The Columbia Maison Française works closely with the Department of French and Romance Philology, one of the oldest and most distinguished in the United States. Established in 1929, it grew out of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, founded in 1890. Throughout the Department’s history, it has promoted faculty and student exchanges with France’s elite institutions of higher education, including the Collège de France, the École Normale Supérieure, and the Université de Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV). In addition to the Department’s traditional strengths in philology and literary theory, criticism, and history, in recent years, the Department has expanded its scope to include more interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching and has established itself as a leading center for French and Francophone Studies.
The Department of French, chaired by Philip Watts, has trained thousands of undergraduates. French is, after Spanish, the second most studied language at Columbia University. As many as 750 students enroll in French classes each semester at Columbia. The Reid Hall program in Paris attracts more students for study abroad than any of Columbia's other exchange programs. A growing number of students are studying in another French-speaking country such as Senegal.
With more than 50 students enrolled in the PhD program, the Department of French and Romance Philology is one of the biggest French graduate programs in the country and is consistently ranked among the top five in national surveys. Distinguished alumni of the doctoral program include Paul LeClerc, president of the New York Public Library and Chair of the Advisory Board to the Maison Française and the Department of French, and Domna Stanton, former president of the Modern Language Association of America.
To read more about French at Columbia, click here.
To visit the French Department website, click here.