French Studies

Expand your horizons

French is one of Canada’s two official languages and, after English, the second most widely learned foreign language in the world.

With more than 200 million French speakers worldwide, French is among the principal languages of diplomacy and of international organizations. Across Canada, French language skills are an asset when applying for federal public sector jobs, and are a necessity for advancing to higher-ranking positions.

Speaking French offers access to great works of literature, art, music, dance, fashion, cuisine, and cinema. Through individual tutoring, new media classroom technology, and exchange programs, our instructors are dedicated to sharing their expertise and passion. Expand your horizons, learn this useful skill, and gain an appreciation for Francophone culture and literature around the world!

What can you expect from the French program?

Whether complete beginners or native speakers, students will find a rich selection of French language and literature courses that are appropriate to their level and interests.

The French Minor, Major and Honours programs are designed to enhance students’ active communication skills and develop their appreciation of Francophone culture and literature, including those in Canada, France, Africa, and the Caribbean.

After developing French language proficiency for practical uses such as traveling, students can progress to exploring French literature and the evolution of the language as it evolved from Latin in the years of complex life in Medieval France. Modern French cultures offer vibrant literature and distinct societies in Quebec, Manitoba, Louisiana, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, and in France’s overseas regions, among others.

A French degree teaches you about connection, communication, and community. If often pairs well with majors or minors in other languages, or with subjects such as Political Science, International Relations, History, Canadian Studies, Linguistics, Arts, Film Studies, Music and more.

What better way to learn the French language and culture than to immerse yourself in a French-speaking country or province for several weeks?

  • Go Global allows students to study abroad, bringing course content to life with hands-on learning.
  • UBC has study exchange agreements with several universities in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Québec.

FHIS Department:

  • Benefit from free tutoring and educational support through the Learning Centre.
  • Participate in language conversation tables and cultural events through the Cultural Club.


  • Participate in the many activities offered by the Centre de la Francophonie de UBC, which offers information sessions and cultural events on and off campus.
  • Live in France and teach English through the Language Assistant Program offered in partnership with the French Government.
  • Go on exchange through Go Global’s study abroad programs; we have exchanges with Lyon, Brussels, Paris, Lausanne and Montreal.
  • Start a conversation exchange with a native speaker through UBC’s Tandem Language Exchange Program.
  • Continue on to UBC’s Faculty of Education and get your teachers’ training.

Francophone Community in Vancouver:

  • Students will enjoy waking to the local French radio and watching local French television.
  • The Théâtre de la seizième offers an array of modern and classical French theater and the City’s Centre francophone is a cultural hub for the community.
  • The Alliance française offers cultural events as well as teaching and learning opportunities for students.
  • Students planning to teach in the K-12 school system will have access to teaching practica in both the regular and French immersion streams.

Here's what undergraduate students have been up to:

What level of French should you start at given your previous experience with the language?

What career options are out there?

Graduates will develop transferable skills that can be applied to a variety of contexts.

Our graduates are equipped for any field in which connection and internationalism count. These include careers in:

  • French language teaching (K-12)
  • Education, academia, research
  • Government and politics
  • Public service
  • Foreign service
  • Business
  • Human resource management
  • Project management
  • Law
  • Cultural and historical organizations
  • Humanitarian work
  • Non-profits
  • Tourism
  • Translation
  • Journalism, Radio, Television
  • Public relations

Many students find that a Major or Minor in one of our programs pairs well with other specializations, including International Relations, Political Science, Geography, Human Resource Management and more.

You will develop transferable skills that can be applied to a wide variety of fields. These skills include:

  • Language proficiency (hard skill)
  • Cultural awareness
  • International & intercultural know-how
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Communication skills
  • Research skills

Here's what former students have been up to since graduating:

How do you declare a Major, Minor, or Honours?

You can declare your specialization in one of two ways:


  1. Login to the Student Service Centre (SSC) and select your campus and session.
  2. Select specialization from the browse menu to see a list of all degree programs with specializations.
  3. Select your degree program.
  4. Select your area of specialization from the subject list.
  5. Click add spec.
  6. If the specialization indicates that you must contact the department, you will not be able to declare it online. Contact your academic advising office for details.
  7. (To make changes: use the switch spec. button)

Arts Advising can adjust your specialization on your behalf by filling out their online form.

Arts Advising only accepts online specialization requests outside of the registration period (registration runs from mid-June to mid-September). During registration periods, declare your specializations via the SSC.

For further assistance, contact an advisor.