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About French

Undergraduate Program

French is one of the top five languages spoken around the world today, spanning the continents of Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas along with the Mediterranean and Caribbean regions. Our courses initiate students into various modes of French cultural production and analysis, preparing them to study abroad. Such experiences enable them to pursue careers in international business, medicine, law, diplomacy, and the arts.

Graduate Program

Our graduate program in French Language & Literature prepares graduates for the teaching and research demands of post-secondary education. Graduate studies encompass a combination of literary theory, literature, and cultural studies across periods, genres, and geographies, as well as carefully designed instructional methods and theory courses at introductory and advanced levels.

Study Abroad

Our summer, semester and year-long study abroad programs in Nice, Toulouse, Paris, and Dakar enable students to deepen their understanding and appreciation of French culture by taking courses in the French university system, living with French families, shadowing doctors in French hospitals, holding internships in French businesses, and traveling extensively. 

French Connexions

The French Connexions Cultural Center at Washington University in St. Louis aims to promote student interest in France, the French language and francophone culture and literature. The Center at Washington University in St. Louis has been elected to the Centers of Excellence of the Embassy of France. Currently housed at 22 major U.S. research universities, the Centers of  Excellence support the French Embassy’s presence in the academic world, enabling the embassy to share experience, develop trans-Atlantic relationships and reflect upon the influence of French on U.S. campuses. Members receive both annual financial support and project-based support to fund a wide variety of activities. French Connexions was launched by founding director Lionel Cuillé, teaching professor of French in the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures in Arts & Sciences.

Paris, France

Undergraduate Program

Cross-Cultural Communication: Language Learning at Home and Abroad

We use the communicative method of language teaching enhanced with authentic cultural materials, enlivened with multimedia approaches, and reinforced with frequent revision for maximum oral and written proficiency, preparing you for one of our many summer or semester study abroad opportunities.

Disciplinary Dialogues: Modes of Cultural and Artistic Expression

Our faculty covers all eras and areas of French and Francophone language, literature, and culture, from the Middle Ages to the present, specializing in literature’s interconnections with philosophy, historiography, politics, the sciences, and the arts.

The Francophone World: Expanding Horizons

We help prepare you for professions in international business, medicine, law, and diplomacy, providing you with applicable knowledge and transferable skills, including historical and cultural background, cultural and textual analysis, and oral and written language.

Careers & Outcomes

Check out what recent graduates have done, and explore career center resources to chart your path.

Explore Careers

Graduate Program

Our Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, one of the most active in the country, offers highly qualified students the opportunity to earn Doctoral degrees in all areas of French and Francophone literary and cultural studies. Our students receive generous funding and benefit from our faculty's expertise.

In and out of classes, professors try to create an open and supportive environment for the development of graduate students in diverse fields. The program studies literature in an interdisciplinary and multicultural context, with attention given to all periods and genres. The program gives you and your advisor considerable freedom to plan a course of study that responds to your needs and interests.

Our faculty’s fields of expertise combine the study of French literature (including Francophone regions of Africa, the Caribbean, and North America) with the arts and sciences as well as with theory, politics, and film. We encourage students to take a certain number of courses outside the department that complement the French program. You also have the opportunity to work with members of other departments and programs by participating in our research and reading groups for faculty and graduate students and by attending our events, including many prestigious guest speakers.

Explore our Graduate Program in French 

Professor Tili Boon Cuillé

“I hope my students take away a love of culture and a curiosity about other people’s perspectives that will inspire them to explore further, travel further, think circumspectly, and have the courage to put themselves in situations in which their informed perspectives can have an impact in whatever professional venue they choose,” said Tili Boon Cuillé, Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Comparative Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.

Click here to read the full article from The Teaching Center.

Our Community

Our faculty’s fields of expertise combine the study of French literature (including Francophone regions of Africa, the Caribbean, and North America) with the arts and sciences as well as with theory, politics, and film.

Our Faculty

French Awards

The Richard L. Admussen Award for Best Honors Student in French

Mr. Richard L. Admussen passed away in 1991; a victim of leukemia. He was an esteemed professor in the Department of Romance languages for 17 years and had served as chair of the Department of Romance Languages from 1978-79. The Admussen Award is an annual prize for the best Honors student in French. 

The Roberta J. Luery Award for Undergraduate Study in France

This travel award was established by the Luery family in memory of their daughter, Roberta Luery. Roberta was killed in a car accident on the way back to Washington University in August 1998 to begin her senior year. She had been on a study abroad program in France during her junior year and had a very positive experience while there. The establishment of this award has served as an instrument for many other students to benefit from the generosity of Roberta's family and friends.

The Elizabeth Schreibre Award in French for Excellence in Teaching

The Elizabeth Schreiber Award in French for Excellence in Teaching was set up by Faculty members of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures in memory of Professor Emerita Elizabeth T. Schreiber.

Prof. Schreiber spent over 40 years teaching French at Washington University. She began teaching in 1945, and continued as a part-time instructor after her retirement in 1977. Faculty members wanted to honor her memory by recognizing outstanding Teaching Assistants in French with this award.

The Isidore Silver Critical Essay Prize

Awarded by faculty to a graduate student in French for an essay or dissertation chapter.

The Isidore Silver Service Award

Awarded by faculty to a graduate student in French for outstanding service to the department.


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