French & Francophone Studies
The French program offers a major and minor. Students combine their study of French with a wide range of other majors and minors across the University, including Francophone studies, and may pursue teacher certification in conjunction with the Department of Education. Our students benefit from small classes and interdisciplinary courses which enhance the learning experience. Beyond promoting linguistic and cultural competency, our program also aims to provide students with experiential knowledge of the language and cultures throughout the Francophone world.
Why Study French at Saint Joseph's?
Widely spoken in more than forty countries on five continents as the official language, a co-official language or as an administrative or commercial language, French is one of the principal languages of diplomacy and is a main working language of organizations including the United Nations, UNESCO, the International Monetary Fund, the World Health Organization, the International Olympic Committee and the International Red Cross. Studying French opens many doors both personally and professionally. In addition, Philadelphia is a great place to study French and has many professional opportunities.
- The city bears a decided French influence. City Hall is built in the French Second Empire architectural style and calls to mind Paris’s Hôtel de Ville. The Rodin Museum holds the largest collection of Rodin’s works outside of Paris. The Barnes Foundation possesses an astonishing collection of Impressionist art. A large collection of French art can be found at the Philadelphia Museum of Art as well.
- Food lovers can dine in outstanding restaurants, including Beau Monde Crêperie, Parc, Caribou Café, and Bistrot a Minette. There are also French bakeries close to Saint Joseph's, including Délice et Chocolat and Le Petit Mitron.
- Opportunities to hear and speak French abound. There is a diverse Francophone population in Philadelphia, connected by organizations such as Philadelphie Accueil and the Centre Francophone de Philadelphie.
- Philadelphia’s location permits access to a plethora of cultural activities. New York is a mere 82 miles away, and Washington, D.C. is 126 miles to the south. Montreal can be reached by car in approximately seven hours.
- Air France, the Sofitel hotel, Sanofi-Aventis, bioMérieux, and Aldivia are just a few of the region’s employers hiring Francophones and Francophiles. There are also many positions in education.
- The French-American Chamber of Commerce of Philadelphia supports French businesses, entrepreneurs, and professionals in the area.
Pi Delta Phi
The department has an active chapter of Pi Delta Phi, the National French Honor Society. A yearly initiation ceremony is held during the spring semester. Qualified students are encouraged to apply; please contact Kristin Burr, Ph.D. for additional information.
Le Cercle Français
Le Cercle Français is the French club at Saint Joseph’s University. We welcome all in the community interested in the cultures of French-speaking countries and organize a variety of activities, such as:
- La Table Française, which offers the opportunity to speak French in a casual setting while enjoying good food. No matter what your level — from beginner to advanced — La Table Française is a great place to practice informal conversation on all sorts of topics.
- Film viewings, both on campus and in area theaters. Some of the films are classics; others are recent releases from France, Canada and other Francophone countries.
- Local excursions to French restaurants, theater performances, off-campus talks, and area museums including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum, and the Barnes Foundation.
- Cultural events on campus, such as game night, crêpe making or discussions of French shows like Lupin.
The best ideas for events and excursions come from the Cercle’s members, and each year’s activities reflect the interests of participants. We’d love to have you join us! For more information, please contact Kristin Burr, Ph.D.
We strongly encourage our students to take advantage of study abroad opportunities in French-speaking countries. Study abroad programs will hone your French skills and increase your confidence in speaking. You’ll return with a new appreciation for different cultures as well as memories that last a lifetime.
We currently have two approved programs in Paris, France: the IES Paris French Studies program and the IES Paris Business and International Affairs program. Students may also petition to study elsewhere in France or other Francophone countries. In the past, students have participated in programs including Tours, France; Aix-en-Provence, France; Dakar, Senegal and Casablanca, Morocco, among other locations.
Majoring or minoring in French helps you to think critically, read carefully and express yourself clearly in speech or in writing — all skills that are important for success in whichever occupation you decide to pursue.
Our graduates have followed diverse paths after earning a diploma at Saint Joseph’s. Some have continued their studies — from French to law to business — in graduate school. Many graduates have participated in service opportunities abroad before pursuing advanced degrees or beginning careers. Some majors and minors have taught in France for a year as recipients of a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship or an assistantship offered by the French government; others have worked with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and other volunteer organizations.
In the workforce, French majors and minors have pursued a variety of professions in fields including law, healthcare, business, education, linguistics and international relations. They hold a variety of roles at businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies and in academic settings.