Majors & Minors


Southwestern’s French Program prioritizes the acquisition of cultural knowledge and awareness at all levels of instruction. In our language courses, students learn everyday French cultural norms and customs alongside grammar and vocabulary. Our more advanced courses deal with a range of exciting topics on French society and civilization, such as French cinema; French food culture; World War II France; French feminism; or race and diversity in current French society. 


Francis Mathieu

Francis Mathieu

Associate Professor of French & Chair

Francis Mathieu

Francis Mathieu

Associate Professor of French & Chair

French (Credit: stocker1970 |

Students who study French with us reap the following benefits:

  • We teach students the language skills they need to achieve fluency in French
  • We teach students the intercultural skills they need to thrive in French culture and to reflect on their own culture with new eyes
  • We teach critical thinking skills

Our French language and culture courses prepare French students for study abroad and our upper-level courses, in which students continue to develop their language and culture skills toward fluency while studying exciting topics such as food culture, cinema, politics, art, or history.

Students in the French program are strongly encouraged to study abroad. Several graduates have won scholarships to teach in France, through the French Embassy’s Teaching Assistant Program.

Students in our program benefit from close interactions and mentoring from our faculty.

The Capstone provides majors with training in independent research and prepares them for work in many fields. Alumni pursue Master’s and PhD degrees and careers in art, business, international affairs, law, management, public health, and teaching. 


Featured Alumni Stories

An Algerian flag flies over a crowd in Paris. Criezis says she was “obsessed with” the Algerian war for independence while studying abroad in France and for her capstone projects at Southwestern.

Countering Terrorism through Research

Meili Criezis ’17 publishes scholarship about extremist rhetoric, terrorist propaganda, and political violence.

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Julien Meyrat ’98

Building Dreams

Southwestern alum Julien Meyrat ’98 is a senior designer at global design and architecture firm Gensler.

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Rebecca Skinner ’96

Southwestern Alumna Founds International Schools

Rebecca Skinner ’96, founder of the International School of Brooklyn, helps build the new Dwight School Dubai as associate head of school.

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French News

Julia Poritz, Class of 2010

French helps Julia conduct culturally sensitive research

Jordan and Taylor Hutchison show off their ceramics project that won the ,500 Walt Potter Prize at the King Creativity Symposium.

The Perfect Glaze

Teaming up earns sisters a $2,500 prize for creativity

International Studies major Alex Benitez will spend the 2013-2014 academic year in France thanks to a Teaching Assistant Program award. She is shown here at Machu Picchu, one of several places she had the opportunity to visit during a fall 2011 stay in Peru as part of a Gilman International Fellowship.

Southwestern Student Receives Teaching Assistantship in France for 2013-2014

Alejandra Benitez will spend the academic year teaching in Reims