The Department of World Languages and Literatures offers a range of French language courses at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels, and a variety of courses on French and Francophone cultures, history, literature, and cinema. Additionally, students have opportunities to complete internships in French and study commercial French for international trade, which prepares them for the exam (offered on the SMU campus) for the Certificat de Français Professionnel, a prestigious diploma offered by the Paris Chamber of Commerce.
Why Study French?
1. French is one of the world's major languages!
It is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, and it is spoken on every major continent. By 2050, French will be the most widely spoken language in the world. It is the most widely spoken language in Africa, and it is one of the official languages of both the European Union and the United Nations. It is one of the only official languages for diplomacy and international law.
2. French is the language of banking, medicine, and technology, as well as trade!
French and francophone companies dominate international banking and finance and the pharmaceutical industry and are major players in aerospace, gaming, telecommunications, and in luxury consumer goods and fashion. Speaking French is a major asset in seeking employment and working for such companies as it permits better communication with colleagues around the globe. Knowing French will also increase your salary over your career by an average of $77,000, so it is worth the investment to learn it.
3. French can help you get a job in Texas!
The city of Dallas was founded by the French, and they are still here! Dallas ranks second in the United States among cities with major French companies (second only to New York City), and if you study French you can intern with those companies and later, get a job with them. You can also study Business French, so you can speak with the appropriate French Business terminology and so you can understand the differences in business cultures between France and the US.
4. French is the language of democracy!
France is considered to be one of the birth places of democracy. Thinkers from the Seventeenth Century onward (including Rousseau, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Hugo, and Sartre) paved the way for democratic thought and have continued to refine it. The French Revolution produced the first democratic Republic in the modern world. Studying French you will read some of the major thinkers, writers, and philosophers who have contributed to democratic thinking across the world.
5. The French make great movies!
Movies were invented in France, and the first major film studios were established there. The French still make great movies, and if you take French at SMU, you will get to watch them. We have unique, film-based language classes that help you improve your communicative ability while studying history and culture through film.