French Program

The French Program offers a wide selection of undergraduate and graduate courses in French language, literature and culture as well as providing the following degree options: Master of Arts in French, Bachelor of Arts in French (major) and a minor in French.

The French program offers a challenging and enriching experience for those who are interested not only in the French language but also in French and Francophone culture and society. French is one of the very few languages spoken all over the world, ranked the sixth most widely spoken language after Mandarin Chinese, English, Hindi, Spanish and Arabic.  Today, more than 220 million people speak French throughout the world: roughly 51% live in Africa and the Middle East, 40% live in Europe, 8% in the Americas, and 1% in Asia/Oceania.  As a result of population growth there will be more than 700 million French Speakers by 2050, 80% of whom will be living in Africa. The French Program is excited to offer an an avenue to engage with this expanding and diverse Francophone cultural and linguistic world.

We offer full-fledged Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts programs and focus on developing proficiency in the language in a sociocultural context by offering a variety of courses and by conducting courses in culture and literature in French. Great importance is placed on participatory classes, which are small and practice-oriented, to help students adapt themselves to a changing world. Excellent computer facilities and a multimedia center provide support for our educational program.

SF State is located in San Francisco, a cosmopolitan city with a large and active French community, which makes it a great place to study French. Students are also given a number of opportunities to study in France. Through the California State University’s international programs, selected students may study at Aix-en-Provence and in Paris. Such opportunities give students practical experience in everyday French life and culture, helping to build and reinforce these skills.

If you are an undergraduate student and wonder which class to take, you can take a placement test and see an advisor. Please contact an advisor for further details.

Declare a Major/Minor in French

To declare a major or minor, complete a Declaration of Major/Minor form, then make an appointment to see the program advisor. Bring a copy of your most recent university transcript to the meeting.

Bonjour written in French

Program Contacts

Program Coordinator:
Blanca Missé, bmisse@sfsu.edu

Program Advisor:
Blanca Missé, bmisse@sfsu.edu 

The Bachelor of Arts in French is a 30 unit major consisting of courses in French language, literature, linguistics, and culture.  All upper-division courses are conducted in French, and students are expected to use French in their speaking, reading, and writing. A minimum of four semesters is required to complete the required and elective courses for the major. 

Advising

Students who have previously studied French should consult with a Faculty Advisor in the French Program for placement at the proper class level. You must also see a Faculty Advisor to determine the best sequence of courses for you. Students seeking to Major in French will meet with their Undergraduate Advisor and complete together a French Advising Worksheet, which will be updated each semester. Students are placed in a class on the basis of their academic background, an interview with the Faculty Advisor and the instructor of the class, and an on-line placement test. Lower division courses (100-200) listed for a major can be waived if the student has taken their equivalent or if sufficient knowledge and ability are demonstrated.

 

Placement Test

The Placement Test in French can be taken via iLearn-- please consult your advisor for further details. There are 45 questions in the online test:

  • A grade above 40 = Student should enroll in courses beyond the prerequisites.
  • A grade above 30 = Student should enroll in FR 216
  • A grade above 20 = Student should enroll in FR 215
  • A grade above 10 = Student should enroll in FR 102
  • A grade less than 10 = Student should enroll in FR 101

 

Lower-Division

Students who begin at SF State with no previous knowledge of French are expected to spend at least two semesters at the beginning level (100), and at least two semesters at the intermediate level (200) before enrolling in upper-division courses.

First year courses consist of two 5-unit semester courses, FR 101 and FR 102, taught in a sequence over two semesters. They meet five times a week, generally in the morning. The same textbook is used for both semesters. It is complemented by a Workbook, a video, and c.ds; extra material is available online. All classes are taught in French from the very beginning. A regular faculty member teaches the course three times a week, and a GTA teaches the other two days, under the supervision and coordination of the regular faculty member.

Second year courses consist of 3 semester units and meet two times a week during the day (8 a.m-4.pm.). We offer FR 215, Intermediate French I and FR 216, Intermediate French II.

 

Upper-Division

Upper-division courses, leading to a B.A. or a minor in French, consist of three units and meet two or three times a week during the day (8 a.m. - 4 p.m.). The French B.A. Program includes 30 semester units of core courses in French language, literature and culture.

French majors must take:

REQUIRED COURSES

I. Language (choose one)

  • MLL 325 Linguistics for Foreign Languages (3 units)
  • FR 301 French Phonetics (3 units)
  • FR 450 Translating Themes: English/French (3 units)
  • FR 304 Advanced Grammar (3 units)

II. Composition (choose one)

  • FR 305 French Composition (3 units)

III. Culture (choose one)

  • FR 400GW French Culture (3 units)
  • FR 410 Contemporary French Civilization (3 units)

IV. Literature (choose one)

  • FR 500 Introduction to Literary Texts (3 units)
  • FR 501 Contes et Poèmes (3 units)

CAPSTONE COURSES

Both FR 500 and FR 501 have been designated as the “capstone courses” in French, meaning that students must take at least one in residence at SF State. They cannot be replaced by study abroad coursework.

ELECTIVE COURSES

  • 18 units (6 courses) in French courses numbered 300-699 not taken as required courses. At least 9 units (3 courses) must be taken at the 400 level or above

NOTE: All upper-division courses are conducted in French, and students are expected to use French in their speaking, reading, and writing. It should take a minimum of four semester to complete the required and elective courses for the major (300-600 level; 30 units).

 

Sequence of Courses and Semesters Offered

At the lower division level, FR 101 and FR 102 are offered every semester; FR 215 is offered in the Fall and FR 216 in the Spring.

At the upper-division level, at least 2 of the 4 required courses will be offered in the Fall, and at least 2 of the 4 required courses will be offered in the Spring. Elective courses will be offered both in Fall and Spring semesters, their number may vary.

Lower division courses (Prerequisites for Major and Minor)

Fall

  • FR 101 - First Semester French (5 units)
  • FR 102 - Second Semester French (5 units)

Spring

  • FR 101 - First Semester French (5 units)
  • FR 102 - Second Semester French (5 units) †

Fall

  • FR 215 - Intermediate French part I

Spring

  • FR 216 - Intermediate French part II

 

International Program

Students can complete up to one half of the undergraduate major degree in France. The International Program of the California State University has its French campus in Aix-en-Provence. This program has been very successful and offers the students a closely guided course-of-study in a university town and in one of the most pleasant regions of France. Students can also participate in an exchange program with universities in Paris (MICEFA), also coordinated by the office of International Programs on campus. A maximum of 15 units may be counted towards the major, or 10 towards the minor, the exact composition of which shall be determined in close consultation with your academic advisor. Please see your French Program Advisor at SF State both before and after you return from abroad.

The French minor consists of up to 14 units of lower-division and from 9 to 15 units of upper-division coursework. Students must complete the lower-division sequence -- or the equivalent -- prior to beginning upper-division coursework in French language, literature, linguistics, and culture. The program may waive some or all lower-division requirements if the student demonstrates appropriate competency through advising, by taking the placement test, or by having taken the equivalent coursework elsewhere. All courses are conducted in French, and students are expected to use French in their speaking, reading and writing.

Advising

Students who have previously studied French should consult with a Faculty Advisor in the French Program for placement at the proper class level. You must also see a Faculty Advisor to determine the best sequence of courses for you. Students seeking to Minor in French will meet with their Faculty Advisor and complete together a French Advising Worksheet, which will be updated each semester. Students are placed in a class on the basis of their academic background, an interview with the Faculty Advisor, or instructor of the class, and/or an on-line placement test. Lower division courses (100-200) listed for a major can be waived if the student has taken their equivalent or if sufficient knowledge and ability are demonstrated.

 

Placement Test

The Placement Test in French can be taken via ilearn-- please consult your advisor for further details, or go to the MLL Multimedia Center (HUM 403) to gain access to the test. There are 45 questions in the online test:

  • A grade above 40 = Student should enroll in courses beyond the prerequisites.
  • A grade above 30 = Student should enroll in FR 216
  • A grade above 20 = Student should enroll in FR 215
  • A grade above 10 = Student should enroll in FR 102
  • A grade less than 10 = Student should enroll in FR 101

 

Course Requirements

All upper-division courses are conducted in French and students are expected to use French in their speaking, reading, and writing.

Students must complete the lower-division sequence, or the equivalent, prior to beginning upper-division coursework. The program may waive some or all lower-division requirements if the student demonstrates appropriate competency through advising, by taking the placement test, through AP examination, or through equivalent coursework taken elsewhere. Students must pass a minimum of 15 units to successfully complete the minor. A minimum of 9 upper-division units need to be taken in residence and cannot be transferred from study abroad, or another institution. All lower-division units can be transferred, as appropriate.

Students should meet with an advisor or take the placement test prior to enrolling in their first French class. To take the online placement test, email the French program coordinator.

Pathways:

  • Starting at FR 101, students will complete a 23-unit minor (FR 101, FR 102, FR 215, FR 216, FR 304 or FR 305, 3 upper-division elective units, and either FR 500 or FR 501).
  • Starting at FR 102, students will complete a 19-unit minor (FR 102, FR 215, FR 216, FR 304 or FR 305, 3 upper-division elective units, and either FR 500 or FR 501).
  • Starting at FR 215 level, students will complete a 15-unit minor (FR 215, FR 216, FR 304 or FR 305, 3 upper-division elective units, and either FR 500 or FR 501).
  • Starting at FR 216, students will complete a 15-unit minor (FR 216, FR 304 or FR 305, 6 upper-division elective units, and either FR 500 or FR 501).
  • Starting at 300-level, students will complete a 15-unit minor (FR 304 or FR 305, 9 upper-division elective units, and either FR 500 or FR 501).

Links to the pathways: R 101FR 102FR 215FR 216FR 304FR 305FR 500 or FR 501

 

Sequence of Courses and Semesters Offered

At the lower division level, FR 101 and FR 102 are offered every semester; FR 215 is offered in the Fall and FR 216 in the Spring.

At the upper-division level, at least 2 of the 4 required courses will be offered in the Fall, and at least 2 of the 4 required courses will be offered in the Spring. Elective courses will be offered both in Fall and Spring semesters, their number may vary.

Lower division courses (Prerequisites for Major and Minor)

Fall

  • FR 101 - First Semester French (5 units)
  • FR 102 - Second Semester French (5 units)

Spring

  • FR 101 - First Semester French (5 units)
  • FR 102 - Second Semester French (5 units) †

Fall

  • FR 215 - Intermediate French part I

Spring

  • FR 216 - Intermediate French part II

 

International Program

Students can do part of the undergraduate major degree in France. The International Program of the California State University has its French campus in Aix-en-Provence. This program has been very successful and offers the students a closely guided course-of-study in a university town and in one of the most pleasant regions of France. Students can also participate in an exchange program with universities in Paris (MICEFA), also coordinated by the office of International Programs on campus. The number of credits earned abroad that may be counted towards the major is 15 (towards the minor is 10), and determined though consultation with the appropriate French Program advisor at San Francisco State University.

The M.A. Program in French at SF State requires the completion of 30 units of course work in French Literature, culture or language, and offers two different culminating experience options: Master's Comprehensive Written and Oral Examinations, or a Master's Thesis and Master's Comprehensive Oral Examination.

Option I

30 units of coursework and Comprehensive Written and Oral Examinations.

 

Option II

27 units of coursework and FR 898 Master’s Thesis (3 units), plus a Master’s Comprehensive Oral Examination.

Students must take a minimum of 15 units of graduate courses in French.

For the remaining courses, they have the choice of 6 units of graduate / paired courses in French, and 9 or 6 units (according to the option) of graduate /paired / undergraduate courses in French, or related subjects. For instance, students interested in the teaching profession can take two courses in related subjects from the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures: Curriculum and Instruction I and II, e.g. 6 units of graduate course work towards the completion of their degree.

 

Transfer of units and cross-registration:

You may transfer up to 12 units taken as an Unclassified Graduate Student at SF State, subject to approval of the graduate adviser.

If you cannot find courses to meet your interests or time schedule in our program, you may take up to 3 units per semester through cross-registration at other universities, in particular U.C. Berkeley, subject to approval by the graduate advisor.

You may transfer up to 6 post-baccalaureate units you took at another university, subject to approval by the graduate advisor in French and the graduate division of SF State, as long as these units were not counted towards another diploma.

 

Level I and Level II English requirement

All graduate students at SF State must complete Level I and Level II writing English requirements. The level I requirement is met when applying to the French M.A. program, by giving to the French Program a statement of purpose in English (500 words) along side the same or a similar statement written in French.

The level II writing requirement needs to be met while in the graduate program. It can be met in the following ways:

 

Option I:

by submitting for evaluation to the French faculty either a 15-20 page essay written in English for a graduate class (program other that the French Program), or the English translation of a 15-20 page essay written in French for a graduate class from the French Program, unless the French instructor of that class accepts to receive an essay written in English.

Option II:

students writing a thesis must write a 15-page summary of their thesis in English, if they do not choose option I. This summary will be submitted for evaluation to the French faculty.

In order to fulfill this requirement successfully, discuss how to be best prepared for it with the graduate advisor early in the course of your graduate studies, especially if English is not your first language or if you have deficiencies in writing.

For more information on the M.A. Program in French requirements and option, consult the following documents:

 

Check list for French M.A. Students (found on the French Resources page)

French M.A advising worksheet

Guidelines Thesis – French (found on the French Resources page)

Reading List – French M.A.

 

The M.A. Program in French - Course Descriptions

Here is a sample of French M.A. courses taught in the past 3 years:

  • L’Amour et la Guerre au Moyen Age
  • Les Femmes du Moyen Age à la Renaissance
  • Le Corps à la Renaissance
  • Le Conte de Fées du 17e siècle
  • Le Spectacle du Moyen Age au 17e siècle
  • Le Merveilleux du Moyen Age au 17e siècle
  • Le Théâtre du 17e et 18e siècle
  • Les Philosophes (18e siècle)
  • Les Deux Sexes du Roman (18e siècle)
  • Le Roman du 19e siècle
  • Paris: Capitale du 19e siècle
  • Monstres du 19e siècle
  • Théâtre et poésie romantique
  • Art et Poésie 1860-1940
  • Le Roman du 20e siècle
  • Humour, Arts et Littérature (20e siècle)
  • La Francophonie (20e siècle)

Exhaustive on-line French M.A. course titles and descriptions are available in the University Bulletin.

 

International Program

Students can do part of the M.A. degree in France. They can participate in an exchange program with universities in Paris (MICEFA), coordinated by the office of International Programs on campus. The number of credits earned abroad that may be counted towards the M.A. is determined though consultation with the Graduate French Program advisor at San Francisco State University.

In addition to the aforementioned requirements, students are advised to do the following:

Seek Graduate Advising Every Semester

Students should plan their courses in consultation with the graduate advisor and fill out the “Advising Worksheet - M.A. student in French” every semester. Pay attention to the type of courses and number of units needed to graduate and cross-registration regulations if you want to take courses in universities such as U.C. Berkeley or other universities from the CSU system. Send an electronic copy to your advisor to keep him/her informed of the courses taken.

If you are conditionally admitted to the program, seek the advisor for “Advancement to Classified Graduate Standing” when you complete the courses specified as preconditions (Such course work may NOT be used to meet degree requirement).

Begin studying early the document containing the “Reading List” of the French M.A. Program and the description of the culminating experience requirements (option I or option II). It is a good idea to begin preparing your reading list for the oral exam early on. It is also a good idea to start reflecting on your preferences concerning the culminating experience requirements. Check also the document: “Guidelines Thesis – French”.

Fulfill the Second Level English Proficiency Requirement

All graduate students must complete Level I and Level II writing English requirements. The level I requirement is met when applying to the graduate program, by giving to the French Program a statement of purpose in English (500 words) along side the same statement written in French.

The level II writing requirement needs to be met while in the graduate program. It can be met in the following ways:

Choice I: by submitting for evaluation to the French faculty either a 15-20 page essay written in English for a graduate class (program other than the French Program), or the English translation of a 15-20 page essay written in French for a graduate class from the French Program, unless the French instructor of that class accepts to receive an essay written in English.

Choice II: all students writing a thesis must write a 500/700 word or 2-3 page summary of their thesis in English. An extended version of this summary in English (15 pages) or a 15 page translation of part of the thesis can be submitted for evaluation to the French faculty. In order to fulfill this requirement successfully, discuss how to be best prepared for it with the graduate advisor early in the course of your graduate studies, especially if English is not your first language or if you have deficiencies in writing.

A Semester Before the Semester you Expect to Graduate

You will need to fill out and turn in two forms at the beginning of that semester, typically before the third week of instruction:

  1. The "ATC" (Advancement to Candidacy), and
  2. The “Culminating Experience”

Check the deadlines on the website.

You will thus have to choose your option for the culminating experience (option I or II) by that date. At the same time, decide also how to fulfill the second level English requirement (15-20 page essay written in English or 15 page summary of the thesis written in English).

Make an appointment with the graduate advisor to discuss your ATC - it is a good idea to make a first draft of it, and discuss your choice for the « culminating Experience » requirement: you can either take a written and oral Comprehensive examination (Option I), or an oral Comprehensive examination and write a thesis (Option II). In the second case, you need to choose a topic and a title for the thesis, you also need to choose a thesis committee.

When you are ready, fill out the “ATC” form online Option I or Option II. You will find all necessary forms at the Division of Graduate Studies website. Print it out and have it approved and signed by the graduate advisor. The ATC should show at least 6 units yet to be completed for the degree. If you are making any substitutions for the program requirements stated in the Bulletin, file a petition for ATC substitution along with the ATC.

Fill out also the form “Proposal for culminating Experience” online: either Comprehensive examination (Option I) or 898 Thesis without animal human subject (Option II). On this form, you will write a paragraph summary of your project, give the title of the thesis and list the members of your committee. Any change made later in the title chosen or the composition of the committee will require to fill a new form indicating these changes. As a general rule, any change in the content of a form submitted to Graduates Studies will require submission of a new form. Print it out and have it approved and signed by the Graduate adviser and the members of your committee. 3 Both forms will be signed by the Chair of the Modern Languages Department and sent together to Graduate Studies by the Foreign Languages Department.

If you choose the thesis, read carefully the document prepared by the French Program: “Guidelines Thesis – French”. Check the format of the thesis and the administrative requirements at the Division of Graduate Studies website. You will have to present your thesis prospectus to your committee for discussion some time during that semester (one hour). You will also have to take your oral exam at the end of that semester (one hour).

The Semester You Expect to Graduate

Fill out online the form “Application for Award of Degree” on the Financial Aid website typically before the third week of instruction of the term you expect to graduate. Check the deadline.

Complete the Culminating Experience Requirements chosen to obtain your French M.A. (OPTION I or OPTION II).

If you chose OPTION I (written and oral exams), you will need to select a date with the graduate advisor towards the end of the semester for taking the written exam (4 hours). The oral exam (1 hour) is typically set two weeks after the written exam. During that semester, meet with the graduate adviser to discuss how to be best prepared for the written and oral exams.

If you chose OPTION II (thesis), you should enroll in FR 898 and write your thesis during that semester. Be careful about the calendar you set for yourself in order to submit the final approved copy of your thesis in time to Graduate Studies (check the deadline).

When your Culminating Experience Requirements are completed, obtain the Graduate Advisor’s signature on the form “Report of Completion of Specified Graduate Program Requirements” (not available on line) and file it with the Modern Language Department Office (which submits the report to Graduate Studies).