French and Francophone Studies

A student who majors in French learns to speak the language, to read literature and cultural materials in their original form, and to interact with members of an important worldwide cultural community. With 122 million speakers, French is one of the five official languages of the United Nations, is an official language in 42 countries and is spoken in much of Africa, Canada, Louisiana, the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East, the Pacific as well as Europe.  The French major provides a truly global perspective and can help prepare a student for a career in public service, business, education, or the arts.

Program Overview

SDSU offers a major in French for the Bachelor of Arts degree. The program requires preparatory study in speaking, reading, writing and grammar, part of which may be completed in high school. All students then take one semester of advanced grammar and composition, one semester of stylistics and translation, and a two-course survey of French literature and complete their program with a variety of elective courses. All French majors must also complete a minor in an approved subject, such as art, business administration, comparative literature, European studies, another language, history, humanities, linguistics, music, or political science.

International Experience Requirement
All students majoring in French are required to complete an approved study abroad program in a French speaking country consisting of a minimum of six units (90 hours).  Opportunities for study abroad are many and students are encouraged to participate in a semester or year-long program if possible.

Special Features

  • The Henri and Jeanne Ghilbert Endowed Scholarship for French which rewards academic excellence is available for an undergraduate or graduate major to continue study in French.
  • The Dorothy E. Knott Scholarship for Study in Paris helps finance a student’s international experience.
  • The French Club. Students may join the Cercle Français, a club for students who wish to practice their French and to learn more about French and Francophone cultures. The club sponsors social activities, film screenings, and theatrical productions in French.
  • Le Théâtre Français de SDSU. Each spring semester, the department and the Associated Students of SDSU co-sponsor a French play. The Théâtre Français is a group that re-establishes itself each spring and is composed of students from the department, members of the Cercle Français, alumni, and members of the community at large.
  • The Honorary Society, SDSU has a local chapter of Pi Delta Phi, the national French honorary society. Its purpose is to recognize academic excellence, but it also sponsors lectures and special events.
  • Teacher Training opportunities. Qualified graduate students working toward a Master of Arts degree are regularly appointed by the French Department to teach elementary French and are trained under the supervision of master teachers. Advanced undergraduate and graduate students may also have the opportunity to serve as assistants in France.
  • The Language Acquisition and Resource Center at SDSU has a state-of-the-art facility, where students may practice their language skills by using interactive video, computer-assisted instruction, internet access, viewing videotapes of French television, listening to French recordings, or other means.

Career Opportunities

Students choose to major in French either in order to enrich their lives or as cultural training for many careers. Employers recognize the value of a well-rounded liberal arts education combined with a second language proficiency and knowledge of another country's culture. The increasing involvement of the United States in international business has created new opportunities for young people interested in international management. A major in French combines effectively with a second major or minor in business, economics, history, political science or women’s studies.

Many French majors choose a career in teaching. Recent studies indicate that the demand for qualified teachers is rising. With a secondary teaching credential, one can teach at the high school level or pursue more advanced study in preparation for a university career, either in French or in related subjects, such as linguistics or comparative literature.

The United States government, the United Nations, charitable and benevolent societies, private foundations, and foreign branches of private business employ French translators. It is also possible to earn a living or to supplement one's income with freelance work in translating.

To further explore career options in this field, visit the Career Services Web site for more information.

General Catalog

You can view more complete information regarding the French program in the General Catalog. All students are responsible for reading and knowing the information pertinent to their areas of study available in the General Catalog. It contains requirements for all academic majors, course descriptions, policies, and regulations governing progress at the university. Catalogs are distributed at all New Student Orientation programs. To order a General Catalog, call (619) 594-7535.