French Undergraduate Minor

About the French Minor

Learn one of the world's most widely spoken languages.

More than 220 million people worldwide speak French, the official language of nearly 30 countries. Learn to speak, understand, read and write French - and learn about France, its history and culture - with a minor in French from PennWest California.

The 18-credit minor includes four semesters of language learning, plus two culture and civilization courses that are taught in English. Coursework is taught both on campus and online, and student tutoring is available seven days a week. PennWest California faculty are accessible to students, who are encouraged to use mobile apps to reinforce their language skills.

Enhance your PennWest California degree by learning a second language.

The French minor can be combined with any major program of study or used to satisfy the language requirement of PennWest California's international studies program.

The French program encourages students to think globally and explore French history and culture. A second language may be especially valuable for students considering careers in:

  • Banking and international finance.
  • Business, industry and e-commerce.
  • Government and military service.
  • Import/export and international trade.
  • Nonprofit organizations and agencies.
  • Translation/interpretation.
  • Travel and tourism.


International language: Spoken on every continent, French is the national language of countries in western Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and one of six official languages of the United Nations. Because it is a global language, French is especially useful in career fields such as international business, diplomacy, humanitarian outreach, homeland security and military affairs.

Active learning: This dynamic program gives PennWest California students access to native French speakers and opportunities to practice reading, writing, oral comprehension and speaking skills. Students can join Alpha Mu Gamma, the language honor society, or put their language skills into practice with internships, study abroad opportunities and faculty-led tours. Field experiences may include visits to French restaurants or the Pittsburgh Opera.

Francophone Africa: A new online course, Francophone Africa, focuses on Africa's French-speaking regions from a literary, socio-political and artistic perspective. Students study representative works illustrating African traditions and identity. They also look closely at French colonization in Africa and the transition from pre- to post-independence.

Learn about applying

Projected increase in demand for bilingual professionals by 2018. SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Percentage of world exports from French-speaking countries, creating a substantial job market for French speakers.
Degree icon

Benefits of the Minor

Knowing the fundamentals of a foreign language opens doors to careers in international business, and with governmental and non-governmental organizations that operate outside the English-speaking world. Agencies such as the Peace Corps, Doctors Without Borders, the World Trade Organization and many others may look favorably on job candidates who are proficient in French. Military service members who are studying Arabic often add French as a second language, since it is widely spoken in the Middle East. International students from nations such as Canada and Haiti may study the language to reinforce their existing skills in French.

Cap icon.

Graduate Outcomes

The French program helps students meet certain language requirements when applying to graduate schools. It also enhances career opportunities. For example, Krista DiTomasso Loper '10 was hired immediately after graduation by Industrial Scientific, based in Oakdale, Pa., as a customer service representative for the firm's European customers. She was later promoted and has taken part in the company's leadership training.

French Minor in French
A chemistry professor helps a student with a project.


The ability to speak and understand French can facilitate travel or study abroad - and there is no better way to become fluent than to spend time in a setting where French is the day-to-day language. PennWest California's Office of International Programming helps you find study abroad or faculty-led travel experiences that suit your schedule, fit your budget and let you explore your passion.

A student posing in Paris for a photo.

Language proficiency

Learning a second language offers personal and professional benefits that can last a lifetime. Students in PennWest California's French program learn to communicate based on the guidelines established by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages for speaking, reading, listening, writing and cultural proficiency.

French Courses

Course Credits
Required Courses 12
FRE 101  Elementary French I 3
FRE 102  Elementary French II 3
FRE 203  Intermediate French I 3
FRE 204  Intermediate French II 3
(Select 6 credits from the following)
FRE 341  The 17th Century and the Classical Age 3
FRE 343  The Age of Romanticism: From the Napoleonic Empire to the Revolution of 1848 3
FRE 344  The Age of French Realism: The Second Empire to the Aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War 3
FRE 345  The Birth of the Modern French Culture in Arts: The 1990s - WWII 3
FRE 346  Contemporary French Culture in the Arts Since World War II 3
FRE 347  Francophone Africa 3
FRE 348  Francophone Canada 3
Total 18

View full course sequence