For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences section in this catalog.
Chair: Caillaud. Professor: Cata; Associate Professors: Caillaud, Eick, Golembeski, Guikema; Affiliate: Wilson.
French is a language spoken natively on all continents by over 160 million speakers and as a second language by millions more. French is in fact the most commonly studied second language in the world. It remains therefore one of the major languages of diplomacy worldwide. The study of French encompasses both a study of the language and the investigation of the cultures/literatures wherever French is spoken. French and Francophone culture is vibrant: French is a language of the arts and literature, of technology, of social and political institutions that promote freedom of thought and expression as well as multiculturalism. Study of the French language prepares students for multicultural career settings in the United States and abroad.
A French major and minor are available. Students majoring in French will choose one or more of three areas of emphasis: Literature, Linguistics or Civilization. A French minor complements majors in many other fields, such as International Relations, Business, Philosophy, English, Education, History, and increasingly the Sciences. Students who plan to complete the French Major or Minor for Secondary Education Certification must meet the additional requirements of the French program and College of Education.
The major in French Language and Literature prepares students for multicultural careers in both the United States and abroad. Career opportunities exist in many areas, including foreign service, translation and interpreting, teaching, consulting, sales and marketing, international business and international relations, to name a few. The French Section organizes workshops on career opportunities in French each year.
Graduate School Opportunities
The major in French prepares students for graduate study in French Literature, Civilization or Linguistics. Students seeking admission to graduate school should complete a study abroad program as part of their undergraduate education and should begin study of at least one other language. Workshops on graduate school opportunities are conducted each year. Students interested should seek the counsel of their major advisor. Many graduate schools offer teaching assistantships.
The French Section of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures works closely with the Padnos International Center to make available many opportunities for Study Abroad. We offer one faculty-led summer program in Nice, France, where students complete 6 credits in French Language and French Culture (FRE 380). Semester-long programs are offered with several partner institutions in France: in Angers (the École Supérieure des sciences commerciales d’Angers and the Université Catholique), and in Grenoble (Groupe ESC). Many other opportunities for study abroad are available. We also offer summer internships in France through EUSA. Students are placed in positions related to their career focus.
Students are encouraged to be involved in the French Club, which organizes conversation groups, film nights, and a variety of cultural activities and excursions. Grand Valley is home to the Mu Epsilon Chapter of Pi Delta Phi, the National French Honor Society. Induction into the Society takes place in April of each year for qualified candidates.