Jump the navigation
Assorted French literature.

French & Francophone Studies


Make the French connection.

When you study French and Francophone Studies at Whitman College, you don’t just learn a language. You discover the depth and influence of the French-speaking world on global literature, history, technology, environment and culture. As a French major, you’ll learn to express complex ideas clearly in both French and English. Whitman’s classes are small and highly interactive, so you’ll get personal attention from professors and make meaningful connections with peers. Whitman French majors leave college with a versatile skill set that can lead to careers in creative writing, education, international relations, business, communications, social work, the arts and much more.

3 Reasons to Study French & Francophone Studies at Whitman

A Truly Unique Perspective

As a French major, you’ll do more than conjugate verbs. You’ll embark on a diverse exploration of Francophone culture. In addition to classes specifically designed to develop your fluency, Whitman’s faculty teach courses that explore French and Francophone literature, history, theory, film, comics, food and other topics.

Collaborations That Count

In and out of class, you’ll have the chance to develop your research, writing, speaking, presenting and collaborative-thinking skills. Whitman French majors often team up with professors. They’ve used French-Canadian immigrant letters to map migration chains to Washington state, examined irony in Martinican photo essays, and worked on a study of Algerian-French philosopher Jacques Derrida.

The Major+French Option

Whitman French students can explore the unique Major+French program, which allows them to combine French with study in another discipline—like Psychology, Geology, Religion or Sociology. Major+French students, for example, might study their major subject in a French-speaking country, draw on French-language source materials for their senior research project or do an internship abroad.

Interested in French & Francophone Studies?

We’d love to send you information, including more on academic majors and student life at our beautiful campus in Walla Walla, Washington.

Merry C., French and Francophone studies major

It's so fun! There is such a vibrant community of French speakers at Whitman. It's the perfect way to meet new people, develop a second language and learn about the world.”

Our Whitman Student Voices Blog

Courses in French & Francophone Studies

See just a few of the fascinating courses you might take.

French media feed.
FREN 255


Hone your French language skills while you make sense of recent cultural and political events in France and the Francophone world. In this course, you’ll explore the latest headlines through a broad range of news media platforms. Then you’ll put your knowledge into practice in real-world conversations.

Learn More
French flag.
FREN 260

Improv(ing) in French

Develop your French-speaking speed, fluency and range through theatrical improv. In-class exercises blend traditional theater sports games with scene work and text-based improvisation. It’s a fun and unforgettable way to build your vocabulary and confidence in speaking French.

Learn More
French pastrie.
FREN 300

Cuisine et gastronomie

Explore the flavors and words of French cooking. In this course, you’ll investigate the role culinary traditions have played in Francophone national identity—and examine the relationship between food and class. With cultural touchstones from television shows like Qui sera le prochain grand pâtissier to the Guide Michelin, you’ll definitely want a seat at this table.

Learn More
Reading a book.
FREN 310

Translation: Theory and Practice

Translation is both a creative practice and a global necessity. In this course, you’ll learn what goes into the process of translation and explore the many contexts in which it takes place, from film subtitles to official documents to machine translation. In class, through readings, films, discussion and games, you’ll experience what it’s really like to translate between English and French.

Learn More
FREN 320

French Beyond France

Did you know the majority of the world’s 300 million French speakers live outside France? From the Caribbean to Quebec, Senegal to Switzerland, in this course you’ll examine the widely varying roles French plays globally and explore how the language varies as it appears in other settings and coexists with other languages.

Learn More
ZFrench comic book.
FREN 325

French Comics

The Franco-Belge “bande dessinée” or “ninth art” is the third largest comic market in the world after the U.S. and Japan. This course will take you on a journey through the poetics of French-language graphic narratives. You’ll dive into recent works from multiple sub-genres, including fiction, documentary, adventure, autobiography and social commentary.

Learn More

Combined Majors

Grapes on the vine.


Learn More
Cliffs meeting the ocean.


Learn More
Book shelves with ladder.


Learn More
Church old.


Learn More
French flag waving.


Learn More
Student outside the French house on campus.

Amazing Experiences You Can Pursue

Explore your world. Through Whitman’s off-campus studies program, you could be a teaching assistant in France, study economics in Switzerland, or explore the French diaspora in places like Morocco or Cameroon. Many programs offer international internship opportunities that can give you an edge as you prepare to launch your career. 

Get relevant work-study experience. French and Francophone Studies majors have worked in local public schools teaching French language and Francophone culture to students in after-school programs. They’ve been French tutors for the Academic Resource Center. And they’ve contributed to on-campus inclusion efforts through the Intercultural Center.

Immerse yourself on campus. Get together with other French majors and professors every Friday for lunchtime conversation practice. Live in La Maison with French students and a native French speaker. Or just enjoy La Maison’s calendar of fun events all year long, like French film screenings and off-campus study info sessions.

Your Questions Answered

French and Francophone Studies majors gain in-depth knowledge of the French language as well as learning about the history, literature, art and culture of the Francophone (French-speaking) world. More than just learning a language, a bachelor’s degree in French and Francophone Studies prepares you to understand the links between diverse cultures connected by a common language, as well as how language itself shapes our perspective on the world.

A degree in French is very versatile. It can prepare you for jobs in education, business, diplomacy, translation, nonprofits, science or the arts, for instance. Speaking a second language is also a valuable skill to have if you want to work internationally. And whatever career you pursue, a French major can teach you in-demand skills like writing, speaking, problem solving and cultural competency.

beaker duck hiker icon-a-to-z icon-arrow-circle-down icon-arrow-circle-up icon-arrow-down icon-arrow-left icon-arrow-right icon-arrow-up icon-calendar-no-circle icon-calendar icon-camera icon-clock icon-cv icon-dot icon-down-triangle icon-email-circle icon-email icon-external-link icon-facebook icon-flickr icon-generic-blog icon-google-plus icon-home icon-instagram icon-library icon-link-circle icon-link-inverted icon-linkedin icon-lock icon-magazine icon-map-pin icon-map2 icon-menu-hamburger icon-menu-mobile-a icon-menu-mobile-b icon-menu-x icon-mywhitman-cog icon-news icon-phone icon-pinterest icon-play icon-quote icon-search-a icon-search-b icon-search-mobile-a icon-search-mobile-b icon-share icon-snail-mail icon-tumblr icon-twitter icon-vimeo icon-youtube logo-whitman-nc-flat logo-whitman-nc-stacked logo-whitman-no-clocktower slider-category-arrow-2px slider-category-arrow-no-line slider-category-arrow-solid slider-category-arrow slider-category-line-2px slider-category-line-solid slider-category-line tc_icon-filmstrip-fl tc_icon-filmstrip-ln tc_icon-play-fl-closed tc_icon-play-fl-open tc_icon-play-ln-closed tc_icon-play-ln-open wifi