The study of a foreign language, literature, and culture has traditionally been a core component of a true liberal arts education. In today’s globalized world, this academic tradition has acquired a more urgent, practical dimension.
The French major at Keene State allows students to acquire an active command of written and spoken French, with a knowledge of historical and contemporary issues in the French-speaking world. It is designed to complement majors and minors in many other disciplines, including film studies, English, history, management, music, and education. French majors study in Africa, France, or Québec through our exchange programs or through other approved programs.
Our courses encourage the highest levels of academic excellence, intellectual curiosity, language skills, and multicultural awareness. Classes are small, usually no more than twenty students and often—especially at the upper levels—even smaller than that, which allows for plenty of interaction between the instructor and the students, opportunities for close collaboration between them, and time to actually use French in the classroom. Outside of the classroom, we have a local chapter of Pi Delta Phi, the French national honor society, as well as a French Club, both of which organize events and activities throughout the academic year. Language students have access to free tutoring to make sure they get the most out of their courses.
Keene State College offers both majors and minors in French. Everyone with a major or minor in a modern language is strongly encouraged to study abroad, and French majors are required to spend at least a semester in a French-speaking country.
Studying abroad does not necessarily cost more than a semester in Keene, thanks to our direct exchange programs. In Quebec, we offer direct exchanges with Laval and Concordia Universities in Quebec City, and with McGill University in Montreal. Our exchange partner in France is the University of Upper Brittany in Rennes. Faculty in the Modern Languages Department work closely with staff in the Global Education Office to help students design individual programs in other locations as well.
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Career and Other Opportunities
Our graduates get jobs! The French major and minor provide the foundation for the active use of French in academic and professional fields such as:
- social work
- health services
- computer science
Students who pursue teacher certification in French are often hired as soon as they finish their courses. Elementary education majors know how important it is to be fluent in a second language as they prepare to teach in our nation’s many bilingual schools. Employment for teachers is projected to grow and foreign languages are a critical shortage area in New Hampshire and other states. Our K-12 teacher certification program in French is accredited by the New Hampshire Council for the Certification of Teacher Education and nationally recognized by the National Council on the Accreditation of Teacher Education.
French majors at Keene State attain the competence in communication and gain broad cultural perspectives. They are better prepared to adapt to working with people from other cultures in an increasingly global economy, regardless of their field. French majors are required to study away, an experience students describe again and again as “life-changing.” Nearly all graduates achieve an advanced level of proficiency in French, as determined by internationally-recognized testing.
It's opened doors for me I never could have imagined. It's helped me become more globally aware, more compassionate and understanding of differences in the world. As a teacher, I'll try to inspire my students to do the same.
James Cahan '11