All undergraduate students taking courses in the French department are encouraged to ‘like’ the Undergraduate Facebook Page—it’s where the department posts information about upcoming classes, about French and Francophone events happening at NYU and around the city, etc. It’s the place to catch a glimpse of, and participate in, the life of this large and varied department!
Our faculty and students are always doing something exciting in the classroom. Check out what they're up to in this spotlight on Conversation and Composition and also on what a French major can do for you in our spotlight on French major alumni!
Upcoming Spring 2017 Undergraduate Courses
Check out this week's NYU Paris Hebdo Newsletter!
Letter from the Director of Undergraduate Studies, or Why Study French?
Welcome to the French Department!
My name is Professor Phillip John Usher. I’m the current Director of Undergraduate Studies and I’d like to tell you a bit about the Department of French.
NYU’s Department of French is one of the biggest and most highly respected in the country. We offer a wide range of undergraduate courses in all levels of French language, as well as in the literature, film, culture, and thought traditions of France and the Francophone world. The department is full of passionate and engaged instructors, many of whom are internationally known scholars and authors.
Whether you don’t (yet) speak a word of French or you’re already fluent, whether you want to take French to meet NYU’s language requirement or you’ve already decided to minor or major in French, whether you’re interested in French sonnets, New Wave film, the literature and politics of the French-speaking Caribbean, French philosophy, or something else, you will feel immediately “chez toi” in the department!
There are many reasons to minor or major in French. Learning to think in a new language makes the world a bigger, more complex place! Thoughts and ideas “fit together” differently, opening up spaces for creativity, excitement, and innovation. But why French in particular? Historically and geographically, the French-speaking world is huge. The world currently contains more than 200 million French-speakers spread out over all five continents. And not only was French the main international lingua franca in times past, it is still one of the official languages of institutions like the United Nations. According to a recent study by the investment bank Natixis, discussed in Forbes magazine, French is moreover destined to become the most-spoken language in the world by 2050, ahead of both English and Mandarin!
Students who minor or major in French master the skill of speaking a foreign language and of understanding the cultures and thought traditions of the French-speaking world. This both changes how you see the world and is a skill that employers recognize to be highly important in today’s globalized economy. Whether you’re hoping to work in a global corporation, in a non-profit institution, in editing and publishing, in education, in arts management, as a lawyer, a doctor, or as something completely different, the skills you learn as a French major (eloquence in speaking and writing, cross-cultural competency, global awareness) will be essential!
The New York-based department has close ties with NYU-Paris, NYU’s fabulous French campus situated right in the heart of Paris’s Latin quarter on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, a stone’s throw from the Sorbonne and the Jardins du Luxembourg. With breathtaking views of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame and the Panthéon, NYU-Paris offers students the opportunity of living and studying in one of the world’s most exciting capital cities.
In New York, the Maison Française (16 Washington Mews) is a major forum for cultural and intellectual exchanges relating to the French-speaking world. It offers a rich program of lectures, symposia, concerts, screenings, exhibitions, and special events that provide an invaluable resource to students studying French.
If we haven’t met already, I look forward to meeting you!
Phillip John Usher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Letter from the Administrative Aide for Undergraduate Programs
I would like to echo Professor Usher’s sentiments and offer my own welcome to the Department of French. As the Undergraduate Administrative Aide, I will be able to help you whether you are a student interested in taking your very first French course or a major wrapping up your final requirements. Having studied French myself, I find it fascinating to see where the language can take a student. French has taken me from classrooms in Pittsburgh to unexpected conversations in Vietnam. From NYU Paris, to the streets of Montréal, or the markets of Dakar, you will be able to share your experiences and make invaluable connections with others across the globe. Each semester the Department of French offers an exciting array of courses to help you on your way, and to achieve your goals in French. While it is not always easy to navigate course selection and requirements during registration, we offer a number of resources for students including departmental advisors, undergraduate tutoring, and myself. No matter what the question, feel free to stop by or drop me an email!
Andrew Keough (email@example.com)
French Department Student Ambassadors
Please join us in welcoming our two new Department of French Student Ambassadors, Olivia Moore and Sean Waxman! These outstanding French Majors will be able to offer you a student-centered point of view whether you are a potential major or minor, an incoming undergraduate interested in the program, or looking to join the NYU French Department Undergraduate community.
Olivia Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org):
As a Politics student primarily interested in European Politics, French seemed to be the perfect complement to my undergraduate studies. With French being one of the official languages of the European Union, and the second most widely spoken language on the continent, I am convinced that majoring in French as an undergraduate at NYU will stand me in good stead as I apply to graduate programs focusing on European Politics and Society. The French major at NYU offers the opportunity to, not only become adept at the language, but also become well acquainted with French culture and thought traditions which are not only fascinating but wholly relevant to what I hope to study in the future. Being British, I hope to take advantage of our time remaining in the EU to work or study in France, either this summer or as a kind of "gap year" between graduating NYU and beginning my post-graduate studies.
Sean Waxman (email@example.com):
My first semester at NYU I took Written Contemporary French, and I knew from then on that I would have to pursue a major in French, alongside my other major in Gender & Sexuality Studies. My experiences as a French undergrad have really impacted my long-term career goals, as I have encountered so many professors in the department who were willing to let me explore original ideas in papers and within the classroom, instilling confidence in me as a scholar. In the future, I plan to take what I have learned in the department and hopefully pursue a PhD in French or Comparative Literature. The major has helped me refine my French skills to such a degree that I feel comfortable enough to perhaps work in translation or teach the language to students. As I near graduation, I can finally consider how the major has opened up so many unforeseeable possibilities for me, imagining myself in a variety of careers, from being an academic to a translator to even working in tourism or government. Qui langue a, à Rome va !