do a semester-long internship with a French government agency or private business. There are several scholarship awards available to assist students who wish to study abroad for the summer, including the Harry L. Butler Award and the John A. Griffin Award. 
Explore off-campus study at F&M

Research Opportunities

As a French major, you may have the opportunity to weave research into your academic experience. With faculty guidance, you can do a more in-depth dive into the French or Francophone topics that interest you most.
Explore research at F&M

Honors in French

Outstanding students in French Studies may be invited to complete an honors project for which you’ll present an oral defense in front of a jury.

Success Beyond F&M

Studying French at F&M will open doors 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. The interpretive skills, practical skills, cultural knowledge and awareness, and the intellectual connections you gain are valuable for any post-college plan.

Graduate School

Studying French at F&M serves as an excellent foundation for a wide range of graduate programs. Recent graduates have served in the Peace Corps, received French government teaching assistantships, or entered highly respected graduate programs in French.

Career Paths

Recent graduates of French at F&M have pursued careers in international banking, law, education, and fashion marketing. They hold positions such as:

  • Accountant
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney
  • Assistant Dean of Diversity
  • Associate Professor of French
  • Associate Underwriter
  • Coordinator of Modern Languages
  • Digital Marketing Manager & Strategist
  • Director of Inclusion
  • English Teaching Assistant
  • Environmental Protection Specialist
  • Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing 
  • Financial Advisor
  • French Teacher
  • General Counsel
  • Global Manager of Human Resources

Faculty Spotlight

Unraveling Political and Social Upheaval in Hugo’s ‘Les Misérables’

Professor of French Lisa Gasbarrone taught a Connections focused on an in-depth reading and analysis of Victor Hugo’s renowned, 19th-century historical novel, “Les Misérables.” "We read the novel along with selected secondary sources as we discussed a range of topics. History, politics, revolution, redemption, the nature of crime and punishment, the causes of poverty, equality and equity, justice, mercy and the law," Gasbarrone said.
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Faculty Spotlight

African Americans in Paris

Associate Professor of French Carrie Landfried and 15 students spent an spent an afternoon in the Phillips Museum of Art with Bill Hutson, who was a professor of painting at F&M for more than 20 years. The group discussed the subject of African Americans who went to reside in welcoming Paris. Hutson, who passed away in 2022, had spent time in the City of Light in the 1960s. "All kinds of people had been there before me," Hutson said. "I think I'm walking in their footprints before I realize, 'You know what? I can be on their path, but I'm not putting my feet in their footprints.'"
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Related Fields of Study

Comparative Literary Studies

Investigate the development of literature in an international and historical context. When you immerse yourself in comparative literary studies at F&M, you’ll explore foundational works of literature from a variety of historical periods and national traditions to better understand the ways in which literary processes unfold in various environments.

History

Embark on an enriching journey through time, exploring a vast range of geographic regions, topical themes, and time periods. By studying history at F&M, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of history and historical processes, and develop keen insight into how they have shaped the present and will influence the future.

International Studies

International studies is an innovative program that combines off-campus study in a non-English-speaking location with on- and off-campus coursework. As a student of international studies at F&M, you will develop a global perspective and immerse yourself in the languages and cultures of non-English-speaking countries and regions.

Explore French at F&M

October 6, 2023

Sociology Student Takes Action Against Human Trafficking

Sophomore Gubat Abdullaev spent the summer in Sweden researching the human-trafficking industry and presenting his findings to the Danish Institute for Study Abroad.

February 3, 2023

Global Grad Earns Pickering Fellowship

When Franklin & Marshall College graduate Paolo Caglioti '21 took the first-year course F&M grad Paolo Caglioti '21 was recently named a Pickering Fellowship, a competitive award that prepares young graduates for foreign service careers.

November 17, 2021

French Connections: Where Students and an Artist Meet

On the subject of African Americans who went to reside in welcoming Paris, a Franklin & Marshall professor and her Connections I class spent an afternoon with a painter, associated with the College for 30 years, who spent time in the City of Light in the 1960s.