Courses in French are designed to provide well-balanced training in language, literature and culture. Courses above the intermediate level offer opportunities for more intensive and advanced learning of the oral and written language as well as a wide choice of special study in various topics, periods and genres in French and Francophone literatures and cultures. Students thus acquire skills and knowledge which may be applied to any field requiring critical thinking and an analytical mind. Qualified students, whether or not they intend to major or minor in French, are welcome to apply to Dickinson's junior year programs in Toulouse or in Yaoundé, Cameroon. 

Courses appropriate for prospective majors

Test scores and credits that may affect course selection

Advanced Placement scores:
A student who has received a grade of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement test will be granted credit for college work and will receive placement in the appropriate French course as determined by their scores on the on-line placement test.

International Baccalaureate:
A student who completed the International Baccalaureate (IB) in French and who has received a score of 5 and above will be granted credit for college work and will receive placement in the appropriate French course as determined by their scores on the on-line placement test.

Students who place out are encouraged to continue with their study of French as a means to qualify for study abroad opportunities in the French-speaking world.

On-line placement test
The placement test for French is available on the orientation web site under Placement Exams. If a student has studied French and there is any chance that he/she might wish to continue with French, he/she needs to take the placement test, even if the student has AP credit. After the student has taken the test, he/she will receive email notification of the placement. Students who cannot take the test on-line by July 1 will need to contact Professor Linda Brindeau before Thursday, August 25, 2016.

Students who wish to take a course in the French Department and who have completed their course of study prior to Dickinson in a Francophone educational setting must register for courses at the 300 level. If you have any questions about this policy, please contact Professor Linda Brindeau.

For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: French.

Courses that fulfill distribution requirements

Language requirement:
Completion at the intermediate level, FREN 201 (previously FREN 116)

Humanities (Division I B):
Courses in French or francophone literature at the 200 (FREN 246 specifically) or 300 level

Writing in the Discipline (WID):
FREN 230, Communication in French and Francophone Contexts
FREN 236, Introduction to Cultural Analysis

Comparative Cultures:
FREN 246, Introduction to Francophone Cultures

Suggested curricular flow through the major

First Year
FREN 201 (previously FREN 116), 230
or FREN 230,236
or FREN 236 followed by FREN 240, or 245, or 246
NOTE: Entrance level dependent on the results of a placement examination

Sophomore Year
FREN 230, 236
or FREN 236 followed by FREN 240, or 245, or 246

Junior Year
Study in Toulouse, France, and/or Yaoundé, Cameroon
or two 300-level courses

Senior Year
Two 300-level courses including one Senior Seminar
Related electives (e.g. language and literary studies, international studies, History of Modern France, Medieval History, Art History)
NOTE: Normally French majors may not take 200-level courses their senior year.


Departmental honors in French are normally granted to students who have completed independent research projects and, after an oral defense, receive an A or A-.

Independent study and independent research

Students interested in Independent Study or Independent Research in French or Francophone Studies should consult with the faculty member with whom they hope to work. Independent Study may not duplicate a class already being offered in a particular semester.

Independent Research is usually reserved for the senior year and for students who have a GPA of 3.50 or higher in the French major.  Research may be carried out over one or two semesters for one or more credits. An independent research project comprises a substantial paper written in French, and is characterized by an independent and in-depth study of an advanced topic including a literature search, reading of original sources and a novel formulation of results.  There is an oral defense at its completion. The project is supervised by two members in the department. When independent research is interdisciplinary in nature, a third faculty member from outside the department is invited to participate. 


Internships may be available for interested students. The department chair or the coordinator in Toulouse should be consulted for information. Some students have served as interns in Carlisle with the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and at the French Embassy in Washington, DC. Students on the Dickinson in France program have interned in Business and Marketing, Public Administration, Applied Sciences and Medicine, The Arts, The Media, and Education.

Co-curricular activities/programs

The French department encourages participation in its co-curricular activities. The department sponsors a French language table where students and faculty meet once a week to share a meal and informal discussion in French. Each year the French department brings to campus French students from the University of Toulouse, who live in the Romance Language House and serve as resource persons to students interested in the language. The Club Français sponsors films, videos, field trips, lectures and special events.

Opportunities for off-campus study

Junior Year: All students intending to major in French are strongly urged to plan their program of studies to allow for study abroad during the junior year at Dickinson's Study Center in Toulouse, France and/or in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The coordinators for Dickinson programs in these countries should be consulted with any questions.

Summer Immersion Program: The French Department occasionally offers a five-week student immersion program in Toulouse, depending upon student interest. This program, which has a prerequisite of 201 (Intermediate French), is of particular interest to French minors. The Department chairperson should be contacted for additional information.

Additional Remarks

Multilingual Writing Center: Students who possess advanced language skills and writing experience are eligible to become writing tutors at the Multilingual Writing Center. Please contact Professor Lucile Duperron or Noreen Lape, Director of the Writing Program.

Careers: Recent graduates who have majored or minored in French are attending graduate school in diverse disciplines or are engaged in teaching, law studies, publishing and editing, and a wide variety of international business or banking concerns, as well as NGOs.

Every Year, French majors apply and receive teaching assistantships sponsored by the French Government.

Flowchart for Placement Information

Flowcart for Those Retaking Placement Exam