Loyola University Maryland

Modern Languages & Literatures

French Major

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« Every man has two countries: his own and France. » Thomas Jefferson

In today’s increasingly multicultural and globalized world, French is one of the most practical foreign languages. Over 240 million people in 43 countries speak French and it is the only language other than English spoken on five continents. After English, it is the second most frequently taught language and it is an official or administrative language in more than 40 countries throughout the world. French is also the third most frequently spoken non-English language in U. S. homes. Its importance for global communication can be seen by its status as an official working language of the United Nations, NATO, the European Union, UNESCO, the World Health Organization, Amnesty International, the International Monetary Fund, the International Olympic Committee, and the International Red Cross.   

France’s standing as an economic power and its ties to the U.S. economy make French one of the most useful languages throughout the world —as well as in the United States. France has the fifth largest economy in the world after the U.S., Japan, China, and Germany. In recent years, the U.S. has been the largest direct investor in France and France ranks sixth among investors in the U.S. Over two thousand French companies in the U.S. employ over a half a million Americans in the U.S. Among foreign countries doing business in the U.S., France employs the third largest number of Americans. French is also one of the languages spoken in Canada, our largest trading partner. The Francophone province of Quebec is the sixth largest trading partner of the U.S. and the U.S. exports and imports more from countries having French as a national language than to countries having any other foreign language.

France continues to be in the forefront in the areas of science and technology: it is a world leader in medical research (the AIDS virus was first isolated by French doctors), it is the fourth largest producer of automobiles; it is third in the manufacture of electronic equipment (they own RCA and Motorola), it is a European leader in aerospace (Airbus; most commercial satellites are launched by French Ariane rockets), it is the world’s second largest builder and exporter of civilian and military aircraft. It has one of the most advanced systems of communication in the world (fiber optics is a French invention) and the TGV, the world’s fastest train, is French.

French literature and arts are among the richest in the modern western world with authors such as Rabelais, Montaigne, Molière, Racine, Proust and Duras, to name but a few. In addition, its contribution to the fields of art, music, dance, fashion, cuisine and cinema are internationally celebrated. More recently, Francophone authors, philosophers, historians, musicians and artists from outside France have increasingly gained recognition. France and the United States have a long shared heritage. France is our oldest ally and French thinkers and philosophers of the enlightenment such as Montesquieu, Rousseau, Diderot and Voltaire not only inspired American revolutionaries, but, indeed, greatly influenced every aspect of colonial politics, government and religion.

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Loyola offers both a major and minor in French, with courses ranging from beginning language courses to advanced language, literature and culture courses. Elementary and intermediate language courses provide balanced practice of the four language skills, —reading, writing, speaking and listening— in meaningful and real-world contexts, as well as an introduction to French and Francophone literatures and cultures. Advanced French courses are designed to help students gain an understanding of and appreciation for French and Francophone language, history, culture, and literature.

Students who wish to major in French take twelve courses beyond the core requirement, including three to four courses at the 200-level and the remainder at the 300-level. Students who minor in French take six courses beyond the core requirement. To obtain a minor, students generally take two courses at the 200-level and four courses at the 300-level. The French minor can be combined with a major in Business, Science, Social Science, Education or the Humanities.

Through Loyola’s International Programs, students have the opportunity to study abroad in France for a semester or for a full academic year at the Sup de Co in La Rochelle (Business majors, French minors), the American University in Paris (any major or minor) or the Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier, France (French majors and minors). Students planning on studying abroad during their junior year should meet with a member of the French faculty to discuss their study abroad options early in their sophomore year.

Loyola also offers two summer study abroad programs: one is in Montpellier, France (offered every summer) and one in Guadeloupe (offered every other summer). These programs are open to French majors and minors as well as students completing their language requirement. Interested students should contact a member of the French faculty to obtain more information.

All French majors and minors are strongly encouraged to study abroad in one of Loyola’s programs in France.