French Minor

The most recent survey by the Modern Languages Association (2009) shows that French enrollments in the United States are on the rise and are now at the highest level in over 20 years.

French Minor Requirements [15 hours]

  1. FRE1013 – French I
  2. FRE1023 – French II
  3. FRE2033 – French III
  4. FRE2043 – French IV
  5. FRE3XXX/4XXX – Directed French Elective

Importance of French in school and work 

Historically France and the French language have had an enormous influence over American society. France was the United States' first ally. French thought played a dominant role among the founders of the United States in the 18th century, and it continues to shape America today through the influence of such intellectual currents as post-structuralism and post-modernism. In the humanities and the social sciences, many of the most important writings have come from France.

High school students should consider studying at least four years of a foreign language. College students should seek to earn a minor in French or have French as a primary or secondary major. With French they have access to the most widely spoken foreign language in the world after English and they become familiar with a culture that significantly influences our own. The French economy is one of the strongest in the world and is increasingly a leader in technological innovation. In sum, French is the language of the future.

While any language will be useful for some jobs or for some regions, French is the only foreign language that can be useful throughout the world as well as in the United States. French as a foreign language is the second most frequently taught language in the world after English.

The International Organization of Francophonie has 56 member states and governments. Of these, 28 countries have French as an official language. French is the only language other than English spoken on five continents. French and English are the only two global languages.

French, along with English, is the official working language of the:

    • United Nations
    • UNESCO
    • NATO
    • Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
    • International Labor Bureau
    • International Olympic Committee
    • 31-member Council of Europe
    • European Community
    • Universal Postal Union
    • International Red Cross
    • Union of International Associations (UIA)
    • French is the dominant working language at
    • European Court of Justice
    • European Tribunal of First Instance
    • Press Room at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium

The Economics of French Canada and France

French is the foreign language spoken by our largest trading partner (Canada).

The province of Quebec alone is the sixth largest trading partner of the United States with approximately $72 billion in trade in 2006.

In 2006, the United States exported and imported more to countries having French as a national language than to countries having any other foreign language. Exports to Canada alone in that year were greater than the combined exports to all countries south of the United States.

France has the fifth largest economy in the world after the U.S., Japan, China, Germany (2008). In 2006, the French GDP was $2.231 trillion and China's was $2.668 trillion.

France is the second largest exporter of agricultural products in the world after the U.S.

In recent years, the U.S. has been the largest direct investor in France. France is nearly tied with Japan, Germany and the Netherlands as the second largest foreign investor in the U.S.

In 2010, the United States was the leading destination for French investments abroad.

France is the third most productive nation in the world per hour work behind Norway and the U.S.

French is one of the languages spoken in the U.S.: 1.8 million Americans speak French in the home. (2010 US Census)

Overall, the French export more per capita than the Japanese and more than twice as much as the Americans.

France is the world's leader in the production of luxury goods.

More tourists visit France than any other country in the world.

Science and Technology

France will be the site of the world's first nuclear fusion reactor, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. Seven of France's top 10 exports to the U.S. are industrial or high technology products. France is the fourth largest producer of automobiles in the world and the third largest exporter. France is fourth in research among countries of the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (after Japan, Germany, and the US).

France is a major world research center in the field of high-energy physics. The French are a world leader in medical research: the AIDS virus was first isolated by French doctors. The French are the world's third manufacturers of electronics equipment. Most commercial satellites are put into space on French Ariane rockets. France is a leader in the development of high-speed trains such as the TGV. The smart card was used on a large-scale basis in France. The ocean liner Queen Mary II was built in France. France is one of the world's leading military powers and has the world's second largest defense industry. The French have nearly 15,000 troops on peace-keeping duties in 15 countries including Afghanistan, the Balkans, and the Ivory Coast. France is the world's second largest builder and exporter of civilian and military aircraft and helicopters (Airbus is the world's second largest fleet of commercial airliners, and many of the US Coast Guard helicopters are made by Aerospatiale in Toulouse.) France has one of the most advanced systems of telecommunications in the world.