Two students sitting at long table with coffees looking at laptop.

Why study French?

Of course, French is a beautiful language, whose knowledge opens doors to a large variety of literary and artistic traditions. But there are more practical reasons for which you might want to learn French: 

  • French is one of Canada’s two official languages; learning French gives you an edge for provincial and federal government careers, education, media, law, diplomacy, tourism and more.  
  • French opens the door to a world of travel, cultures and business: it is spoken by over 321 million people worldwide, and it is present on each of the five continents. 
  • Learning French, like any other language, has been proven to improve cognitive skills such as memory, problem-solving and critical thinking. 
  • UM welcomes French learners at all levels, from complete beginners searching for new language skills, to native speakers looking for exciting culture courses. 

Why study Spanish?

Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations and is spoken by more than 500 million people around the world. These inhabit 21 countries and one territory, where Spanish is the official language and also are found as minorities in several countries.  It is also the second most spoken language of the United States with approximately 60 million speakers.  Hispanic countries have a rich history and culture that are demonstrated in their creation of art, literature, cinema and other cultural manifestations. Spanish is also a language with a rich tradition of grammar, vocabulary and a pronunciation with many regional/dialectal variations.  

Spanish is a language of enormous social, cultural, political and economic importance. Consequently, by learning Spanish, you will be able to communicate with a variety of speakers from different interests and cultural backgrounds.

In the 21st century, the ability to communicate at the international level is an increasing essential skill that is seriously valued in several areas including but not limited to: foreign affairs, immigration, teaching, translation, interpretation, journalism, publishing, medicine, social work, law, economics, political science, tourism and commerce. 

Furthermore, the development of closer Canadian ties with Spain and Latin America is extending the range of career opportunities throughout various international organizations not least of all business.

The Spanish major programme at the University of Manitoba allows you to develop proficiency and fluency in written and spoken Spanish as well as acquire knowledge of linguistic, literary, cultural and cinematic works pertaining to the Hispanic world.  Introductory and Intermediate grammar and conversation courses hone your skills and prepare you for advanced study of the language and of Spanish-language literary and cinematic works. You may also choose to double major with another program such as French, linguistics, economics, business, architecture, political science, or any other discipline available at the university.  

Students in the minor program gain proficiency in Spanish and learn the language, literature and traditions of the Spanish-speaking world.  In today’s global economy, this minor is an asset to major programmes of study.

We look forward to helping you reach your goals broadening your study of the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures!

Why study Italian?

Italy is a country with an extremely rich cultural history, whose legacy in music, architecture, arts, and philosophy is well-recognized around the world.

Besides, they will hone one’s analytical skills, good critical thinking, and provide strong communication skills, which are increasingly in demand in the global workforce. In an increasingly globalized world, speaking multiple languages is an extremely valuable skill that will serve one’s personal growth and general understanding of the world, and can strengthen career prospects.

Italy has become an increasingly important trading partner with Canada and Italian is an asset for several careers including but not limited to: foreign affairs, translation, interpretation, teaching, fashion and design, film and media, art history, finance and economics, wine and food sectors, music and the performing arts, and tourism.

As a founding member of the European Union, Italy plays a key role in the modern world. Italian is spoken by approximately 67 million native speakers. For approximately 13 million EU citizens, it is their second language. Worldwide, approximately, 85 million people speak Italian. 

Studying Italian is to explore the richness and vitality of a culture that was the birthplace of the Renaissance and Humanism, and was formative in the history of Western civilization. 

We look forward to helping you reach your goals broadening your study of the Italian language and culture!

Programs of study

The Department of French, Spanish and Italian offers undergraduate studies in French, Spanish and Italian and graduate studies in French.

Course offerings

The course listing is a preliminary list of undergraduate and graduate courses per term that includes the course start and end date. 

Courses offered by the Department of French, Spanish and Italian fall under three subject area categories:

  • French (FREN)
  • Spanish (SPAN)
  • Italian (ITLN)

View courses on Aurora

Students must search the system using each subject category to review the courses for that subject area.

Check back for updates and additional information including meeting times, instructors and method of delivery (e.g., on campus or remote learning).

Which course do I start with to best match my language skills and abilities?


FREN 1152/1154 Introductory French I and II is open to students with no prior knowledge in the language, who have not taken Grade 12 French or have completed Grade 12 French more than five years ago.

FREN 1190 Français or FREN 1200 French 1 is best for students who have completed Grade 12 French in the past five years. The courses are quite similar but 1190 is taught entirely in French, whereas 1200 is taught in French and English, according to students' needs.

Successful completion of FREN 1152 and FREN 1154 (minimum grade of 'C') allows one to take FREN 1200, the gateway course to more advanced French courses in the department.

FREN 1252 Français oral 1 is designed specifically for students who want to improve their oral skills; it is opened to all students who have completed Grade 12 French, or equivalent. 

Students with advanced knowledge of the French language may take upper-level French courses, after consultation with the French, Spanish and Italian Department. 


SPAN 1180 Introductory Spanish is open to students with no prior knowledge in the language and who have not taken Grade 12 Spanish.

SPAN 1190 Introductory Spanish is best for those who have a minimal knowledge of Spanish.

SPAN 1262/1272 Intermediate Spanish I and II is targeted to students who have taken several years of Spanish in high school. 

Students with previous knowledge of Spanish (e.g. Hispanic decent, periods spent in Spain or Latin America) may take upper level Spanish courses. 


ITLN 1080 Introductory Italian is open to students with little or no knowledge of Italian. 

ITLN 2080 Intermediate Italian is best for students who have completed Italian at the high school level and/or in the International Languages Secondary Credit Program.

If you are unsure about which course is best for your situation, contact the Department of French, Spanish and Italian for more information.

Student resources and opportunities

Take advantage of exchange opportunities, join a student club or practice your language skills at the Faculty of Arts Language Centre.

Group of five students sitting on stairs.

Join a student club

Student clubs are a great way to practice your conversation skills, meet new friends and participate in on-campus activities. Student group activity may be impacted by the number of volunteers available in a given year. Whether you are at a beginner, intermediate or advanced level or are bilingual, all are welcome!

Practice your skills at the Language Centre

As in all language departments, students have access to the Faculty of Arts Language Centre with language laboratories that are well stocked with a variety of recorded material (to help with learning through listening), language practice software, books, videos, games and programs designed specifically for certain courses that contain a lab component. Language tutors are also available.

Learn more and visit the Language Centre

Explore your career options

Plan your university journey. Use these guides to get the information you need for academic planning and connect with experiences to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes that employers are seeking.

View the French Career Compass

View the Spanish and Italian Career Compass


Financial aid and awards

Several awards and scholarships are given each year to undergraduate students who achieve high standing in French or Italian courses or programs at UM (it is not necessary to apply, but certain awards carry conditions). Graduate students studying French are also eligible for program-specific, university-wide and external awards and funding opportunities.

Undergraduate awards


Cyril and Jane Meredith Jones Memorial Scholarship

  • for high standing in FREN 1190 or 1200
  • must proceed to either Second Year Honours French or to a declared major or minor in French

Amount:  $4,650.00 for each (2 awards)

Dr. Alexander Gordon Memorial Scholarship in French Literature

  • for a full-time student in the second, third or fourth year of study in honours or major in French
  • Amount:  $2,525.00

Marcus and Emilie Sumi Denney Scholarship

  • for completion of at least one year of study in a program in French at The University of Manitoba, at a graduate, honours, major or minor level
  • tenable with registration in a graduate, honours, major or minor program in French
  • Amount:  $3,575.00

Marcel Richard Memorial Scholarship

  • for high standing in second or third year of the French Major program or the Advanced Major program, or in third year Honours French program
  • Amount:  $1,000.00

Ethel M. Falardeau Scholarship Fund

  • for high standing in Fourth Year Honours French courses of the Major in French, or in the Minor in French
  • Amount:  $825.00

Emilie Sumi Denney Scholarship

  • for highest standing in Second Year French - honours, major, or minor
  • Amount:  $500.00

Marcel Richard – L’Alliance Française Prize

  • for French Major student with the highest average in Second Year French courses
  • Amount:  $425.00

Albert Lucas Prize

  • for highest standing in Honours, Major or Minor French

Max Manishen Memorial Prize

  • for highest overall performance in the third year major program in French
  • Amount:  $275.00

Emilie Sumi Denney Scholarship

  • for highest standing in Français Oral I – FREN 1252 and Major in French
  • Amount:  $250.00

L’Alliance Française Book Prize

  • for highest standing in a 2000-level French  (FREN) course and a minimum degree grade point average of 3.5
  • Amount: one book (2 awards)

French Government Book Prize

  • for highest standing in first year French General course
  • Amount: one book

French Government Book Prize

  • for highest standing in French of the third year of the general course in Arts or Science
  • Amount: one book

French Government Book Prize

  • for outstanding achievement, final year Honours, Major or Minor French
  • Amount: one book

Swiss Government Book Prize

  • for high achievement in French
  • Amount: one book


Sons of Italy Garibaldi Lodge Italian Studies Scholarship

  • for a full-time student in any Faculty or School who has completed both first and second year studies of Italian with good academic standing
  • Amount:  $600.00

Order Sons of Italy Prize

  • for a student who completes the course “Intermediate Italian” currently numbered ITLN 2080 and who demonstrates particular excellence, progress and assiduity

Dr. Domenico Povoledo Memorial Award

  • for a student who is a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident with at least one Italian course of a minimum grade B+
  • Amount:  $875.00

Swiss Government Book Prize

  • for high achievement in Italian
  • Amount: one book

Graduate awards - UM

Marcel Richard Graduate Award

  • for academic achievement and evidence of ability to do scholarly research in French at the graduate level
  • to be offered annually to a student or students who have been admitted to pursue graduate studies in French at the MA or PhD level
  • approximate value of award:  $22,600.00

Dr. Anita K. Ross Fellowship in French

  • for a student pursuing either a MA or a PhD degree in French language or literature
  • approximate value of award:  $5,400.00

Margaret R. Pope Scholarship

  • for academic merit in French at either Masters or Doctoral level
  • approximate value of award:  $2,500.00

Joan Kennett Memorial Award for Thesis Writing

  • for a graduate student who, in the twelve month period preceding the awarding of the prize, has defended an excellent thesis as part of the requirements of either an MA or PhD in French
  • approximate value of award:  $700.00

Collège Universitaire de Saint-Boniface Fund Scholarship

  • for a full-time student, in either MA or the PhD in French, with high academic standing who is undertaking or has proposed to undertake thesis research in French language literature
  • approximate value of award:  $1,475.00

View UM graduate student award opportunities

Graduate students

Finding a graduate advisor

Before submitting your application to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for the French MA or PhD program, potential students are advised to contact at least one potential advisor from among the members of the department.

In an email, please let the potential advisor know the following:

  • your area(s) of interest,
  • a bit about yourself, and how to best contact you,
  • a brief summary of your relevant education, community and/or work experiences,
  • a description of your proposed research topic.

Please note that tentative acceptance from an advisor does not guarantee admission into the program.

Past theses

Past theses can be found on MSpace.

View past theses on MSpace.


The Department of French, Spanish and Italian celebrated its centennial on Monday, November 25, 2013. Learn more about the history of one of the oldest departments in the Faculty of Arts.


1913 - The French section of the Department of French, Spanish and Italian was established under the headship of William Frederick Osborne, former professor of English and French literatures at the Welsey College affiliated with the University of Manitoba.

1915 - The Alliance Française du Manitoba was co-founded by Professor Osborne, its first president. Most members of the Department of French got involved at the Alliance Française by giving lectures, by welcoming guest speakers and by serving on its administrative board. 

1919 - Agnes Celine Ballu and A. M. Haynaud, who were both amongst the first female teachers at the University of Manitoba, became members of the Department of French.

1920-1921 - Master’s French courses began to be offered by the Department of French.  

1924 - The members of the Department of French began to contribute to the University of Manitoba annual series of radio lectures originally broadcast by the Manitoba Government Telephones Radio Station (later by CKY-Winnipeg).

1932 - English-speaking students from the University of Manitoba French club began to perform plays in French in St. Boniface and at the Alliance Française in Winnipeg.  

1943 - Retirement of W. F. Osborne, one of the first scholars awarded the degree of doctor honoris causa by the University of Manitoba.  

1946-1951 - Cyril Meredith Jones, French department head, taught a popular radio French conversation course, Let’s Learn French, to CKSB-St. Boniface English-speaking listeners.

1964 - The PhD program in French was established under the headship of Professor Jones. 

1965 - The first credit course of beginners’ Spanish taught by J. A. Valverde was offered by the University of Manitoba. 

1970 - Donna M. Norell defended the first PhD thesis in French at the University of Manitoba.  

1970 - The Department of French changed its name to Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

1976 - The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures changed its name to Department of French and Spanish.

1981 - Some members of the French section began to be involved with the Centre d’etudes franco-canadiennes de l’Ouest (CEFCO) in St. Boniface. 

1989 - Official opening of the Spanish/Italian Centre of the University of Manitoba. 

1994 - The Department of French and Spanish changed its name to Department of French, Spanish and Italian.

2006 - Theatre Night: This FSI annual artistic event was created in the spirit of collaboration amongst the three language sections, and remained a long-standing departmental tradition.

2013 - Celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Department of French, Spanish and Italian.  View the Centennial Bulletin.

Contact us

Department of French, Spanish and Italian
430 Fletcher Argue Building
15 Chancellor's Circle 

University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)

Winnipeg, MB R3T 5V5