Central’s French program offers many opportunities for students interested in French language and culture. Many students have spent their first year after graduation working in France as assistants in the French school system, and graduates have also pursued careers in education, marketing, government and business in the U.S., Canada and overseas.

As part of every French course, students will have regular conversation sessions with language assistants who are native speakers, and all interested students have the opportunity to live in the French house on campus and to study in Paris.

countries designate French as their official language
  • Besides English, French is the only language spoken on all 5 continents

The Real World


Successful Careers

  • French teacher, Boulder Valley School District, Colorado
  • French teacher, East High School, Des Moines
  • Bilingual complete goods coordinator, Deere & Co., Kansas
  • Trilingual account representative, Agricredit Acceptance LLC, West Des Moines
  • Certified guide, Paris


  • French Club
  • French language house
Central College student

Graduate Placement

  • University of Iowa
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • George Washington University
  • Columbia University
  • Washington University


While participating in the Paris program, students may choose from internships in many disciplines and professional fields and have access to service learning opportunities. Recent internships have included the following fields:

  • Arts and culture
  • Business, economics and IT
  • Communications, advertising and public relations
  • Education
  • Health and human services
  • International politics and law

Courses & Faculty

Classes in French literature, civilization, translation and business are taught exclusively in French to maximize opportunities for students to master the language. All on-campus courses include laboratory sessions with native or advanced French speakers, and students also have the opportunity to live in the French language house. All courses aim to increase language proficiency and cultural awareness to prepare students for an extended, off-campus immersion to live and study in Paris.

Learn more about French in the course catalog.

Meet the faculty:
  • Nicole Kaplan, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Kenneth J. Weller Distinguished Professorship of the Liberal Arts and Professor of French, interest areas include Francophone literature, 19th century French literature, French colonial history and French cultural studies and civilization
  • Maria Snyder, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Associate Professor of German and French, interest areas include teaching French and German as a foreign language, media history, the history of reading, text and image in the Renaissance and Reformation and contemporary West Africa

Sample Schedule

First Year
Begin at highest level of competence
  • Beginning French I or Intermediate French I
  • Advanced Conversation and Composition I
  • Core courses and/or electives
Sophomore Year
Continue the next highest language sequence
  • Intermediate French I or Advanced Conversation and Composition I
  • Introduction to French and Francophone Literature
  • Core courses and/or elective
Junior Year
Once the Advanced Conversation and Composition II or French civilization courses are completed, many students choose to study abroad in Paris for a semester or for their junior year. The Paris program offers courses in the French language as well as a range of humanities, social science and business courses.
Senior Year
Students returning from Paris may take elective French courses and complete their Senior Capstone seminar.

The Central Difference


Central offers French scholarships of up to $2,000 for all students (majors and non-majors) interested in foreign language studies at the college level.


The Weller Center for Business and International Studies houses faculty offices and classrooms for the modern language departments. The $3.9-million building completed in 1999 includes an interactive computer language lab to supplement traditional methods of language learning through phone exchanges, chat groups, recording and listening activities.

The Language Houses in the Wing International Center offer a unique living alternative for language majors, those returning from a semester abroad or anyone who wants a chance to use French, German or Spanish on a daily basis, celebrate native holidays, share experiences and sample diverse foods. International language assistants from Mexico, Spain, Germany and France also live in these townhouses along with Central College students.


Students Investigate the World-State Ideal in Paris

Students Investigate the World-State Ideal in Paris

Is a world-state an ideal worth pursuing? Matthew Wells ’18 and Hannah Marcum ’18 won research grants to study this political debate in Paris.

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A Year Abroad at Central
A Year Abroad at Central

For a small group of language assistants, study abroad means leaving behind their home countries for Pella, Iowa.

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Four Years, Unlimited Adventure
Four Years, Unlimited Adventure

How many adventures can four years hold? Senior Cody Bock of Ankeny can compete for the record.

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Learn More

Want to find out more about French at Central? Contact us to learn more about this major and our other strong academic programs. Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.