Maybe the French language is part of your heritage, or maybe you just loved the courses you took in high school. Now you’re seeking mastery of the language, broad exposure to its rich literatures, and knowledge of the French-speaking cultures. At UMW, you’ll challenge yourself with compelling coursework, aided by our language labs and access to computer tutorials. In conjunction with UMW’s strong liberal arts program, you’ll prepare yourself for a variety of international careers.
Students majoring in French who complete all requirements earn the degree of Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Modern Foreign Languages.
Areas of Study
UMW’s French offerings include composition, phonetics and oral proficiency, a variety of French-language literatures, translation, senior seminars, business French, French cultures, and French cinema. You may spend a semester abroad, or learn intensively in spring and summer faculty-led trips to Paris, Provence, or Quebec.
Recent UMW French graduates work in interpreting, translating, research, social services, education, the tourism industry, government agencies, the Peace Corps, and international business.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the demand for interpreters and translators will increase by more than 46 percent between 2012 and 2022, making this field one of the fastest-growing occupations. In 2012, the median annual wage in this field was $45,430.
Internships offer hands-on experience and course credit to juniors and seniors. Recent UMW language majors have done internships with Rappahannock Adult Education Programs (teaching ESL), the Virginia Department of Health, Fredericksburg public schools, the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault, the Rappahannock Council Against Domestic Violence, the Moss Free Clinic, and Rappahannock Legal Services. Some students have taken advantage of UMW’s proximity to Washington, D.C., to intern with the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, and the French embassy.
Students who have at least a 3.5 grade-point average in the French major and a 3.0 GPA overall by the beginning of senior year can apply to complete and defend a research-based thesis for departmental honors.
An undergraduate research grant, awarded through the Office of Academic Affairs, may be available for travel and other thesis-related expenses.
The major in French requires 36 credits, including composition, phonetics and oral proficiency, literature, stylistics, translation, senior seminar, and electives including business French, culture, cinema, and advanced literature.
The minor in French requires 24 credits including lower- and upper-level courses.
The minor in business French also requires 24 credits including a sequence of business or economics courses.
Eligible students can apply for scholarships to defray costs of faculty-led travel programs. Multiple awards are made each semester.