French has long been the mother tongue of diplomacy, art, history and culture. Spoken worldwide, the study of French opens doors to travel, graduate study and career opportunities as diverse as medical research, museum curation and the intelligence services.

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

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

French students frequently pursue careers in international relations, business, healthcare, education, social services, criminal justice and political science. 

We offer both a major and a minor in French.

Nous allons à Paris!

French & Chemistry?

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Kate combines two interests to create a career she will love

Semester Abroad Gives Chance to Travel, Learn, Grow

Alexandra Gautier spent a semester at Université Lumière Lyon 2. She was able to hone her French language skills, as well as travel to several countries in Europe. “I've definitely become a lot more independent because I was living in a country that didn't speak my native language. It meant I really had to speak up for myself and take care of problems that I had never anticipated encountering, such as getting a haircut,” Gautier said. “My French comprehension and production, both written and spoken, have massively improved- an education that I could not have received anywhere but France.”

“Our mission is to give our students the opportunity and the challenge to live multilingually. Proficiency in another language provides insights and understanding that are so needed in today's world.”

Dr. Charlene Kalinoski, professor in the Modern Languages department

Study Abroad Develops More than Just Language Skills

Emily Crane had the opportunity to study abroad with the Roanoke-Saint-Lô Sister Cities exchange program. "Speaking French on the street, at school, and with my host family gave so much context to what I'd learned in the classroom at Roanoke," said Crane. In addition to taking classes, Crane had an internship as an English teaching assistant at a K-12 school, where every hour she would move to a different class of students. "In addition to French skills, I also developed personally in a way that I don't think I would have through a summer at home," said Crane.

Sample Course Offerings:

  • FREN 338: Second Language Learning Students by the Notre Dame
  • FREN: 380: Contemporary France
  • FREN 431: The Renaissance Era

    View all courses


Alumni in law enforcement encourage students to enthusiastically pursue careers

These Roanoke alumni got where they are today by relentlessly pursuing their passions, not getting discouraged, and being as well-rounded as possible.

Roanoke College hosts inaugural International Film Festival

The inaugural Roanoke College International Film Festival will kick off next month, aiming to bring together the campus and Roanoke communities through culture and film. 

Photo of Charissa Roberson

"When I first came to Roanoke College, I didn't intend to study French as my second major--but after one semester, I had gained a new passion for speaking and learning the language and had discovered a wonderful community in the Modern Languages department. In my classes, I gained practical experience in using French, from giving presentations to discussing literary works to writing full-length scholarly papers. Throughout my studies, I always felt extremely supported by the professors in the French program, who are all dedicated to helping their students succeed at every level."  - Charissa Roberson

Photo of Katie Thornton on 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." -Katie Thornton

Photo of Meghan Wilcock by stone gargoyles on a building

"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 Bateau Mouche boat tour on the Seine. I would do this May Term over and over again!" -Meghan Wilcock

Language students get into well-respected graduate programs

Logos of: Ohio State, Columbia University, Parsons, the Courtauld Institute of Art