Studying a foreign language opens doors to the understanding of other cultures and the world around us. The faculty believes that students should cultivate knowledge of at least one foreign culture through its language as an essential part of a liberal arts education. The French Studies Department offers distinct majors that combine the study of language, culture and literature with international affairs, communications, music, theater and art, as well as a minor. The curriculum promotes oral and written fluency in French, and is designed to give students an in-depth familiarity with the language, culture, and literature of France and the French-speaking world. Faculty members in French Studies are specialists in French literature and culture, and are either native to or have spent considerable time in France and Francophone countries.
By assessment in oral fluency and written exams in all courses, graduating majors in French Studies will:
Demonstrate an ability to communicate orally and in writing in French, and be aware of appropriateness of communication with respect to situation and register.
Acquire a broad appreciation and deep understanding of cultural and linguistic differences in France and other French-speaking countries.
Read French texts critically and with aesthetic appreciation.
Write analytically and interpretively in French, and with knowledge of research protocols and general familiarity with French literary history.
Cultivate awareness of important political and cultural issues in countries where French is spoken.
French Theme Houses and the Michel Rocchi International District
The department supports the learning concept of a living-learning residential atmosphere and encourages students to participate in a living-language program. Students have the opportunity to live in university-owned houses on campus and communicate in French in a small group environment. The International District located in Commencement Hall offers cultural programs and activities to students with varied international experiences and backgrounds. Applications for the Michel Rocchi International District, and for language-based theme houses are available from the Office of Residence Life and on the department home page.