About the program

French has long been the mother tongue of diplomacy, art, history and culture. Spoken worldwide, it continues to be a leading language throughout Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia, and North and South America. Roanoke's French program offers depth and flexibility for students seeking global experiences tailored to their interests.  

Why study French at Roanoke?

Open the door. The study of French opens doors to travel, culture, graduate study and career opportunities as diverse as medical research, museum curation and the intelligence services.

Step out. Roanoke's special relationships with universities across the globe give students access to outstanding study abroad experiences throughout France, Morocco and Switzerland.

Say it. Full language immersion in upper-level French courses significantly improves student comprehension, speech and writing.  

Explore French firsthand

International travel, independent research and internship opportunities offer students the chance to gain extraordinary real-world experiences while developing their French language skills. Learn more

Study abroad 

Majors must complete one period of study abroad. Appropriate periods of study abroad include an Intensive Learning or May Term travel course, a summer, semester, or year abroad with a department-approved program such as ISEP, CREPUQ, or another university-sponsored program.

Student perspectives

...on studying abroad in Morocco:

Katie Thornton riding a camel

"My semester in Morocco was absolutely life-changing. It was so fascinating to explore a country and a culture so different from my own. I was constantly out of my comfort zone, and I was always challenging myself. I loved practicing my French with Moroccans and my host family because everyone was so nice and encouraging, and I was able to become much more comfortable speaking the language. Conversations often spanned three or more languages, beginning in Moroccan Arabic and some Modern Standard Arabic followed by some French. Sometimes Spanish, English, Berber, and Hebrew were also spoken so that everyone understood what was going on. I miss this culture and melange of languages everyday!" -Katie Thornton, '12

...on studying abroad in Paris, France:

Students in front of the Eiffel Tour in Paris, France

"This trip was my first time outside the country and while I had many foreign experiences, the presence of a Roanoke professor and thirteen fellow students provided me with a sense of familiarity. My favorite day included the Louvre, Berthillon ice cream, strawberry and Nutella crepes, going up the Eiffel Tower, and taking a Bateaux Mouches boat tour on the Seine. I would do this May Term over and over again!" -Meghan Wilcock, '13

What's next?

Work. French students frequently pursue careers in international relations, business, healthcare, education, social services, criminal justice and political science. Recent modern language graduates are working both domestically and abroad in a range of positions, including as the Director of Global Health Programs at Physicians for Peace, an analyst for CACI International, an English Teacher at the French Embassy and attorneys with various firms.   

Graduate studies. French students are well prepared for graduate school in a range of programs. Recent modern language graduates, for example, have gone on to study curating at the Courtaud Institute of Art, medicine at the University of Vermont, and decorative arts at Parsons School of Design.  

Courses in French

Program requirements


See our faculty page.