There are several options for jobs where you can use French. Worldwide, French is the most widely taught second language after English because of its importance: only French and English are spoken on all five continents! There are over 77 million first language speakers, as well as 51 million fluent speakers, 61 million occasional speakers and 110 million students of the French language! French is an official language of 54 countries and dozens of international organizations, including the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the International Red Cross, the International Olympic Committee and Amnesty International.
Coordinator: Dr. Martin
What are French classes like at CSUSB?
What can you expect from French courses taught at CSUSB? First of all, you will learn to speak the language! Courses at all levels of the curriculum will encourage you to use French, to the best of your ability, in class. Our instructors are all experienced in creating classroom environments that will encourage and stimulate you to speak French with confidence. Because our courses are not overcrowded, you can expect to receive individual attention from your instructor and many, many opportunities to get to know your classmates well (using French!). Depending on the course, readings, papers, movies and other assignments may also be in French. Even if you have no experience in learning a foreign language, try studying French. Our faculty will show you how rewarding language learning can be!
Alumni Spotlight - Ashley Davidson-Fisher Publishes First Book
La Petite Josette en Provence is Ashley Davidson-Fisher's first book. Ashley Davidson-Fisher is a graduate of California State University, San Bernardino’s Department of World Languages and Literatures. In 2006, she received a Bachelor of Arts in French for both the Business Track and the Culture Studies Track. As part of her studies, she participated in the Foreign Languages Department Study Abroad Program in Aix-en-Provence from 2003 to 2005 at the Université de Droit, D’Economie et des Sciences D’Aix Marseille III Institut D’Etudes Française pour Etudiants Etrangers.
Thinking about a French Minor or Major?
Bravo! Upper division courses (numbered 3000 or above) allow you to move beyond learning the language to studying different aspects of French and Francophone (French-speaking) cultures. Although there are a number of skill-based courses offered-- such as French Translation, French Phonetics, Introduction to Reading & Interpretation, and labs in French Conversation and Writing, you will also learn about French and francophone cinema, music, art, history, literature, French gourmet culture, intercultural communication for business, and other content areas. Additional courses are offered online through the French Consortium-- giving you the opportunity to work with talented faculty from four other CSU campuses. Students pursuing a B.A. in French can choose from one of two tracks: French Language and Cultures (23 units) or French Studies (11 units). The latter is specifically designed for students pursuing a double major in French and another discipline (or a triple major). Those pursuing a major in another discipline may choose a Minor in French (19 units).
Graduates of our program have found successful careers in a variety of fields including education, translation, government service, business, and the arts. A specialization in French is also a very useful addition to a number of degrees such as Art, International Business, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Liberal Studies and other disciplines. CSUSB alumni who have gone on to graduate school at reputable schools such as Middlebury College in Paris and CSU Long Beach have reported that their French coursework was a valuable preparation for the rigors of graduate studies.
How do I monitor my progress and prepare for graduation?
Students pursuing a minor or B.A. in French will benefit from regularly scheduled academic advising with French faculty who will help them select courses that meet their needs and interests. An assessment course (FREN 3000. Enhancing your French), taken as students transition from lower-division to upper-division courses, will include the Avant STAMP Language Proficiency Tests. This assessment will help you to evaluate your progress thus far. By knowing where your strengths and challenges lie, you will know how to focus your upper-division coursework to continue to build your fluency in the language. Students enrolled in this assessment course will also receive additional tips for academic success, learn about a wide range of study and work abroad program opportunities, explore careers involving French, and prepare their job search materials.
Degree Requirements and Road Maps
Where do I start?
Take a French Placement Exam to find out. Check out the Placement and Challenge Exams Info section for more details.
Study/Work Abroad Program
“Studying abroad boosted my confidence, opened my eyes to limitless possibilities, improved my language skills, broadened my global perspective and gave me friends that, to this day, are among the best I have.” - Vanessa Jong
Interested in studying abroad?
There are many exciting opportunities to study in France or a French-speaking country. The CSU International Program offers year-long programs in 70 countries world-wide, with French language instruction available in France and Quebec (Canada). In France, you can study in Paris or in Aix-en-Provence. Previous study of French will give you the opportunity to take a wider variety of courses when in France. To date, the Switzer Scholarship had funded over $100,000 to help CSUSB students study in France and Quebec.
Year Abroad through CSU-IP
The California State University has an excellent International Program (IP) with study abroad opportunities for students at over 25 locations throughout the world. Students interested in learning about French and francophone cultures can study in Aix-en-Provence (France), Paris (France) or Québec City (Canada). For more information about the IP program, visit the California State University International Programs website.
Students are enthusiastic about their International Program experiences:
- “Studying in France changed my life." - Cynthia Oliveros
- “Since I was an art history double-major, France was filled with treasures and artworks I could explore.” -Kim Clifton
- "Had I not gone abroad, I would not have had the confidence to teach French language and culture and I undoubtedly would not have been entrusted [to teach French at Redlands East Valley High School]." -Jennifer Baldwin
In the last 10 years, over 40 students have studied French through IP.
Program Learning Outcomes
The program learning outcomes (PLOs) of the B.A. in French at California State University-San Bernardino closely align with the standards developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. The program is designed to enable students to develop Intermediate-high to Advanced level communicative competencies as defined by the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.
Proficiency in French
- Students will be able to communicate with a fair amount of fluency and spontaneity on familiar topics, even in complicated situations.
- Students will be able to link ideas in extended discussions and participate actively in most informal and some formal conversations.
- Students will be able to present their viewpoint on an issue and support their opinions.
- Students will be able to deliver a clear, organized presentation appropriate to their audience on a variety of topics.
- Students will be able to express ideas on a variety of topics in clear, organized texts, adjusting their writing for some audiences.
- Students will be able to understand the main points and most details in conversations, presentations and messages on both familiar and unfamiliar topics delivered through a variety of media.
- Students will be able to understand viewpoints and attitudes expressed in literary and non-literary texts.
- Students will demonstrate an understanding of the pragmatic and sociolinguistic features of the target language discourse.
- Students will recognize how French varies depending on context, register and domain.
- Students will be able to employ a variety of rhetorical and stylistic devices in different contexts to accomplish communicative tasks.
Understanding of French and Francophone Cultures
- Students will be able to identify and analyze the ways in which ideas both reflect and shape cultures.
- Students will be able to analyze and interpret a wide range of cultural texts as represented by a variety of forms and media, including literature.
- Students will be able to identify and analyze the historical, social and cultural influences in a variety of contexts.
- Students will develop an understanding of why French is not a monolithic culture but instead, represents a range of diverse communities where the language is spoken.
Resources for Students
Since 1999, every student studying in France or Quebec from CSU, San Bernardino has been a recipient of the Switzer Scholarship!
Find out more about life in Aix-en-Provence by visiting an alumna's website. Ashley Davidson-Fisher maintains this helpful website about life in Aix.
For those of you heading to Paris, Logement Etudiant for information about student residences and apartments.
Check out the Study Abroad section in Student Resources for more opportunities.
2021 Outstanding Undergraduate in French: Karl Taylor
Karl Taylor (B.A., magna cum laude, French and Francophone Studies) joined our French program at CSUSB in 2017 for the sheer joy of immersing himself in the French language and culture, having already studied French at the Académie française de Pasadena and Chaffey College. Karl embarked on this new adventure (setting his sights on purchasing a home in the French countryside with his wife, Maria) after retiring from a distinguished career in the military and law enforcement. After four years of active duty in the United States Marine Corps, during which he held several leadership positions and was awarded The Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device, he joined the Arcadia Police Department.
With his wealth of life experience, enthusiasm for all things French, and commitment to excellence, Karl has been a tremendous asset to our program and university. A caring, energetic student with a thirst for knowledge and new experiences, Karl loved sharing anecdotes from his travels to France and practical tips for learning French while motivating others to achieve their goals. During his French studies, and throughout his career, Karl continuously demonstrated his belief that the key to success is perseverance and the secret to happiness is pursuing your dreams while helping others. It is therefore no surprise that he has extended an open invitation for his classmates to visit the historic stone cottage in France that he and his wife have now lovingly restored. And a few adventurous spirits have already expressed their desire to take him up on his kind offer. Vive la France !
We are delighted to recognize him as this year’s Outstanding Undergraduate in French and offer him our warmest congratulations.
-Excerpt from Dr. Liz Martin's Recommendation Letter
Outstanding 2020 Undergraduate in French: Emily Sedgwick
Emily Sedgwick is a proud alumna of the CSU system, having received her M.A. in Philosophy from Cal State Long Beach and B.A. in Philosophy from San Diego State. Emily joined us as a post-baccalaureate French major in Fall 2016. While juggling part-time teaching positions in philosophy at area community colleges, she has maintained a 4.0 GPA since her arrival. In addition, Emily has very been active in promoting our B.A. and Minor in French and has volunteered her time and teaching expertise to assist our French students on numerous occasions, both in the classroom and as a French tutor in our Multimedia Language Center.
Clearly an exceptional addition to our French program, Emily is also a quintessential lifelong learner. It is not usual for her to take on ‘extracurricular’ projects for the sheer joy of learning, whether it be translating 19th century French poetry or exploring early French manuscripts relating to historical linguistics on Gallica, the digital collection of the National Library of France (Bibliothèque nationale de France, or BnF). She is highly inquisitive, independent, creative and always open to new ideas. With her boundless energy and imagination, she continues to positively influence her fellow classmates, encouraging them to achieve their goals while sharing her life experiences (including the joys of teaching philosophy and her 35-year career with the Chevron Corporation) and, most especially, her love for everything French.
Emily wonderfully embodies the mission and ideals of the California State University as and richly deserves this recognition.
- Dr. Martin
- Melissa Dickerson