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Degree: BA

Campus: Columbus

College: Arts and Sciences

Learning French means learning to communicate in French in a variety of social and professional settings. Students learn about the culture, language, history, literature and media of the 35 French-speaking countries that make up the Francophone world. Students develop their language proficiency—listening, speaking, reading and writing skills—in interactive classroom settings, in our individualized instruction program, and in study abroad settings in France, Canada and Senegal. 

Upon admission to the university, students can declare a major in French within the College of Arts and Sciences. Interested students should contact the undergraduate advisor in the Department of French and Italian and in Arts and Sciences Advising.

The more high school French taken the better, because students will take a placement test in French once admitted to the university. Students who place above the 1000-level French courses save themselves time and money.

Courses throughout the undergraduate curriculum are enriched by the use of media and Internet resources such as online newspapers, magazines, YouTube, music CDs and videos, television programs, and through videoconferencing with French speakers around the world. As students progress, they choose from a variety of intermediate- and advanced-level language, culture, literature and film courses. A major in French consists of no fewer than 30 hours of French courses at the 3000 level and above. 

French major and minor options 

The undergraduate program in French is designed to give students the opportunity to tailor their major and minor to their personal interests and their professional goals and objectives. Students majoring in French can choose among five tracks:

  • For students interested in pursuing a career in business, the French for the professions major or minor track provides a background in French business practices and culture.
  • The language and literature track is appealing to students who enjoy literature and to those contemplating graduate school in French.
  • Students interested in teaching at the secondary level and international studies students often find the language and culture track useful because of its concentration on French and Francophone cultures.
  • The Francophone studies track is suited to students especially interested in French-speaking regions outside of France, such as North or West Africa, and who may want to work for international agencies.
  • The French studies track allows students to put together a more individualized program of study combining literature, language, culture and/or film. 

Options for minors include language and linguistics, culture and film, literature, French for the professions, Francophone studies, and French studies. 

Prerequisite courses for the major or minor 

Before beginning the major or minor, students must complete French 1101 to 1103 and French 2101. Students may test out of one or more of these courses on the placement test. These courses do not apply toward the total number of credit hours needed for the major. 

Required major courses 

Each major track in French has required and elective major courses. Students in all major tracks are required to take French 3101 and 5101, Intermediate and Advanced Grammar, to provide a solid base in the language.

Elective major courses 

The remaining courses in the major are chosen by the student from among a variety of departmental offerings in language, literature, culture and film. With advisor approval, students may also include three hours from a course outside the department that relates to the study of French.

Students are encouraged to study abroad—either for the summer, a semester or an academic year—and should begin considering and planning for a study abroad program as soon as they have decided to major in French. Programs are offered in France (e.g., Montpellier, Nantes, Paris) or in Quebec (Université Laval, Quebec City) and Dakar, Senegal.

Students interested in studying abroad during their junior or senior year can obtain specific information about various programs from the Office of International Affairs

Students are encouraged to work with the Department of French and Italian and the Office of International Affairs to set up service or business internships either here or abroad.

Ohio State offers many opportunities for students to use their French outside of the classroom. At Ohio State, students can participate in Café +, a French conversation table in Hagerty Hall’s Crane Café, and they can join in the activities of the French Club.

French is applicable in a variety of settings in the United States and abroad. Mastery of French allows students to consider careers in education, government, business, print and electronic media, scientific and medical research, and trade and tourism industries. Many employers are eager to hire graduates who are fluent in French because their businesses involve French speakers.

Careers where French is the primary emphasis include teaching French at all levels; interpreting and translating for the United Nations, government, or for private and public organizations; and a variety of positions in the travel and tourism industry at home or abroad such as flight attendant, travel agent and tour guide. Careers where proficiency in French is a good secondary tool include banking and finance, business, sales, export purchasing, foreign market analysis, journalism, foreign correspondence, science and research, library science, hotel management, publishing, radio broadcasting, or teaching English in a French-speaking country to employees in corporations abroad.

Ohio State graduates with French degrees have chosen jobs such as international desk associate at Bank One, buyer for Unishops Inc., trade specialist for the Ohio Department of Development, French teacher in Columbus Public Schools and director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.