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French BA

(HEGIS: 11.02 FRENCH, CIP: 16.0901 French Language and Literature)

Department of Romance Languages and Literatures

910 Clemens Hall
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-4620

Dr. Amy C. Graves Monroe

Dr. Henry Berlin
Director of Undergraduate Studies

Associated Programs

Associated Subjects

Why study French BA at UB?

The French language is spoken daily by 235 million people living not only in France, but also in other parts of Europe as well as in Canada, the Caribbean, North and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. It is a major international language of the arts, commerce, diplomacy, and science. In the United States, as of 2013, more students study French than any other foreign language except Spanish. French is one of the working languages of such international institutions as the United Nations, the European Union, the World Health Organization, and the World Trade Organization, and it is the sole language used for the deliberations of the Court of Justice of the European Union. It is an official language of 29 countries.

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.

RLL's 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. There are quality affordable SUNY programs throughout France as well as in Quebec, Senegal, Morocco, and Switzerland.

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop language competence and communicative strategies.
  • Apply knowledge of language history.
  •  Identify and utilize linguistic core concepts.
  • Identify and analyze rhetorical strategies in different texts and genres.
  • Apply knowledge of cultural and theoretical contexts.
  • Locate and interpret sources and produce original research.
  • Incorporate sources and modes of analysis from multiple disciplines and media.
  • Appraise material critically.
  • Recognize and cultivate personal growth.

The Learning Environment

French courses are taught in the target language from the first day. Classes are small and highly interactive. In introductory classes, instructors model usage and engage students in daily conversation on topics drawn from around the world. Our 200-level classes strengthen cultural analysis while emphasizing active mastery of the language, both spoken and written. Students may perform original skits or scenes from established dramatic works, analyze graphic novels, or discover new trends in popular music.

Upper-division courses reflect the interdisciplinary orientation of the faculty and permit students to explore the relationship of language and literature to other disciplines. Collaborations with the Theatre program allow performance classes in the target language. There are regular courses in cinema, as well as inquiries into literature’s kinship with the visual arts. Partnering with colleagues in the sciences, RLL faculty have developed courses on globalization and sustainability. New classes, such as a Petrarch seminar or Portuguese for Speakers of Spanish, empower students to build on foundations to expand their cultural and linguistic horizons. Classes in Business French and Medical Spanish offer students prospects for combining their passion for language with a wide array of career options. The new UB Teach initiative offers an accelerated path to certification and a career in secondary teaching.

About Our Facilities

RLL recently updated its departmental classroom to provide state-of-the-art audio visual technology for classroom presentations, lectures and films. The department also has a Quebec Studies seminar room with specially dedicated materials and equipment available to support film study. A spacious conference room serves for meetings and oral exams. All regular classrooms are equipped with up-to-date computing and display technology and are linked by a T1 connection to the Internet. Secure wifi is ubiquitous on campus.

About Our Faculty

The breadth of faculty specializations in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures and a pan-Romance model make for an actively interdisciplinary research and teaching agenda which promotes linguistic, literary, cultural, and visual literacies. We have emerging strengths in Catalan and Portuguese, with cross-disciplinary strengths in Iberian and Latin American Studies, Francophone Canadian, Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Studies, Early Modern Studies, as well as Cultural, Postcolonial, Gender, Disability, and Urban and Landscape Studies, in addition to Poetry, Theater and Performance, Film, and Romance Linguistics. RLL faculty contribute to interdisciplinary initiatives such as UB’s Humanities Institute, the Gender Institute, the Early Modern Reading Group, Poetics and Canadian Studies.

RLL graduate students are productive and high achieving. They have successfully competed for UB Presidential scholarships; been short-listed for Fulbright and Ford fellowships; received CAS and Humanities Institute dissertation writing grants; had papers accepted in major disciplinary conferences, and articles accepted for publication at peer-reviewed journals. They organize an annual conference and publish its proceedings.

Full time tenured/tenure track RLL faculty: 18
Teaching assistants: 15
Adjunct faculty: 9

Faculty List Directory

Please visit the Romance Languages and Literatures department website for additional information about our faculty.

Career Outlook

Students who choose RLL and especially the French program as their main academic home at UB find a number of career opportunities open to them. Among graduates in the past decade, a small number have gone on to do graduate work in French, several have gone on to law school or business school, and others have found positions with the U.S. State Department, as well as in secondary education. Students of languages, literatures, cultures, and linguistics develop a broad skill set that prepares them for a multitude of career choices. The skills that you’ll acquire in your classes include critical thinking, cultural competency, team work, research and analysis, and of course advanced communication skills in more than one language. Careers that you can pursue with this skill set include work in the travel and tourism industry, sales and customer service, international business, politics and public policy, diplomatic service, education, translation and interpretation, and social media consulting, among others.

Some careers our graduates have pursued include:

  • Anthropology and Linguistics
  • Public relations
  • Customs and immigration
  • Diplomacy and foreign service
  • Post-secondary and secondary education
  • International student advisement
  • International trade
  • International relations
  • Broadcast and print journalism
  • Translation
  • Federal civil service

Academic Advising

Department faculty advisors are available to consult with students for academic advising.

Advising is provided by the College of Arts and Sciences Student Advising Services and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

Academic Advising Contact Information

Students who are planning a major or minor in French, or who have questions about initial placement or study abroad integration or course planning, should always feel free to request an advisement appointment either using the online request form on the Romance Languages and Literatures website or e-mail Romance Languages and Literatures. An advisor will reply with guidance and suggestions.

Scholarships and Financial Support

The Linda Rock Scholarship and the Maria Becker Scholarship are awarded twice annually to students majoring or sometimes minoring in French who have applied to and been accepted by a study abroad program. The awards are granted on the basis of academic merit, but financial need can also be taken into consideration.

Associated Programs

Associated Subjects

Published: Feb 01, 2023 08:50:11