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!
Letter from the Director of Undergraduate Studies, or Why Study French?
Welcome to the French Department!
My name is Professor Ludovic Cortade. 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!
Ludovic Cortade (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Letter from the Administrative Aide for Undergraduate Programs
I would like to echo Professor Cortade'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)
Undergraduate Ambassador to NYU Paris: Kirra Klein
Born in San Francisco, I grew up in Portland, Oregon, where I had the absolute fortune to attend the French-American International School. There, I was exposed from the age of three to French language, history, and culture as if it were completely commonplace. Through FAIS, I also learned Spanish and was lucky enough to study in both Paris and Madrid, which inspired a drive for international travel, experience, and cooperation that has guided me in my life and studies thus far.
I’m currently a Senior at NYU, triple-majoring in Philosophy, Global Liberal Studies: Law, Ethics, and Religion, and French. I spent my Freshman year in London, where I participated on the Liberal Studies Student Council, and my Junior year in Paris, where I worked in the NYUP Academic Department, co-sponsored and organized the World Tour, an inter-campus global event, and co-founded a student-led social justice and politics organisation called Facilitate Equity, which holds public events centered on intersectionality and political cooperation, now active in both Paris and New York.
I cannot express the profound gratitude and joy I feel at having cooperated with the incredibly passionate team at NYU-Paris and look forward to working with them again this year. As Paris Site Ambassador, I intend to help forge a stronger relationship between the students in Paris and at Washington Square through events that engage, provoke, and inspire individuals to venture outside of their cultural, socio-political, and linguistic comfort zones and gain new perspective on themselves and our diverse and fascinating world.
If you're interested in NYU-Paris, if you're thinking about going there, if you want to know more about it, please email Kirra at: firstname.lastname@example.org.