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French Department Mission

Language and culture are inseparable; the study of other cultures also offers new perspectives on one's own.

The French Department provides its students with a thorough training in French language and culture, enabling them to interact freely and easily with French native speakers in all areas of linguistic competency. Students acquire an active command of written and spoken French, and discover and appreciate French and Francophone cultures. In addition to building linguistic and cultural competence in all students, we seek to provide more advanced students with the analytical skills necessary to understand the expressions and manifestations of these cultures through the study, in French, of literature, cinema, history, the arts, and the social sciences.

Finally, since we believe that direct contact and experience with the French-speaking world in and beyond the classroom are inseparable from these goals, we also encourage students to take advantage of the opportunities afforded them for study in French-speaking countries.


  1. Students, both majors and non-majors, should use French actively in all courses throughout the sequence, and language skills will be assessed at all levels.
  2. Students should be able to study in different fields and disciplines using French.
  3. Students should have the opportunity to study in a French-language culture. Majors are expected to study abroad, preferably for a full year. A student's academic program should include course work at one of the country's post-secondary academic institutions. We expect all students abroad to make a serious attempt to improve their linguistic and cultural skills.
  4. Majors should pursue a balanced and coherent program of study among language, literature and culture, and between the historical and the contemporary .
  5. Majors should form some acquaintance with Francophone literatures and cultures.  
  6. Majors should graduate with active competence in French.
  7. Senior work should involve independent research, reading, and reflection in the context of a senior seminar or independent project.


Upon completion of a French major at Middlebury College students will have been assessed and will be able to:

  • actively engage in conversations and discussions with native speakers of French, ranging in complexity from sophisticated everyday conversations to a basic familiarity with abstract intellectual discourse;
  • read and critically analyze authentic texts and materials from all areas of French and Francophone Studies;
  • produce written documents of sufficient consistent and reasonable clarity to be readily intelligible to an educated outside reader;
  • do independent research, write analytical research papers, produce a written research project and/or thesis;
  • upon the completion of the basic language sequence plus two upper 200-level courses (chosen from 210, 221, or 230, or equivalent), to attend and complete successfully courses within the regular academic curriculum of French universities (Paris, Bordeaux, Poitiers) via the C. V. Starr-Middlebury School in France or via pre-approved non-Middlebury French or Francophone programs abroad.

Department of French

Le Château
139 Château Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753