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French, Italian, and Classical Studies

French, Italian and Classical Studies is an interdisciplinary department centered around the study of the languages and cultural systems of past and present societies. Our curriculum integrates the study of language, literature, history, political theory, religion, art, archaeology, and film, while also emphasizing the connections between the Greek and Roman world and later French and Italian-speaking communities.

Meaningful Work Results in a Rewarding Life

Our courses invite students to discover over three thousand years of language, culture, and human experience and how people come together through the creation of meaning. Students gain broader perspectives about the most pressing issues in the modern world through intensive study of the languages and cultural systems of France, Italy, and Ancient Rome and Greece. You will learn to decipher the codes that both tie society together and, conversely, produce social differences like race, class and gender.  

Through the training offered by our degrees, students are prepared for the challenges of the contemporary world through our focus on diverse and global perspectives, critical thinking, and advanced communication and problem-solving skills. These are valuable tools that help our students succeed in a highly competitive job marketplace. By learning to identify what is meaningful to others and to themselves, our students become vital colleagues, global citizens, and effective leaders.

Our Degree Programs

The Department offers a major, a minor, a combined B.A./M.A., and an M.A. in French, a major and minor in Italian Studies, and a major and minor in Classical Studies. Outstanding students in French and Classics are invited by the faculty to participate in our departmental honors program.

Classical Studies

The art, literature and philosophy of the ancient Greeks and Romans have cast a long shadow on the modern world, providing the resources to help contemporary societies tackle fundamental questions like “what is a good life?” “what is the meaning of justice?” and “how should human beings interact with the world around?”  In the multi-cultural world of the ancient Mediterranean, these ancient societies also grappled with the meaning and form of a range of social differences such as gender, class, race, religion, and sexuality, differences that led, in some cases, to brutal phenomena like slavery and human trafficking.


For students who like to read, write, and engage with diverse intercultural perspectives, we offer a French major (33 credit hours) and minor (18 credit hours). Our French honors track and combined BA/MA degrees provide high-ability students with the option to choose to add an extra challenge to their degree and conduct independent research in the literature, arts, and cultures of the French-speaking world. We offer two faculty-led study abroad programs in Paris (winter term) and in Dijon (summer term) that allow students to earn credit toward the major and the minor while in France.


Italy is the cradle of western civilization: seat of the Roman Empire and the Catholic Church, the cultural center and economic powerhouse of the Mediterranean for nearly two millennia. And because of its geographic situation it has acted as a bridge between Europe and the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean throughout its history. No nation is more important to Europe's past or more central to its future.

Department Resources

Immerse Yourself

Education Abroad

We offer five faculty-led study abroad programs in France and Italy during the winter and summer terms.

Give to the Department of French, Italian, and Classical Studies

Help us prepare the next generation of leaders in the French, Italian, and Classics fields —and our society as a whole. We have numerous scholarships, grants, and programs accepting contributions from donors like you.