Gain a new perspective through language and culture.

At Mercyhurst, we believe in helping our students build skills in communication, critical thinking, and navigating cultural diversity, which is exactly what a French or French Education major will do. While mastering your command of a language spoken by more than 270 million people on four continents, you’ll build expertise in French literature, culture and society while experiencing the world from a different point of view. The French Education major prepares students to be language teachers in K-12 classrooms by combining these skills with the coursework necessary to earn a teaching certificate in Pennsylvania. As the only university to certify French Education students in the Erie region, our graduates are sought-after by school districts nationwide.

Language education majors may also add a certification in English as a Second Language to their program, to enhance their employment options, with only three additional courses.

Fast Facts

  • Studying a foreign language is excellent preparation for careers in many different fields, such as business, education, government or international relations, as well as graduate school.

  • We strongly encourage our French majors to study abroad, whether it is through our own university or one of the programs affiliated with Mercyhurst. The Vivetta G. Petronio Memorial Scholarship is available to help with the costs; more information can be found below.

  • One of our highest honors is induction into Phi Sigma Iota, the international honors society for the study of foreign languages and cultures. Students are nominated in their junior or senior year and inducted at an annual spring dinner.

  • The Bachelor of Arts in French pairs well with many other degree programs for a double major.

Learning Outcomes

  • Speak and understand French at the Intermediate High level or better as detailed in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.

  • Read and write in French at the Intermediate High level or better as detailed in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.
  • Demonstrate cultural proficiency in cultures that use French.
  • Discuss in both spoken and written French literary and visual texts or cultural artifacts of the target culture.
  • Conduct and produce research in French.
  • Demonstrate understanding of second-language acquisition and the history of foreign-language pedagogy (education majors only).
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply understanding in practice teaching situations and to analyze and critique the teaching of others (education majors only).

Course Spotlight

FREN 135: African and Caribbean Literature
This course presents in English translation a survey of literature from the French-speaking regions of the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa. We will be examining these works in their social and/or historical context, gain insight into the cultural heritage and artistic values of these regions, and gain an appreciation of the considerable and dynamic contributions of Africa and the Caribbean to literature in French and to global literature as a whole.

FREN 230: French for Business
In this course students will master the vocabulary necessary for business and commercial contexts (interviews, meetings, phone calls) and will develop the skills to understand and compose business documents in French (résumé/CVs, business letters and emails, etc.). In addition, students will gain an appreciation of the culture of business in the French-speaking world.

FREN 315: French Cinema
This course focuses on the rich cultural heritage of the “Seventh Art” in France, from the invention of cinema by the Lumière brothers in the 19th century to the work of directors of the 21st century, and discussing the historical periods and artistic movements that have influenced French film.

study abroad


Mercyhurst World Language students apply their global competencies and language skills first-hand through study abroad. Our students have traveled throughout South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East as they make meaningful, lasting connections and experience the unique music, food, sights, and cultural traditions in their countries of study.



Mercyhurst participates in the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant program for Russian, Arabic, and Mandarin. Each year, this program brings young professionals to the U.S. to share their linguistic and cultural expertise by teaching courses, offering conversation groups, and enriching our students' understanding of their area of study.

honor society


Phi Sigma Iota is an international honor society for the study of foreign languages and cultures, and is one of the highest honors one can achieve in the field. Language majors and minors are nominated in their junior or senior year based on their GPA, a faculty recommendation, and completion of a 300-level language course (or equivalent).

Contact Us

Alice Edwards, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of World Languages and Cultures
Office: Preston 206
Phone: 814-824-2548