With over 220 million speakers worldwide, French is the sixth most common spoken language. It is an official language in 29 countries, ranging from Switzerland, Morocco and Senegal to Haiti, Vietnam and Canada--our biggest trading partner and only a 20-minute drive from campus. French is also one of the six working languages of the United Nations, one of three procedural languages of the European Union, and the sole language used for the deliberations of the EU’s Court of Justice.
France supports one of the world’s premier research institutions, the Centre national de recherche scientifique, and has produced some of history’s leading mathematicians, among them Blaise Pascal, Pierre de Fermat and Pierre-Simon Laplace. France is esteemed for its profusion of artistic and cultural monuments, commerce and industry and its leadership in scientific fields ranging from oceanography to aerospace engineering.
The centuries-old relationship of anglophone and francophone cultures is manifest in a rich common heritage. Some 30% of English words are of French origin, and the artistic, literary and philosophical ties between France and English-speaking countries are countless.
The RLL French program offers training in the spoken and written language through small, highly interactive classes. Texts, films and special events showcase the literatures and cultures of French-speaking world regions both past and present. French students are strongly encouraged to study abroad for a summer, a semester, or a full year. UB and SUNY offer quality, affordable travel options throughout France as well as in Quebec, Senegal, Morocco and Switzerland.
Undergraduate students (major or minor) may fulfill the UB Curriculum Global Pathway: Language and Culture Track in French by starting at their current level of proficiency, from introductory to advanced intermediate (course names begin with FR), and taking nine credit hours. Graduate students may pursue master's and doctoral degrees in one of three concentrations: French Literature, Francophone Literature or French Linguistics.
Both undergraduate and graduate students of French can benefit from UB’s unique Québec Studies Program. Through French study at UB, students discover the source language of some 45% of all English words, and can explore the Encyclopédie, medieval French interactions with the Islamic world, the cinema of Québec and Senegal, the novels of Flaubert and Proust, and modern philosophy and theory.