French major or French minor

Cornell College offers a full range of French courses from beginning and intermediate language classes to advanced-level courses on composition and conversation, literature, film and cultures of France and the Francophone World.  Our curriculum emphasizes the deep connection between language and culture; at Cornell, the study of French is framed within cultural, historical and geographical contexts so that students develop intercultural competence and are prepared to engage directly with Francophone communities around the world.

Study abroad

Cornell's One Course At A Time calendar makes it easy to schedule block-long journeys to places like Montreal, Aix-en-Provence, Martinique and Morocco. Students can also study for a semester in France or other French-speaking countries through relationships with other programs. Visit our study abroad pages for more information.

Learning languages on the block plan

Why French?

An official language of the United Nations, UNESCO and NATO and 29 countries around the world, French is a fast-growing, global language, spoken by over 220 million French speakers worldwide. The International Organization of Francophonie projects that the number of French speakers will rise to over 700 million by 2050, 80% of whom will be in Africa.  France and the Francophone world also play an active part in the world economy, accounting for some 20% of world trade in goods.

Students of French learn a lot about the English language as well, for as many as half of basic English words come from French.  Americans need not travel to another continent to use their French, for French is an official language of Canada, and Francophone culture is alive and well in many regions of the United States.


French proficiency can open doors in fields such as journalism and media, translation and interpretation, hotel management, diplomacy, international market analysis, health care, tourism, customer service and education. France is the second largest investor in the US and is Europe’s second largest market.

There are many job opportunities in international organizations for French speakers and bilingual candidates have an edge in the job market for US companies who do business on a global scale. Non-profit companies who work for humanitarian purposes are located throughout the Francophone world.  Skills in oral and written communication, analysis, knowledge of different cultures and the ability to adapt to new cultural environments prepare our graduates for a variety of career paths and further graduate study.