The French section provides students with the opportunity to pursue course work at all levels in French language, literature, cultural and intellectual history, theory, film, and Francophone studies. It understands the domain of French Studies as encompassing the complex of cultural, political, social, scientific, commercial, and intellectual phenomena associated with French-speaking parts of the world, from France and Belgium to Canada, Africa, and the Caribbean.

Three degree programs are available in French: a B.A., a Coterminal M.A., and a Ph.D. A Ph.D. in French and Italian is also available.

Visiting faculty and instructors contribute regularly to the life of the French section. The section maintains contacts with the Ecole Normale Supérieure, the Institut d'Etudes Politiques, and the Ecole Polytechnique.

A curator for Romance languages oversees the extensive French collection at Green Library. The Hoover Institute on War, Revolution, and Peace also includes materials on 20th-century France and French social and political movements.