French Degree Program

French Degree Program

Welcome to the French Program

French as a foreign language is the second most frequently taught language in the world after English. It is an official language in 28 countries on five continents, and French is one of only two global languages (the other is English). 

Studying French at Canisius is especially important due to the college's close proximity to Canada where French is an official language. French is widely spoken in many industries including the financial world, science and technology, humanities and the social sciences.  Interestingly, approximately 30 percent of English words are derived from French. Learn other reasons why French is so important.

For post-graduate education, many graduate schools require knowledge of at least one foreign language. Knowing how to speak French, which is the most commonly used language after English, enriches lives and opens up unlimited opportunities.

The Global Importance of French

French is a vital world language, as the Web site of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF) attests in listing the following benchmarks, among others:

  • There are an estimated 220 million French speakers worldwide.
  • French is the 9th most widely spoken language on the planet and the only one, together with English, to be spoken on all five continents.
  • In most of the IOF member countries, 60% of the population is under 30 years old.
  • French is the 3rd most widely used language on the Web with 5% of Internet pages, after English (45%) and German (7%) and ahead of Spanish (4.5%).
  • Africa is the continent with the largest number of French speakers, with 96.2 million French speakers in the IOF member countries.
  • The IOF has 75 States and governments (including 19 observers) across the five continents.
  • The IOF’s 75 States and governments represent a total of 890 million people, or 13% of the world’s population.  Member states and governments represent over one-third of United Nations member states.
  • With 18.9% of world exports and 19% of world imports, French-speaking countries account for 19% of world trade in goods.
  • French is the second most widely spoken mother tongue (16%) after German (23%) and ahead of English (15.9%) in the European Union.