The French curriculum focuses on developing students’ skills in the language and providing a broad and varied acquaintance with French and Francophone cultures and literatures. Since language is a key to unlocking new and different cultures, the program makes available to students the textual, oral, and visual products of the French-speaking world. It also offers familiarity with the interdisciplinary exchanges—art, literature, history, politics, music, philosophy—that inform French studies today.

All courses are conducted in French with the exception of the first-year seminar (120) and the Romance Language and Literatures Seminar (321) in which the course is taught in English but all reading and writing are done in French. In language courses, students work with native French and Francophone assistants in small supplementary conversation groups. Technological resources—Web-based and computer-assisted applications, videoconferencing, iMovie, and various multimedia tools—are used in courses at all levels to foster individual learning and to promote communication with the international community. A comprehensive library of DVDs and classic French texts is maintained in the department office.

Graduates of Mount Holyoke who have majored in French have used the language and analytical skills acquired during their studies to pursue a wide range of career options, from education, government service, and law to international banking, publishing, and marketing.

The department offers courses in language, culture, and literature at all levels. Students wishing to take their first French course, at any level, at Mount Holyoke must take a placement exam.  Use the password "marylyon" to access the placement exam.