The French program at Sweet Briar College prepares women to be productive members of world communities through the basic understanding and use of the French language. It also provides them with an appreciation of contemporary francophone cultures through the study of their literatures and histories.
As a French major or minor at Sweet Briar, you will develop proficiency and fluency in the language, while exploring the culture of France and French-speaking countries around the world. Classes are offered from the beginner to the advanced levels, including conversation and composition, advanced grammar and translation.
And because Sweet Briar is a liberal arts college, you’ll have the flexibility to combine your French major or minor with any one of our roughly 40 academic programs.
Students in the program also are encouraged to study abroad in a French-speaking country. In fact, most of the College’s French majors spend a semester or year abroad in Paris or Nice on our nationally recognized JYF in Paris and Nice program.
Established in 1948, JYF is the oldest intercollegiate coeducational program in Paris. Both need-based and merit scholarships are available. Students may also obtain internships in France during the spring semester. Former students have interned in medical sciences, political affairs, business, cinema and art.
On campus, a weekly French table in the dining hall and French club activities provide opportunities to converse in French and learn about francophone culture and traditions. Some of our professors from other disciplines also speak French and visit the Table Française.
Each year, the College also invites a French student to spend the year at Sweet Briar. She works as an assistant to the French instructors, lives in the residence halls, and is a resource for students for language practice, tutoring and cultural information.
All French majors and minors also are welcome to visit Le Petit Salon for weekly French language films and other cultural activities, or to use the computer, dictionaries or reference materials. In addition, Sweet Briar’s cable television network offers French language programming from France, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada and Africa.
French majors have been awarded the L’Alliance Française Prize and Sweet Briar’s Marcia Capron Award and the Laura Buckham Book Award, and have been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Delta Phi, the national French honor society.
Alumnae of Sweet Briar’s French program have gone on to study at the graduate level at the University of Virginia, Mary Washington University, Penn State University, Georgetown University and elsewhere. Many are teaching French at the high school and college levels. Some have served in the Peace Corps or foreign service and others
have gone on to medical school.