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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 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, the arts, 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 Secondary Education program and College of Education.
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 six credits in French language and French culture (FRE 385, FRE 386). 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, where students are placed in positions related to their career focus.