At both the graduate and undergraduate levels, the Department of French Literature, Thought and Culture offers an extensive range of courses in French and Francophone language, literature, and civilization.
With a staff of internationally known scholars and teachers, the program is strong and diversified emphasizing immersion of the student in foreign culture and language. The vast majority of courses are taught in French.
Each year the department offers a number of courses by eminent visiting professors. These visiting professors are one of the distinctive strengths of the department's graduate programs. Among the most recent visitors are Gérard Genette, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Philippe Roger, Françoise Gaillard, Lucette Finas, Tahar Ben Jelloun, and Yves Hersant. In addition, Jacques Derrida was a regular visitor to the department every fall.
The department offers approximately twenty-two graduate courses and seminars per year, with enrollments ranging generally from eight to fifteen. Thus, students are able to choose from the rich offerings of a large department, yet also enjoy the opportunity for close personal interaction with professors.
Mini-seminars are another important feature of the department's program. Some who have headed seminars in recent years are: Michel Zink, Michel Deguy, Jacques Darras, Guy Scarpetta, Jean Milly, Jacqueline Cerquiglini-Toulet, Jacques Roubaud, Danièle Sallenave, Pascal Bruckner, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Garelli, Robert Abirached, Erik Arnoult, and Viviane Forrester.
New York University is an integral part of the metropolitan community of New York City. Students majoring or minoring in French are strongly encouraged to spend at least one semester at the NYU Center in Paris, which offers courses with well-known professors from the French university system as well as distinguished NYU faculty members. The department offers undergraduate programs leading to the B.A. degree, including various major and minor tracks, and graduate programs leading to Ph.D. degrees with various areas of emphasis.