French : Overview

Department of Romance Languages and Literatures

Contact Information

College of Arts and Sciences
910 Clemens Hall
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-4620

Phone: 716.645.2191
Fax: 716.645.5981
Web Address:
David Castillo
Colleen Culleton
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Jeanette Ludwig
Language Program Director


The French language is spoken by millions of people living in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, the Caribbean, North and Central Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. It is a major international language of the arts, commerce, and science, a status that reflects the leading role that French culture and technology have played and continue to play. In the United States, more students study French than any other foreign language except Spanish.

The centuries-old relationship of the English-speaking and French-speaking cultures has resulted in a common heritage. Not only is there a substantial overlap in vocabulary - some 40 percent of English words are of French origin - there is also a common culture, going from the Arthurian legends through postcolonial self-examination, and students find many familiar landmarks in the study of French culture.

The French program trains students in the spoken and written language, and deepens their knowledge of and interest in the literature and culture of France and other French-speaking countries. Majors in French are encouraged to study abroad for a summer, a semester, or a full year. SUNY programs in French cities are open to UB students. For a major or minor, a minimum of four courses at the 300/400 level must be taken in residence at the Buffalo campus.

Students wishing to satisfy the requirements for teacher certification should plan their programs with particular care in order to accommodate the required semester of the professional sequence during their senior year. For certification requirements, students should contact the Teacher Education Institute, Graduate School of Education, 367 Baldy Hall.

Updated: 13 Nov 2012 06:01:10 EST