Why Study French?

French graffiti

As a resource for artistic and political expression, French contributes to cultural movements for liberation and resistance around the world. Above, street art in Paris by the artist PP.
"Il n'est pas inutile de noter que des prosateurs et des penseurs parmi les plus engageants de ces dernières décennies enseignent presque tous outre-Atlantique. Depuis les campus de New York, de l'UCLA ou d'Albuquerque, ils jardinent le vaste monde, étreignent leurs semblables, mêlent les genres et inventent les rêves habitables pour demain."

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"It is not insignificant to point out that the most engaging writers and thinkers of recent decades have by and large been teaching in North America. From the campuses of New York, UCLA, and Albuquerque, they have been cultivating the larger world, embracing their communities, mixing genres and inventing livable dreams for tomorrow.

- Abdourahman A. Waberi in Pour une littérature-monde

Our undergraduate program develops students' language proficiency within a cultural and communicative context. The major and minor promote the understanding of the intellectual, literary and cultural heritages of the French speaking world through a broad range of courses in French and Francophone literature, culture and cinema. Drawing on critical and analytical tools from a variety of intellectual traditions, and using an interdisciplinary and cultural studies approach, our upper division courses provide a comprehensive training in French and Francophone studies. Students majoring in French will have fluency in the language and one or many of the cultural traditions it houses. Just as importantly, they will be able to function effectively across linguistic and cultural boundaries—a skill increasingly in demand in a world demanding adaptation and nimble thinking.

Our program offers students access to the global French-speaking world and its histories, philosophies, cinemas, and other aesthetic forms. As a fundamentally international discipline, the major in French encourages a range of objects of study and a number of critical approaches, emphasizing gender and sexuality, postcolonial studies, economic and social theory, among others. In addition, numerous departmental activities such as the French Club, summer trips to France, film screenings, lectureships and field trips, bring together faculty and students in rich intellectual and social environments. The department also encourages various programs of study abroad that will enhance students' awareness of French and Francophone cultures.

French MA and PhD Program

The program and our faculty

Department of Languages, Cultures, and Literatures offers an M.A. and Ph.D. in French. Both Degrees provide a rigorous and comprehensive training in French literary history, theory and criticism. The research and teaching interests of our faculty are deeply interdisciplinary, extending the study of literature and culture to fields such as aesthetics, continental philosophy, cinema studies, genre studies, music, law, political history, anthropology, psychoanalysis, gender, and colonial and postcolonial studies. Likewise, our Faculty’s training ranges across the history of French and Francophone studies, including Medieval, Renaissance, Enlightenment and post-Revolutionary French literature and culture, to contemporary French and Francophone studies. Within the Francophone world, faculty members teach and conduct research on North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Québec, and the Caribbean, as well as focusing on immigrant communities in France.

Teaching, mentoring, and programs abroad

We believe in the close mentoring and careful training of a select number of future scholars and teachers. This means that our students receive the personal attention that is essential for success in a highly competitive profession, and which is not as available in larger programs. Further, the small size of our graduate seminars creates a learning environment that is both intellectually stimulating and supportive. Students can also benefit from training in language pedagogy, professional development workshops, and a year-long exchange program with the Université de Rennes. We offer every advantage of a large research institution while retaining an individual approach that is challenging as well as collaborative.

Financial Support

We provide financial support through Teaching Assistantships, Graduate Assistantships, and  Carol Raymond Scholarships, and other university and extra-mural funding.  Competitive M.A. and Ph.D. students generally receive full support consisting of tuition remission, health insurance and an assistantship stipend, contingent on successful advancement to degree. We also offer some funding for participation in scholarly conferences. Our M.A. graduates have been accepted into strong Ph.D. programs at institutions such as Stanford, Harvard, Berkeley, UCLA, Brown, Rutgers, Duke, Michigan, NYU, North Carolina, and the University of Pennsylvania. Recent Ph.D. graduates have obtained full time teaching positions at Princeton, Duke, UTEP, the University of North Texas, Centre College, and Linfield College.

Graduate Advisor - Stephen Bishop

French Placement Exam

All UNM students entering French 1110 or French 1150 are required to take the on-line French placement exam for placement at the appropriate level.

Students in LCL receive both excellent language instruction from beginning to advanced levels, as well as the opportunity to study world literature and culture in the original language. Our undergraduate majors and minors develop cross-cultural awareness and the critical thinking necessary for students to understand their place within global culture. At the same time, we understand that proficiency in a foreign language can be a crucial element of a successful career, and we enhance this practical training by encouraging majors to combine their language study with fields such as International Studies, Political Science, Business, Economics and Communications.

French Placement Exam

Your exam results, which you need to take a screenshot of, must be turned in to your instructor during the first week of class.

Students entering French language classes beyond 1110 may take the exam for placement advisement. If you would like assistance in interpreting the results, please contact the French advisor at

Undergraduate Advisor -Pamela Cheek

Planning for your French Major, Second Major, and Minor

Check out the University Catalog for French!

Study Abroad with French scholarships, click here for more info!!!

Check out the French Studies Events!