Program Overview


We offer beginning and intermediate language courses in French and Italian for the major and minor, supported by an extensive and distinctive curriculum of courses based on literary texts, film, cultural and historical documents, and other media.

groups of students listen to a professor give a lesson while sitting outdoors under an arch.
The Memorial Arch on the Oberlin campus serves as an outdoor classroom for this group of students taking a course in the French department.
Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones ’97

Program Facts


Matthew Senior,
Chair, Department of French and Italian


La Maison Francophone

La Maison Francophone, also known as Bailey House, is a coed residence for about 30 students, a French-speaking faculty member, and two graduate assistants from France. Founded in 1927, it is one of the oldest language-based program houses in the United States. Here students learn and speak the language, have meals together, and engage in social activities.

students gathered around table eating breakfast
Having breakfast in La Maison Francophone is one of the many ways students who study French have opportunities to speak the language.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Bailey House

French Faculty

Our faculty has specialties in French language, cinema, literature, cultural history of the 19th and 20th centuries, linguistics, French theater, and the Enlightenment period.

“At all levels, my goal is the same: To help, challenge, coach, provoke, inspire, and collaborate with Oberlin students in their acquisition of the French language and their exploration of the multifaceted, storied culture that French has always carried with it, in metropolitan France and in many corners of the world.”

Matthew Senior, Chair, Department of French and Italian

See Profile

French News

Culture Writing with Sophie Kemp ’18

February 18, 2019

After graduating as a French and comparative literature double major, Sophie Kemp ’18 has been working at Pitchfork to kick-start her interests in culture writing.
Sophie Kemp standing against a brick wall.