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Paris, France aerial view


Beyond the language. Beyond the art. Beyond the architectural marvels you could recognize in a split second—the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre—what is it exactly that accounts for the world’s fascination with all things French?

Degree Types
Distinctive Requirements
Study Abroad
France, Brussels, & more

Historically, the French language and culture have held enormous sway over the West. Today, French maintains its influence as an official language for a broad swath of the world’s population. Since the fall of the Roman Empire and the gradual disappearance of Latin as a living language, French literature and culture has steered European literatures, cultures, and politics. It is now the native or administrative language not only of the 60 million citizens of continental France, but of over 200 million more people in Europe, North and South America, Africa, and the Pacific.

McDaniel’s French program provides courses from the elementary level for students who would like to start learning the language all the way to the advanced level. The faculty teaches language and culture using film, multimedia strategies, and other contemporary sources.

Future Career Paths

With a firm grasp of French language and culture, you’ll be equipped to explore careers in fields such as:

  • Politics
  • Economics
  • International relations
  • International business
  • Education
  • National security
  • Translation

Distinctive Courses

FRE 2515 - French Food For Foodies

This French culture and language course is intended for intermediate level French students. The emphasis is both on French society, language, history, customs and attitude towards food and on the continued development of speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills in French. This course will include, although to a smaller extent, a study of food traditions in French-speaking countries outside of France, such as in West Africa and Québec. 

FRE 1131 - Culture of France

A study of influences that have molded France through the ages, with insights into all aspects of French culture (geography, history, the arts, folklore, gastronomy, etc.).
This course is taught in English.

FRE 1123 - The French-Speaking World

An examination of French-speaking countries outside of Europe – especially Africa and the Caribbean – prior to, during, and after the establishment of French colonial rule. Special attention is given to the ways different cultures have reacted, in economic, religious, sociological, artistic, and literary spheres, to the experience of French hegemony.
This course is taught in English.

French Program Requirements

Special Opportunities

McDaniel’s women’s basketball team in France.

Studying Abroad

The department requires students majoring in foreign languages to live abroad for one semester. Our recent majors have studied for a semester at Université Saint-Louis, our affiliated campus in Brussels, Belgium; at the Université de Bourgogne-Dijon in France; in Rabat, Morocco or Dakar, Senegal, and at the Université Laval in Québec.

Group of students taking a selfie outdoors.

The French House

The French house provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in the French language right on campus. Each year, a French house director comes from France or a French-speaking country to study at McDaniel, share their culture, and help you improve your French. Living in the French house will fulfill study abroad requirements for students who are unable to travel. 

McDaniel Commitment in Action

The McDaniel Commitment—a series of opportunities guaranteed to all students—provides enhanced mentoring and coaching, and ensures every undergraduate student completes at least two meaningful experiential learning opportunities.

Student Spotlights Get to Know a Green Terror

Stephanie Portillo Class of 2023

Class of 2023: Stephani Portillo

Political Science and Self-Designed French major Stephanie Portillo found independence at McDaniel — and abroad during a Jan Term. A National Security Fellow and Global Fellow, Stephani’s senior capstone examined the impact of political policies and the MS-13 gang in El Salvador. With mentorship from professors like Christianna Leahy, Gerard Keubeung, and Martine Motard-Noar, she learned to always ask questions and to dream big.

Joel Afata Molete Class of 2023

Class of 2023: Joel Afata Molete

"I was able to get the French experience by living in the French house here at McDaniel where speaking French was mandatory. This is also my favorite experience."

Dual French and Computer Science major Joel Afata Molete was a striker on the men’s soccer team at McDaniel, which lead him to find a mentor in Coach Steve Corrieri. He put his French studies into action by staying in the on-campus French house for two semesters. 

Khadijatou Diop

McDaniel junior awarded Gilman Scholarship to study abroad through virtual French immersion program

Khadijatou Diop hopes to become a more versatile French teacher after earning a $5,000 Gilman Scholarship to study abroad through the virtual French immersion program at Université Laval in Canada. Diop was one of 2,386 undergraduate students from across the nation selected to participate in the prestigious U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship Program.

Connor Norton, Political Science and Computer Science major, in Belgium during his study abroad experience in Brussels.

There’s no place like Brussels for a Political Science major studying French

Connor Norton's study abroad in Brussels began as an adventure and way to fulfill credits and requirements toward his degree, but it evolved into an experience that would forever change the Honors Political Science and Computer Science major’s life.