Back to search results


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. 

Previous French instruction is not prerequisite to declaring a French major.

Students who have some knowledge of French before enrolling at Ohio State will take a test to determine their placement level. Learn more about placement testing at

The French major consists of 12 credit hours of prerequisites and 30 credit hours of courses at the 3000 level and above. Students can choose to take courses on a variety of topics or to focus their studies on a particular area that matches their interests. 

If you are interested in using French in a professional context, consider pursuing a minor or second major in business, engineering, education, international studies, or pre-medicine and taking French courses such as Conversation, French and Francophone Cultures, French for the Professions, French for the Professions Internship, and Translation. Education majors in particular will benefit from our course on Discovering Second Language Acquisition.

If you'd like to explore French-speaking cultures and societies, you might pursue a second major in international studies, African-American and African studies, Middle-Eastern studies, history, or comparative studies and take French courses from an Introduction to Francophone Cultures to Black Africa, North Africa and Quebec.

If the written word­ is your passion, consider a second major in communications, journalism, English, or world literatures and a series of courses on French and Francophone literature in their historical contexts from the Middle Ages to the 21st century.

If you love cinema or the visual arts, consider a second major in film studies, moving-image production, design, theater or history of art and courses such as French and Francophone Cinema, French and Italian Cinema, Topics in French and Francophone Cinema, and Studies in Contemporary French Cinema.

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.

Honors students in the French major are encouraged to write their Honors research thesis with a professor specializing in their area of interest.

Learn more about the Honors and Scholars Programs at

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.