Bachelor of Arts in French

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in French at Shippensburg University prepares students in interpersonal communication, interpretive listening, interpretive reading, oral and written presentations in French. Students also study the culture and literature of French-speaking countries including their products, practices and perspectives. Our world languages curriculum strengthens critical thinking skills and global and intercultural awareness. The BA in French with Secondary Certification prepares graduates to teach French in secondary schools.

A minor in French helps students develop cross-cultural competency, along with an ability to communicate in French to the proficiency level of Intermediate Mid (at a minimum), following the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. This is an important component of education for students who choose careers in such fields as services (health, international organizations, volunteering); industry (import/export, marketing and advertising, overseas investments); and government (foreign service, department of state, FBI, CIA, homeland security).

A minor in French Cultural Studies, while also improving linguistic abilities, will center mostly on the cultural aspects of the French-speaking countries, in order to increase sensitivity when dealing with people of diverse backgrounds and will help students avoid cross-cultural misunderstandings and conflicts. This minor will also be an asset for the careers previously mentioned. Students will develop a French language proficiency level of Intermediate Low-Mid.

Why Study French at Ship?

The French program at Shippensburg University offers a chance to learn how to interact with more sensitivity and insight in multicultural contexts throughout the French-speaking world.

The Department of Global Languages has a thirty-five-position computerized multimedia audio-video language-learning center for both classroom sessions and individual work. Some of the computers are equipped with Webcams and Skype to facilitate live interactions with native speakers. Practicing in a multimedia center accelerates students' learning process and transforms the most tedious aspects of language learning into an enjoyable experience. Both the department and Ezra Lehman Library maintain an excellent collection of books, magazines, maps, and DVDs on the language, literature, and culture of foreign countries.

Any student may take foreign language courses. Students majoring in International Management must take a series of intermediate or advanced courses in their chosen language. Students majoring in International Education must take 9 credits of the language of their choice at the intermediate or advanced levels. French complements two areas of specialization for this major, Europe and Africa. Language and foreign study enhance the ability to function effectively in other countries. Many students find that proficiency in a foreign language is very useful in today's highly competitive job market.

Career Opportunities

Learning the French language helps students communicate more effectively, which provides many opportunities in a diverse job market. For example:

  • There are over 200 million French speakers around the world, with French being their first or second language.
  • French is spoken by our neighbors to the north in Quebec and by several neighbors to the south in the Caribbean islands (Haiti, Martinique, Guadeloupe among others) and in South America (French Guiana).
  • In North Africa and in Sub-Saharan Africa, French is the language of choice in many countries.
  • In addition to France, the following European countries have French as one of their official languages: Belgium, Switzerland, Luxemburg and Andorra.
  • French is spoken in several Pacific islands.
  • Many of these countries are business partners with Pennsylvania and the United States.
  • France is among the leaders of humanitarian efforts. The French organization Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1999.
  • French, along with English, is the working language of the United Nations, UNESCO, NATO, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Labor Bureau, the International Olympic Committee, the thirty-one-member Council of Europe, the European Community, the International Red Cross, and the Union of International Associations (UIA).
  • French is the dominant language at the European Court of Justice, the European Tribunal of First Instance, and the Press Room at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium.

French Cultural Studies enables students to learn about the relationship between American culture and the cultures of French-speaking countries:

  • France and the U.S. have been allied for centuries and their histories are interwoven. Learning French civilization will shed a unique light onto your own country's history.
  • The U.S. has political interests in many countries where French is spoken.
  • French is an official language in Louisiana, and two million people in other American states such as Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont use French.
  • French is the language of many immigrants from the countries mentioned above.
  • France's contribution to the world of arts, literature, philosophy, and sciences has been tremendous and has impacted numerous American scientists, intellectuals and artists alike.
  • French-speaking countries are contributing members to the global culture and development.
  • France remains a leader in the production of luxury goods and is one of the pillars of the fashion world.

The average salary for jobs requiring French language skills in Pennsylvania is $48,000.

Major and Minor Requirements

High school students who wish to study the language should take every opportunity to practice speaking and writing French. Some language resources include:

  • Foreign language broadcasting
  • Newspapers
  • Music
  • Contact with exchange students and others who speak French

One of the student learning outcomes Shippensburg's French language program strives to achieve is oral proficiency. The more at ease a student becomes with speaking the language, the better they will do in our courses.

French majors and minors complete courses in conversation, writing, grammar, phonetics, culture, and literature. All courses are designed following the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) National Standards and they are conducted in French.

To earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in French, you must complete 36 credits of French courses. If you wish to obtain Secondary Certification, you will need to complete an additional 30 credits of Professional Education courses. All courses required of the French major are taught in French. Professional Educations courses offered by other departments are taught in English.

To earn a minor in French, you'll need to complete 18 credits of French courses. If you're interested in earning a French Cultural Studies minor, you'll need to complete 21 credits of French courses.

Students may also earn a French Letter of Completion by completing four courses from the major or earn a French Translation Specialization Letter of Completion by completing 12 credits in French and 18 credits in a subject area of specialty.

See the undergraduate catalog for specific course requirements, or speak to a faculty advisor in the Global Languages Department.

Shippensburg French majors have had internships in social service agencies, museums, businesses, community organizations, and government.

Students who wish to study abroad will find that there are many opportunities available. French majors are especially encouraged to study at least one semester in a French-speaking country. Study abroad is highly encouraged but not required for the minor.

Student Groups

There are several organizations that directly involve modern languages majors, minors, and interested students. The French/francophone Club invites all students to participate in a variety of activities, such as foreign language films and field trips. The French Honorary Society recognizes and honors students who have attained outstanding academic achievement. The Global Languages Department provides a multilingual web page that features student production.

Contact the Department of Global Languages

Global Languages
109 Rowland Hall, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1635