The French and Francophone Studies major emphasizes the use of the French language through a curriculum that closely relates the classroom to the Francophone world; that is, everywhere that French is spoken. Creating a personal environment, French-speaking faculty and students participate in film, creative writing, and cultural workshops and retreats. In small classroom settings students study the literature and culture of France and expand their horizons to cultures of such Francophone regions as West Africa, North Africa, Quebec, Louisiana, the Caribbean, and Vietnam. Visiting literary critics, artists, consular officials, and guests from various regions of the French-speaking world complement classroom studies. Videos, films, and computer software integral to the program are available on campus.
The program prepares students to read, understand, speak, and write the French language with advanced proficiency and to understand the rich fabric of Francophone cultures throughout the world. Courses focus on different themes each year, allowing students to gain an in-depth understanding of issues particularly relevant to their academic goals and future careers.
Students in the major are required to study abroad in France or in a Francophone country. There are many outstanding opportunities to complete this requirement in a meaningful way.
Throughout the world, French is one of the most significant languages of diplomacy, communication, and culture. At the same time, our French program recognizes that in the Francophone world, other languages and indigenous cultures have valuable alternative perspectives important for our students, as future national and global leaders, to understand and consider. For this reason, majors are also encouraged to study a second language spoken in a Francophone region, such as Arabic, Wolof, Pulaar, or Creole.
French and Francophone studies majors can work nationally and internationally in the following areas: non-governmental organization official or employee, interpreter, teacher, ESL teacher, foreign service diplomat, United Nations employee, foreign correspondent, travel agent, airline employee, international business person or banker, literary translator, Francophone country tour guide, museum curator (in conjunction with art history studies), import/ export business owner. In the new global economy, many other careers also demand the intercultural expertise acquired by French and Francophone studies majors.
The program prepares students to take advantage of many opportunities for volunteering in international organizations such as the Peace Corps.
Special Scholarship and Awards
The Department of World Languages and Cultures has three permanent scholarships and awards:
- The Benavides-Garb Family International Travel Award
- The Joe and Helen Bottino Memorial Travel Award
- The Budig-Markin Family Francophone African Studies Award
- The Frank B. Wood Scholarship
All language students are encouraged to apply for these important scholarships and awards to enhance language studies with an international residence. Visit the World Languages and Cultures website for further information.
All students, with or without any previous French language background, are welcome to the program. Students without previous French language background will have the opportunity to acquire the language from the beginning, following the language course sequence: FREN 105 , FREN 106 , FREN 107 , and FREN 207 . Students with prior language background will have a head start on the major. Discuss your particular level with a faculty advisor.