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French

Bringing people together through language

The technology revolution has transformed the way we communicate around the world. People in the most remote parts of the globe can seem like close neighbors. Yet our language differences continue to be a barrier to communication, which makes the study of foreign languages more important than ever.

Elon’s Department of World Languages and Cultures offers a major in French, an international language spoken in approximately 50 countries and regions on five continents. The study of French is also ideal as a second major combined with many fields, especially business, international studies and communications. Students majoring in another discipline can also minor in French, which provides a distinct advantage for anyone interested in a career in the international arena.

Elon’s French program combines a broad-based liberal arts education with a focus on language study. The Department of World Languages and Cultures emphasizes the practical use of French, and classroom learning is enhanced by digital technology as well as by opportunities to study abroad. All classes in the major curriculum, including beginning levels, are taught in French. The Language Media Center offers support for all classes and opportunities to further enhance your language study.

As a French major, you will focus on developing your listening, speaking, reading and writing skills as you expand your knowledge of French and Francophone cultures in courses such as Written and Oral Expression, French and Francophone Literature, and French Civilization and Cinema, among other language, culture and literature courses.

“I graduated from Elon in May 2010 and moved to Paris shortly after to pursue my master's degree. I am now working full-time in Paris for Orange, France’s largest telecommunications company, as a marketing and innovation consultant. My job is to help our clients understand and better integrate new digital tools within their company. I work with French and international clients on a daily basis, often speaking more French than English. Without French, I would not be able to do my job. I have learned so much living and working in Paris, and I am very thankful for the skills I developed while studying French at Elon.”

Christina Peterson ’10

Study abroad

French majors are required to study abroad for at least one semester in a university-approved program where classes are taught in French. Elon offers students a chance to broaden their awareness of other cultures through study abroad programs in Paris and Nice. Students may also study in a number of French-speaking nations, including the French West Indies and Belgium.

On-campus opportunities

Elon students may enhance their on-campus learning by participating in the Maison Française living-learning community, weekly conversation tables and ongoing cultural events offered by the French Club and the Department of World Languages and Cultures. 

Exemplary students in the French program are eligible for induction into Pi Delta Phi, the national French Honor Society. French majors are also invited to participate in Elon’s annual Spring Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF). Recent presentations covered research on language and nationality, French political caricatures, the French legacy in Morocco, Manet, Georges Sand and Moliere. 

The Carlton building, home to the Department of World Languages and Cultures, features a modern language learning facility – the Language Media Center – housing the latest digital equipment. Carlton also offers an informal gathering space for enhanced faculty-student interaction.  

Outstanding faculty

One of the hallmarks of an Elon education is the close learning relationship between faculty and students. Because classes at Elon are small — the average class size is 22 with a 15-1 student-to-faculty ratio — individual attention from professors is the norm in all majors. Faculty members keep generous office hours and take a personal interest in each student’s progress. Elon’s French faculty blend professional experience and academic training with a love of teaching.

Dr. Sophie Adamson specializes in contemporary French and Francophone literature, with an emphasis on works by novelist Tahar Ben Jelloun, whom she interviewed in Paris in 2006. Other research interests include the question of identity in contemporary France and the study of social criticism through humor in literature, media and film. 

“I am currently pursuing an MA in art history at American University in Washington, D.C. Knowledge of the French language has proved useful time and time again, especially with regards to my graduate studies. I come across French artists, authors, terms, etc. on almost a daily basis whether in class or doing homework assignments. I often find myself using sources in French for various research projects (sources which I would not have otherwise been able to find in English). French has really broadened what I am able to access, understand, and ultimately accomplish as a graduate student.

Caitlin Glosser '12

Graduate study and career paths

As a French major, you will gain the skills and knowledge necessary to continue your studies in graduate school or to enter a variety of fields, including teaching, language translation or business. And the attention you will receive from faculty extends beyond graduation. Elon professors have developed contacts with companies, organizations and academic institutions, and they will use those resources to help you find the right job or graduate program following graduation. 

French majors have a variety of career options, including:

  • Teaching
  • International business
  • Government service
  • Entertainment (a recent graduate worked at Disneyland Paris)
  • Peace Corps
  • Publishing
  • Humanitarian service worldwide.

In addition, many French majors continue their studies at the graduate level, both domestically and abroad. One Elon graduate recently received a Rotary Scholarship for graduate study in Liege, Belgium.

Visit the Website for the French program.

Return to the Admissions majors page.