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French & Francophone Studies

French & Francophone Studies

Did you know that French is unique among the modern languages of the world in its influence on English? Our classes will help you understand French's many contributions to world cultures.

French is the official language of more than 140 million people, including residents of Quebec, located just a four-hour drive from Union.

French speakers and francophone cultures contribute greatly to our diverse and interconnected world. As we study figures from Rousseau to Sartre, from Hugo to Simone de Beauvoir, from Truffaut to Césaire, you will see that Union offers a variety of French courses tailored for language competency, cultural proficiency and critical thinking.

"From learning from the most amazing professors, to exploring the way of life in Rennes, France, and from becoming a part of my host-mom's family, my experiences with the French department have been the most defining moments of my college career."
- Oema Rambharose

As a Union College French and francophone studies major, you will interact with a talented pool of professors who know your name (in two languages!) and be part of an exciting academic program that encompasses language, culture and literature courses.

From our basic and intermediate language courses to our upper-level courses including a senior project, we examine a broad spectrum of French and francophone topics including women’s and gender studies, theater, literature and cinema. Our classes emphasize the importance of global awareness as a key element of 21st century life.

Special learning opportunities

To develop and maintain your linguistic skills and cultural proficiency, you can live with host families abroad and attend our film nights on campus . You can participate in French Club activities and French Table, and attend presentations throughout the academic year by renowned speakers, poets, artists and performers.


French is the only language other than English named as an official language on five continents. Unique alongside English, French is also the official working language of worldwide organizations such as the United Nations, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee and International Red Cross. Knowledge of French is invaluable for international business and law, diplomacy, journalism and many other fields.

After Union:

Educator, Teach for America

Art Instructor, Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Associate professor of French, Villanova University

Research Assistant, RPI

Tour consultant, ACIS Educational Tours

Marketing and communications project manager, Jayne Agency

Careers by field:

Life at Union outcomes graphic

Meet some of our faculty

Zhen Zhang

Zhen Zhang

Associate Professor of Chinese
Ph.D., University of California, Irvine
Special interests: Chinese language and literature, Chinese film, cultural studies

Erika Nelson Mukherjee

Erika Nelson Mukherjee

Associate Professor of German
Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin
Special interests: German language and literature, women's studies

Charles Batson

Charles Batson

Professor of French and Francophone Studies
Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Special interests: French and Francophone literature and theater

Stephanie Mueller

Stephanie Mueller

Assistant Professor of Spanish
Ph.D., University of Iowa
Special interests: Spanish language and literature, Catalonia culture and politics, Basque culture and politics