May 22, 2024  
Undergraduate Catalog 2023 - 2024 
Undergraduate Catalog 2023 - 2024

French, B.A.

This program is not accepting new admits as of the Summer 24 semester.


The study of French and Francophone language, literature, culture, cinema, linguistics and intercultural competence. In addition to reading, speaking and writing proficiency in the language, the French major offers students knowledge of great works of literature, philosophy, history, film and popular culture from the French speaking world. French is an analytical language which structures thought and develops critical thinking for graduate school and the job market. Spoken by more than 200 million people on the five continents, French is the second most widely learned foreign language after English. Due to the economic growth of Africa, where the largest percentage of French speakers reside and the importance of Canada (officially bilingual) as a major trading partner to the U.S., French is projected to become one of the most significant global languages.

What careers can this major prepare you for?

Students with a French degree are well prepared to go on a variety of Masters and PhD programs for careers in education, business, communications, medicine, hospitality/recreation, government, law and social service. The following is a list of career paths that French majors across the country can pursue: Teacher, Community College/University Professor, Librarian, Research Assistant, College Admissions Officer, University Grant Writer, Business/Customer Service Manager, Bilingual Technical Support Specialist, Insurance Consultant, Analyst for International Financial Firm, Marketing/Sales/Representative for International Company, Assistant News Analyst, Technical Writer, News Anchor/Reporter, Film & Video/Book Editor, Translator/Interpreter, Editorial Assistant for Book Publisher, Intelligence Officer, Program Assistant for U.S Supreme Court, Public Health Data Analyst, International Trade Specialist, Peace Corps, Tour guide/Consultant, Guest Services Agent for large Hotel chain, Public Relations for French restaurant, Marketing Assistant for National Sports League.

What skills are developed within this major?

French majors acquire valuable transferrable skills that they can apply in their future studies and careers: Intercultural competence (a set of cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills and characteristics that support effective and appropriate interaction in a variety of cultural contexts), verbal communication skills (oral presentations), written communication skills (papers, exams), information literacy, critical thinking and analytic reasoning, being detail-oriented (accuracy in oral and written language proficiency), knowledge of global issues (culture, politics, literature, cinema and current societal issues).


A student who has completed French course work in high school or at another institution and who wishes to continue the study of that language must begin course work for credit at the level consistent with her or his academic background. A placement test is required for all students with less than three years of high school French or the equivalent. Students who have had three or more years of previous study must consult with an adviser in the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures to determine the appropriate level. As a general guideline, students who read and write French fluently must begin course work for credit at the 300-level or higher. Students considering a major in French must consult with an adviser in the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures concerning projected plans of study.

Retroactive Credit

Students are eligible to earn up to 15 retroactive credits for previous knowledge of French. This policy is for students who have completed a foreign-language skills course and who earned a B- or better in that course. For example, if your first French skills course is FRN 102  and you receive an A or B, you can receive credit for FRN 101 . Consult the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures 216-687-4646 for further information.

Credit by Examination

Students who successfully complete the Advanced Placement language examinations may be eligible for credit. For further information, refer to the External Test Credits section of the Registrar’s Office website:

Note that only courses at the 200-level and above may count toward a French major or minor. A minimum grade of C is required for all courses applied to the major. See major and minor requirements below.

Admission to Major

Completion of FRN 102  or equivalent

Hours Required for Degree

Minimum hours required for degree: 120

Minimum hours required for major: 35

College Requirements

See college page  for college requirements.

Major-Field Requirements

Students seeking a major in French must complete 35 credit hours in French above the 100 level, distributed as follows:

b. Literature (1 course)

One of the following:

Transfer Students

Transfer students must complete at least 18 credit hours of the 35 required for the major while a student at Cleveland State University in order to earn a degree.

Major Credit

Up to 7 credit hours of relevant coursework in English, practicum in language, independent study, literature in translation, or credit by examination may count toward the major with the approval of the French advisor.

No grade below C in a major course may count toward the major.

Study Abroad

Majors and minors are encouraged to take advantage of Cleveland State University’s exchange programs in Clermont-Ferrand and Rouen; and/or a summer study trip to France. Normally up to 17 semester hours of study abroad may count toward the major requirements (additional credit may count toward the total hours needed for graduation). Majors should seek departmental approval of foreign study plans before departure, and must complete at least two 300- and/or 400-level courses in their major area after return from study abroad.

For further information regarding the possibility of foreign study and summer programs available through the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, contact the department office at  216-687-4646.

Teacher Licensure

Students preparing to teach will fulfill the requirements for the B.A. in French and the licensure sequence in the College of Public Affairs and Education for the Education, Foreign Language, Grades PreK to 12 (French or Spanish), with Multi-age Licensure.

Students seeking a B.A. in French with teaching licensure must, in fulfilling the major requirements, take FRN 315 - French Phonetics and Diction .

The PreK-12 licensure sequence includes courses in elementary and secondary foreign-language methods. Students will need to follow the sequence as described in the College of Public Affairs and Education section. Contact the CSUteach Program for education courses required for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate secondary Teacher Licensure Programs (216-687-4625, JH 170). See also Education, Foreign Language, Grades PreK to 12 (French or Spanish), with Multi-age Licensure .

Before admission to student teaching, students must take the Ohio Assessment for Educators (OAE), demonstrate oral and writing proficiency at the ACTFL “Advanced-Low” level through official Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and Writing Proficiency Test (WPT), both administered by ACTFL. Students will need to have their skill level assessed as early as possible in the program and then work with their advisers to plan study experiences that provide appropriate opportunities for improvement. Foreign Language methods courses must be completed during the semester preceding student teaching.

Honors Program/University Scholars Requirements

The following requirements apply to students accepted into the University Honors College who are earning a B.A. degree in French or Spanish:


Honors/Scholars students will be required to take a course on methodology or critical theory. Spanish students should enroll in the Spanish research methods courses, SPN 493 . French students should take one of the following: ENG 360 - Studies in Literary Criticism , ENG 363 - Gender Issues in Literature , ENG 382 - Canonicity , HIS 601 Methods of Historical Research, HIS 695 Research Seminar in American, European, or Social History, or SPN 493  Spanish Research Methods. A similar course may be substituted for those listed above with permission of the Honors/Scholars advisor in the department. It is recommended that students enroll in this course in their junior year if possible, to prepare them for the research they will conduct during their senior year.


Honors/Scholars students will take two 300 or 400 level content courses in their major as “contract honors courses.” These may be required or elective courses such as special topics courses taught in the language, and can include course taught as part of a study abroad program. Contract courses involve contracting with the instructor to do additional work (on a term paper, for example) that demonstrates a more in depth, rigorous, and analytical approach to the topic, similar to what is expected at the graduate level. Language skills classes (301, 302 or 402) are exempted.


Honors/Scholars students will complete a 3 credit independent study honors project. The project will result in a well researched and well written paper that shows critical thinking and application of critical methods. In addition to the written paper, Honors/Scholars students will be required to make an oral presentation of their project to a group of faculty and students. Students will be expected to submit an initial proposal to their advisor at the end of their junior year. Once the proposal is approved, they should begin researching their project. A completed project is due at the end of their final semester along with an oral presentation on the project. Projects may be researched as part of a study abroad program with permission of the department’s Honors/Scholars advisor.


We expect Honors/Scholars students to serve as positive role models and mentors, and to demonstrate leadership qualities that set them apart from most regular students. To that end, Honors/Scholars students will be required to complete two credits of service learning or community involvement activities that relate to their major language. These activities can take place on campus, in the community or as part of a study abroad program. Students will contract with their advisor for the type and number of activities to fulfill this requirement, along with an appropriate assessment mechanism (i.e. keeping a log or journal of activities, writing a final summary paper). Acceptable activities include (but are not limited to):

  • Tutoring lower-level language students
  • Participating in student language clubs in a leadership capacity
  • Volunteering to help with language-related activities such as lecture or film series, or a conference
  • Organize activities such as a field trip to a museum, art gallery, concert, film, local ethnic restaurant, etc.


With the addition of the methods/criticism course and service learning component, Honors/Scholars students will be expected to earn 5 credits above the required 35 credits for the major. The Senior Honors project will count as elective credit that is part of the 35 credits required for the major.