Majoring in French


Major in French at Connecticut College and you will develop linguistic and cultural fluency, regardless of your starting point. The benefits of studying French extend far beyond knowledge of the language and the Francophone world. When you speak only one language, it's hard to grasp the extent to which language itself shapes our thoughts, perceptions and values. As a French major, you step outside your own linguistic framework and acquire a different view of the world. You learn to recognize and value cultural differences and to look at issues from different perspectives. With this understanding, you are well-prepared for advanced studies and career opportunities in a limitless range of fields.

Special opportunities

Many courses are co-offered with other academic departments, including anthropology, film studies, and gender and women’s studies. Classes are small and faculty are attentive. You are challenged to hone your critical thinking skills and augment your language study with the perspectives and analytical modes of many disciplines. Some French majors pursue a certificate with one of the College's centers for interdisciplinary scholarship or with the museum studies program.

International opportunities and study abroad

You can hone your language skills on campus in the language lab or at the French table in Knowlton Language House's international dining room. As a French major, you study abroad for at least one semester and possibly an entire year. Many students go to France, but in recent years, others have studied literature and native crafts in Senegal and Cameroon, family health and economic development in Mali, and environmental issues in Madagascar.

What can you do with a majorcertificate in French?

Here are some of the positions our graduates have gone on to hold:

  • International Marketing, Bloomberg LP
  • Program Analyst (West Africa), Millennium Challenge Corp.
  • News Producer/ UN Correspondent, TV ASAHI
  • Chair, American School in London
  • Trademark Attorney, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
  • Communications Professional, Bloomberg LP
  • French Teacher, Farnsworth Middle School
  • Partner, Heidrick & Struggles
  • Attorney (International Law), Haight Gardner Holland & Knight
  • President, Vermont Butter and Cheese Co.
  • French Social Media Associate, Maclaren USA Inc.
  • Professor of French, St. Olaf College
  • Vice President, JP Morgan Chase
  • Recruiting Coordinator for Business Operations, Google Inc.
  • Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  • Senior Donor Relations Officer, United Nations World Food Programme
  • Senior Art Buyer, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide
  • Teacher, New York City Department of Education
  • Communications Manager, Arts, MIT
  • Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers


Ronan Chalmin, Lecturer of French Ronan Chalmin, Lecturer of French

Ronan Chalmin, Lecturer of French
Eighteenth-century philosophy, political thought, and science • Revolution and counter-revolution • The French Revolution’s Impact on the Caribbean colonies • The problem of equality in 18th-century thought

Nathalie Etoke, Associate Professor of French and Africana Studies Nathalie Etoke, Associate Professor of French and Africana Studies

Nathalie Etoke, Associate Professor of French and Africana Studies
Africana studies (film, literature, philosophy) • LGBT in the Afro-diasporic context • Melancholia Africana (loss, mourning and survival in Africa, America and the Caribbean) • Cultural studies (immigration, post-Colonial French identities, French Hip Hop, urban films)

Catherine J. Spencer, Professor of French Catherine J. Spencer, Professor of French

Catherine J. Spencer, Professor of French
17th century French literature • French cinema • Theory (structuralism & Post); Gay and Lesbian/Queer theory • "Bande dessinee" - Franco-Belgian comics

Student profile

Andrew Carten Andrew Carten


Q: Why major in French?
A: When I arrived at Connecticut College, I had four years of high-school French and had been to France on a two-week exchange program. I heard good things about the French Department's professors and the attention they give to the majors.

Q: What were your favorite classes?
A: "French Cinema" and "Introduction to Literary Analysis." The cinema course was all in French. We learned how films are made, why certain angles were used for certain images and the points that filmmakers tried to get across in a certain style. "Introduction to Literary Analysis" was demanding, with a lot of work. But I came to appreciate a subject in which I hadn't had much experience.

Q: Did you study abroad?
A: The summer after my junior year I did a two-month internship with a wine marketing company in Montpellier, France. I worked almost entirely in French and was given a lot responsibility. I traveled around France to wine functions. The internship helped me understand how businesses are organized and run in France.

Selected courses

  • Pensez Français: The French Cultural Experience
  • New Wave Film, Then and Now
  • Civilization through Conversation
  • French Cinema
  • Cities on the Screen: Constructing Urban Space in the Cinema
  • Black Blanc Beur Cinema/ Literature


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