Why Study French?
As one of the major languages of world governance, diplomacy, commerce, and culture, French opens up a world of opportunities. From Médecins Sans Frontiers, Peace Corps, journalism, translation, international relations to the TGV, civil engineering, cultural management, and luxury trade markets, the French language opens you up to a world of possibilities. In addition to gaining real world proficiency and mastering communication skills across languages and cultures, students of French learn essential critical thinking skills, analytical reasoning, and adaptability. So, no matter the career and life path you choose, studying French will prepare you to face the challenges and opportunities both of the job market and of an increasingly globalized world.
French in numbers
· French is an official language of 29 countries, second only to English in this category.
· French is the 1st or 2nd language in more than 50 countries or regions.
· French is considered the 2nd most influential language in the world.
· French is one of only 2 languages spoken on 5 continents.
· The OIF (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie) estimates that the number of French speakers will rise to over 700 million by 2050, 80% of whom will be in Africa.
· French is the 2nd language on the internet.
· Some 30% of English vocabulary comes from French.
Courses of Study
In the Department of Romance Languages, we offer a range of courses to help students prepare to enter professional life and to reflect critically on themselves and their surroundings. From language courses to upper-division and graduate courses, we focus on real world proficiency. Students master the skills necessary to analyze problems in context and articulate creative solutions. To fit their individual goals, students may pursue a major, minor, master in French or a PhD in Romance Languages. Many students choose to combine French with Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish for degrees in Romance Languages. At the graduate level, we offer students a Graduate Teaching Fellowship that provides a tuition waiver, health insurance, and pays a salary. Students can compete for several research scholarships, and the department supports travel to professional conferences. Mentoring also plays a significant role in the graduate program; students have the opportunity to gain a Certificate in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT).
Our world is increasingly becoming a global community, and the Department of Romance Languages prepares students for the future of global citizenship and the workforce. Many of our students spend time traveling and living in another culture. We offer study abroad opportunities in France and in many Francophone countries or regions. Programs are as short as four weeks and as long as a full academic year. The Department offers several scholarships to help students pursue their studies. We also send many graduates to France on the Assistantship program run by the French Ministry of Education, which posts assistants in French high schools (“lycées”) and middle schools to help teach English. Many students also take advantage of Francophone opportunities in the Peace Corps. Currently the University of Oregon ranks number 10 nationwide for graduates who serve in the Peace Corps.
With a dedicated and diverse faculty, we strive to engage students in questions and challenges that span different historical periods and geographical regions. Students build their intellectual and cultural strengths as they learn to apply, adapt, and redefine them according to different contexts including Québec, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe. The faculty maintains a rigorous commitment to interdisciplinary research and actively contributes to several programs across the curriculum, including African Studies, Comparative Literature, European Studies, International Studies, Medieval Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies.