About the program
Why study French?
- Augustana College offers a major and minor in French, as well as a major for teaching French. The department is relatively large for a language department in a college of our size: between 15 and 20 majors in any year. The program is flexible and many students double-major -- in areas ranging from accounting to art history, from physics to philosophy -- all with a strong foundation in the liberal arts.
- Unlike many college programs which are choosing less-challenging cultural overviews rather than teaching literature in the original language, Augustana's French department has maintained a strong language and literature program that is highly favorable with students. The program offers an array of courses at the advanced level, as well as beginning courses.
- The three full-time faculty all have the Ph.D. and a wide range of complementary specializations, including the expanding area of Francophone studies. Through study, international travel and family origin, the combined faculty also have experience with German, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Greek and Arabic languages.
Outside the classroom
- At the end-of-term Soirée Francaise, every student in a French course gathers before a large audience in an auditorium to perform either a reading, monologue or short dialogue that demonstrates their learning in that term's coursework. This unique cocurricular event helps develop important public speaking skills and helps reinforce the camaraderie among our students in French studies.
- Because of the program's "critical mass," the department has several popular extracurricular activities organized by and for students of French, such as the French Club, a weekly French Table discussion group and the annual French play-entirely produced, directed and performed by students.
- During a six-week summer program through the Université de Bourgogne, students can travel for two weeks and then engage in intensive French language study at the university in Dijon, France. Though the program is organized by and includes an Augustana faculty member, students study with native speakers/professors in a large university setting along with other students from around the world. Augustana's French Department also makes arrangements for students who wish to spend a semester or a year studying abroad.
Because of our students' strong preparation in French and Francophone literature, every Augustana French major who decides to pursue graduate study in French is admitted to a prestigious graduate program -- and most have a variety of graduate school options.
What students say
Kevin Carton ‘10, French, communication studies and Africana Studies:
You can tell from your first encounter with a French professor at Augustana that they are passionate about what they teach. They understand that students enter their department at different levels and are more than happy to work one-on-one with you in problem areas. This was especially helpful for me as I did not discover my passion for the language until my later years in high school and consequently, had some catching up to do. The faculty are outstanding in that they not only push you to perfect your grammar skills, but are also extraordinarily knowledgeable in French literature and Francophone culture. It's exciting to be a part of a community that pushes you to view French literature in a new lens while also strengthening your understanding of the history of France.
Lisa Neverman ‘09, pre-medicine and French:
"I wanted to continue French after high school so when I realized I could fit a French major in with the biology and pre-med programs, I knew Augustana was right for me. I always felt comfortable talking with my French professors about anything and felt they were genuinely invested in me and my progress as a reader, writer and cultural learner of the French-speaking world. Medicine was my primary career path choice, but knowledge of the French language has proven to be both useful and marketable. I'm currently in the application process to attend medical school. In the interim, I'm working as a nursing assistant on the birthplace unit at a hospital. Because of my French studies, I can help translate for the large population of West Africans in the area."