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French is a Romance language, one of the modern languages that descend from Latin. Today, about 200 million people speak French as a first or second language, primarily in Europe, Africa, and North America. French is also an official administrative language of many organizations such as the African Union, the International Court of Justice, the International Olympic Committee, and the United Nations.
As political and economic issues become increasingly global in scope, there is a growing need for Americans to be proficient in foreign languages. A major or a minor in French can be an asset to a career in education, business and industry, or in international affairs. Many French majors combine their study of French with another major in order to give an international orientation to their career. Beyond career planning, knowledge of French opens access to the works of a wide range of writers and thinkers, from Voltaire and Rousseau to Camus and Sartre.
Several of our lower-division courses are based on an award winning interactive, multimedia program. Because of this innovative pedagogy, our students develop a familiarity with geographical, social, and political aspects of the contemporary French-speaking world while they are learning the language. Our upper-division courses allow students to attain proficiency in the language while studying the literature, linguistics, and cultures of the Francophone world. Our students are encouraged to explore the many study abroad opportunities available to UT students, including our departmental Summer Study Program in Lyon, France.