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.
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-- from French 101 to French 514 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 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 or if you've had bad experiences in the past studying other languages, try studying French. Our faculty will show you how rewarding language learning can be!
Thinking about a French Minor or Major?
Bravo! Upper division courses (numbered 300 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 Advanced Conversation, Advanced Composition and Translation, you can also learn about film, history, women's issues and other content areas. Majors choose between tracks in Business, Civilization and Literature. Some courses are offered online throught the French Consortium-- giving you the opportunity to work with talented faculty from four other CSU campuses. Worried about graduating on time? We promise to offer all of the upper-division classes you need every two years, so you can plan ahead with confidence.
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 and others. CSUSB alumni who have gone on to graduate school have reported that their French coursework was a valuable preparation for the rigors of graduate studies.
What are the Assessment Courses?
There are two assessment courses included in the curriculum. The first, French 295: Intermediate Assessmentconsists of a battery of tests in reading, writing, speaking, listening and culture that help you to determine your strong and weak areas. The course will also advise you as to requirements for the certificate, minor and major, as well as career possibilities, study abroad opportunities, and other resourses for French study. You will also learn about the required performance levels for French 496 and French 500 so that you can begin to collect materials for your Senior Portfolio. Most students take this course at the end of their second-year of college French (i.e. French 202 or French 250). Transfer students should try to take this course as soon as possible.
The French 496: Senior Assessment helps to determine the progress you've made during your French studies. There is another battery of tests, as well as a Senior Portfolio that documents your abilities. Because teachers must achieve the Advanced Level in all 5 skills, the French 500: Advanced Performance Assessment course is required for those students who wish to avoid taking the C-SET (formerly, PRAXIS) examination in order to enter a teacher credential program.
Degree Requirements and Road-maps
Please click on the appropriate degree road map to view. Please note that they are in PDF format.
Where do I start?
Take a French Placement Exam to find out. Contact the Multimedia Language Center to make an appointment. Check out the Placement Exams section for more details.
Study/Work Abroad Program
Thinking about studying in France?
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, as well as programs that only last a few weeks. 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.
WLL can also arrange independent study and course credit for students participating in the ESA Program in Paris. Scholarships are available.
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 International Institute 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); “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), “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 30 students have studied French through IP.
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,
Check out the Study Abroad section in Student Resources for more opportunities.