Bowdoin French Department

Location: Bowdoin / French


The French section of the Department of Romance Languages is an active group of professors and students who bring the French-speaking world alive through a wide range of cooperative activities. Classes range from beginning language to advanced seminars on literature, history, film and other aspects of French and Francophone culture. Small classes ensure that students have ample opportunity to speak French. Some courses include a community outreach component, such as partnerships with local schools, interviews of French-speaking war veterans and work with local Franco-Americans.  Learn more »

Each year we welcome two French Teaching Fellows from Brest and Clermont-Ferrand who teach weekly conversation sections for our language courses and, as well, participate in many ways in our other courses. They host the weekly French Table  where students converse casually with each other and Department professors over the evening meal. They also work with students to plan a variety of events sponsored by the French club—La Famille francophone. The Department sponsors trips to Quebec City every fall and to Bordeaux, France every other year. Our students study away in France or Francophone Africa during their junior year through a number of select programs. Each semester visitors from outside the College bring their expertise to our students in the form of lectures, dance, musical presentations and films.

Our faculty are accomplished teachers and scholars who publish their work and share it with their students and with colleagues, both on campus and at professional conferences. We share ideas about teaching every day and are constantly looking for new ways to make our students’ experience more meaningful. As the study of French-speaking cultures outside of France has become an integral part of French Studies, we have expanded our offerings. Our courses are highly interdisciplinary and are often cross-listed with  programs such as Latin American Studies or Gender and Women’s Studies. We also work closely with professors in History, Art History, Asian Studies, Theater and Dance, and Film Studies. We look forward to exploring new directions in the future, and we invite you to join us.

Indeed, A recent article cited a foreign language major as one of the most useful college majors in terms of job security and earnings.  (Among the majors offered at Bowdoin, it is indeed the third most useful.) Our graduates go on to careers in teaching, public service, business, law, medicine, and non-profit work. They find the skills they learned in the Department go beyond everyday use of French and extend to their ability to think critically, understand other cultures, create and defend an argument, speak in public and, most crucially, write well. « Close


Study Away

French Study Away - Bowdoin CollegeBowdoin students take their French skills abroad and have rich cultural experiences.

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Student and Faculty Research

Student and Faculty Research


Bowdoin's French Students and Faculty research a wide range of topics.

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Calendar of Events

Calendar of Events

For a complete list of activities and events »

Featured Alumni

Bowdoin French AlumniGraduates follow many professional paths, putting their French to use in a wide variety of contexts.   Learn more »