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From the inception of the University in 1992, there has been an urgent need for students in some programmes to take French as an elective. Lecturers in French were available to cater for this need. Thus the programme started offering French language as an elective from 1992/93 to date, to students majoring in English Language and Literatures, African and Asian Languages, History and International Relations, and Mass Communication. During the 1995/96 session, the programme admitted its own students majoring in French. The first batch graduated four years later. Other groups have continued to graduate including the latest graduates of the 2017/2018 session.
The students choose and study either German or Spanish as elective, in addition to required courses such as Use of English, other GS courses and Computer Science.
At the end of their second year, the students normally go for the French Language Immersion Programme tenable in either a francophone African country or Nigeria French Language Village (NFLV) Badagry, where a francophone environment is available. This programme, otherwise known as the Year-Abroad Programme, takes care of the third year courses of the students as well as provides them with the necessary language immersion experience, at the end of which their first and second semester results are sent to the University through the Head of Department. Students may also go to other French-speaking countries in Europe, including France based on the terms of agreement between these institutions and the department.
Finally, the students on their return conclude their final year programme in the department.
The pioneer staff of the department were: Dr. C.C. Ezike, Dr. (Mrs) J. Agbasiere, Mrs. J.N. Okoye, and Dr. E.O. Ezeani.