World Languages and Cultures
Our language programs integrate language and culture at all levels. While practical use of French is essential, language learning in the liberal arts tradition also means deep reflection on the interdependence of language and culture.
French Major at a glance
Of language majors at Allegheny double major.
Of employers say they rely on employees with skills in languages other than English.
Why study French at Allegheny?
Complete a Senior Research Project in French.
Every student works closely with a professor to research a topic their choice, and does their research and writing in French!
Combine your French study with expertise in another field.
Because every French major also has a minor, and many double major, you'll graduate ready to put your finely-tuned language and cultural skills to work in a field of your choice.
Get more "talk time."
Allegheny's small classes mean you have more time to practice the language in class.
Join a close-knit community.
You'll get to know other language students and be part of a community of students who love language in and out of the classroom.
A 4-year Journey into Language and Culture
From "Bonjour!" to your Senior Project, a French major will engage you with French-speaking cultures from day one and will keep improving your language skills until graduation and beyond. Plan ahead for all the opportunities before you!
Get the basics in language and culture. You can start from the very beginning if French is new to you, or if you've studied French before, we'll make sure you start in the right class to make the most of what you already know, while still building a solid foundation for the coming years.
In your second year, you'll continue to make your way through intermediate courses. This is a great time to reach out into the French-speaking community on campus, if you haven't already — maybe try having lunch at French Table once a week, or apply to live in the French house in the Max Kade Wing, where you'll speak French all the time and have a native speaker for a roommate! And don't forget to declare your French major before the end of the year!
By now you'll be moving toward the advanced level in your language skill and gaining rich knowledge and understanding of culture, and nothing helps you do that more than studying in a French-speaking country. Most French majors go abroad in their third year. Visit the International Education Office and talk to your professors to learn about your options, and talk with your advisor early to make sure you don't miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime immersion opportunity!
By now, you've had an unforgettable time abroad, speaking French comes easy to you, and you might even have a bit of reverse culture shock when you return home to Allegheny! For most students, the Senior Comp is the defining feature of their major in the fourth year. You'll start by choosing a topic related to a French-speaking culture and will work with a professor to refine, research, and develop it, and in the spring semester, you'll write an extensive thesis — all in French!
French Major Learning Outcomes
What will I be able to do in French if I major in it?
You'll produce a major research project on a topic in a French-speaking culture and have in-depth conversations about it with your professors
Read and Reflect
You'll be able to understand and interpret complex texts, including academic texts, with nuance.
You'll be able to follow conversations and discussions including many topics and viewpoints.
You'll be able to work with others in French to solve problems, even if they're complex and involve unexpected complications.
Share and Exchange
You'll be able to maintain extended conversations in French about activities, experiences, preferences, opinions, ideas, and emotions.
You'll understand the institutions, politics, geography, history, customs, and other aspects of culture in places where French is spoken.
You'll learn how knowledge of culture can inform your exchanges with people from French-speaking cultures, so you can be a lifelong learner.
Derek Reno, Alumnus
Class of 2016, Environmental Science and French Double Major
“ The faculty are top-notch professors and are a wealth of information about both the language and the culture. With their help, I’ve been able to drastically increase my fluency in the French language. ”