Introduction

The French and Francophone Studies (FFS) Program makes students travel across centuries, continents, and cultures thanks to course offerings by faculty who are experts in linguistics, French and Francophone history and literatures, food studies, women, gender and sexuality studies, and environmental humanities. The language skills and the diversity of approaches taught in the major prepare students to include an array of abroad experiences based in (1) Europe (Toulouse, France), (2) North Africa (Rabat, Morocco) and (3) Sub-Saharan Africa (Yaoundé, Cameroon). Moreover, Internships in the French-speaking workplace help majors internationalize their educational experience as well as develop professional networking and career-ready skills in the global marketplace.

This advising guide explains how the FFS program can support the learning goals of first-year students, FFS majors, FFS minors, and students pursing majors and programs that integrate global perspectives in their program such as Africana Studies, Environmental Studies, Food Studies, International Business and Management, International Studies,  Latin American, Latinx and Caribbean Studies, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. 

Students who are interested in studying in Rabat, Toulouse, and/or Yaoundé during their time at Dickinson are encouraged to continue or start with their language preparation in French from their first semester at Dickinson onward in order to leverage their previous experience and the all-college world language requirement sequence. The next section details placement information to help students achieve their goals.

PLACEMENT INFORMATION

Dickinson Placement Test:

The French placement test is designed for all incoming students who have already studied French or might use it in their daily lives. Students who have never taken French before College do not need to take the French placement test: They will register directly in FREN 101.

The placement test is available online through the Dickinson Gateway. Students are expected to take the exam online by July 1.  The test results will determine their level of proficiency in French and students will receive information about the course level in which they placed before their online course selection begins.

Students who wish to take the placement test for the sole purpose of waiving their all-college language requirement will have to take the exam on campus under supervision during the Orientation period. Students who cannot take the exam during the summer will also be able to take it on campus during the Orientation period.  If students need to take the exam during Orientation, they must contact Professor Dominique Laurent before the first day of Orientation.

Advanced Placement Test Scores:

Students who have received a grade of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement Test will be granted general credit for college work and will receive placement in the appropriate French course as determined by their score on the online placement test.

International Baccalaureate Scores:

Students who have completed the International Baccalaureate (IB) in French and who received a score of 6 and above will be granted credit for college work and will receive placement in the appropriate French course as determined by their score on the online placement test.

SAT II Scores:

Students who obtain a score  of 640 or higher on the College Board SAT II French language subject test can fulfill the college's world language requirement.

British A-Level Advanced Credit:

Students who obtain grades of A or B on a British System Advanced level ("A-level") exam will be granted a general credit for college work and will receive placement based on their results on the French placement test.

Note:

Students who completed their course of study prior to Dickinson in a French-speaking educational setting and wish to take a course in FFS must contact the Department Chair during Orientation to discuss their options..

Flowchart for Placement Information

Courses appropriate for prospective majors

Students interested in starting learning French at Dickinson should enroll in FREN 101 (Elementary French) during the fall semester of their first year. They can continue in FREN 102 (Elementary French II) followed by FREN 201 (Intermediate French). Together, these three courses fulfill the sequence of the all-college world language language requirement.

Upon the completion of the intermediate language sequence, students interested in pursuing a French and Francophone Studies Major or a French Minor will take the next level of courses, starting with FREN 230 (see the Suggested Curricular Flow for Minor and Major section for more details).

Incoming students who have already studied French or use it in their daily life can take the French placement test to find out where their score places them and enroll subsequenly in one of the FFS course offerings at Dickinson (see the Introduction section for details).

Students who major or minor in French and Francophone Studies or who combine international majors with the study of French are able to advance their language skills and knowledge of French-speaking cultures through an immersive experience in three study abroad sites. (1) In Rabat, Morocco, students are able to study in their subject area in up to three languages--Arabic, French, and English--based on their proficiency level and in partnership with Amideast. (2) In Toulouse, France, students who have completed FREN 230 (4th semester French) are eligible to receive credits in FFS and in partnership with 3 university campuses: Toulouse 1 (Toulouse School of Economics and Institut d'Etudes Politiques), Toulouse 2 (Humanities; business) and Institut Catholique (humanities; psychology). Students in the Social Sciences who wish to study only in English may do so at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques.  (3) In Yaoundé, Cameroon, students are able to study in French in partnership with the Université Catholique. Students in the Social Sciences who wish to take courses only in English may do so through the Dickinson Center in Yaoundé.


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

For more information about the FFS major or minor, please read the section titled "Suggested Curricular Flow Through the Minor and Major."

Courses that fulfill distribution requirements

World Language and Culture Requirement:

Completion at the intermediate level, FREN 201

Humanities (Division I B):

FREN 303: Introduction to Francophone Cultures:

FREN 304: Francophone African and Caribbean Cultures 

French 305: Middle Eastern Francophone Cinema 

All FREN 362 and FREN 364: Topics in French and Francophone Literatures

Arts (Division 1C):

FREN 304: Middle Eastern Francophone Cinema

Writing in the Discipline (WiD):

FREN 220: Summer Immersion in Toulouse, France

FREN 231: French and Francophone Cultural Histories

FREN 232: Professional French

Global Diversity:

FREN 202: Living in the Francophone World

FREN 303: Introduction to Francophone Cultures:

FREN 304: Francophone African and Caribbean Cultures 

French 305: Middle Eastern Francophone Cinema 

FR 363: Post-Colonial Cultures in France

FREN 364: Women of the Middle East: Stories of Resistance

Sustainability:

FREN 220: Summer Immersion in Toulouse, France

FREN 301: Food, France, and Cultural Identity

FREN 364: The Start of the Anthropocene? Environment and Sustainability in Enlightenment France

Suggested curricular flow through the major

First year: 

FREN 101 in the fall and FREN 102 in the spring 

or FREN 102, then FREN 201 

or FREN 201, then FREN 202 

or FREN 231 OR 232, followed by the other one (FREN 231 or 232) 

NOTE: Entrance level dependent on the results of a placement examination.  

Sophomore: 

FREN 201, then FREN 202 

or FREN 231 OR 232, followed by the other one (FREN 231 or 232), or a course at the 300 level 

NOTES:

Students planning an international internship must contact their advisor in the spring of their sophomore year.

Check if you can combine any related and cross-listed electives taught in the FFS program if you are also a major or minor in another field such as Environmental Studies, English, Food Studies, INBM, IS, MES, or WGSS 

Junior: 

Study abroad in Toulouse, France, and/or Rabat, Morocco in the fall, spring, or all year, and/or Yaoundé, Cameroon (spring only) 

FREN 231 (if not yet completed) or FREN 232, followed by 300-level courses 

NOTE: Students planning to pursue honors should contact their advisors in the Spring semester of their junior year.

Senior: 

FREN 401 and any combination of 300-level courses 

NOTES: To get credit toward the FFS Major/Minor for cross-listed courses taught as FLIC courses (bilingual courses in French and English) students must enroll in FREN section of the class (e.g., not in the English; Environmental Studies; Food Studies; Middle East Studies; Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies sections)

Suggested curricular flow through the minor

First year: 

FREN 101 in the fall and FREN 102 in the spring 

or FREN 102, then FREN 201 

or FREN 201, then FREN 202 

or FREN 231 OR 232, followed by the other one (FREN 231 or 232) 

NOTE: Entrance level dependent on the results of a placement examination. 

Sophomore: 

FREN 201, then FREN 202 

or FREN 231 OR 232, followed by the other one (FREN 231 or 232), or a course at the 300 level 

NOTES: Check if you can combine any related and cross-listed electives taught in the FFS program if you are also a major or minor in another field such as Environmental Studies, English, Food Studies, INBM, IS, MES, or WGSS 

Junior: 

Study abroad in Toulouse, France, and/or Rabat, Morocco in the fall, spring, or all year, and/or Yaoundé, Cameroon (spring only) 

FREN 231 (if not yet completed) or FREN 232, followed by 300-level courses 

Senior: 

Any combination of 300-level courses 

NOTE: To get credit toward the FFS Major/Minor for cross-listed courses taught as FLIC courses (bilingual courses in French and English) students must enroll in FREN section of the class (e.g., not in the English; Environmental Studies; Food Studies; Middle East Studies; Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies sections)

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

Honors

Students who wish to be considered for honors in French and Francophone Studies must have an overall GPA of at least 3.50 and they will register for an Independent Research (550) both in the fall and the spring of their senior year in lieu of the regular 300-level senior sequence. The students must identify a faculty member who is willing to serve as their Thesis Advisor, must submit a proposal, and must write a thesis, which will be evaluated by the faculty to receive honors.

An Honors Thesis meets the equivalent of two academic credits--one in the fall, and one in the spring respectively--and honors are conferred as a special designation on the students' academic transcript and diploma. In the event that students do not wish to continue with their thesis work into the spring semester, or if the independent research completed in the fall does not meet the standards of an honors thesis, the students will still receive academic credit for their Independent Research (550) in the fall, and they can enroll in either a topics or a senior seminar in the spring of their senior year to meet the senior year requirement.

The proposal must be written in French and must be submitted no later than two (2) weeks before the beginning of the fall semester (5 pages). The proposal should provide a detailed description of the research project, as well as explain the questions to be addressed, the current state of scholarship on this issue, the project’s contribution to current scholarship, and a tentative answer to the research question (i.e. a “thesis statement”). A proposed outline of the thesis chapters (1 page)  should also be included. There should also be a fairly extensive bibliography (1-2 pages) that lists primary and secondary sources under separate headings.

HONORS THESIS TIMELINE

  • May of Junior Year:
    • Student approaches faculty member as a potential thesis advisor to declare their intention to write an honors thesis.
  • Summer before graduation:
    • Student submits a short proposal and reading bibliography (see above).
    • Student registers for an independent research for the fall semester with their appointed thesis advisor.
  • Fall semester of graduation:
    • The student writes a 20-page research paper supervised by their thesis advisor that elaborates on the proposal.
    • Before the last day of classes, the thesis advisor connects with the department and shares the student's research.
    • By the end of the exam period, the FFS Chair and the committee will inform the prospective honors student whether the independent research completed in the fall meets the requirements for a thesis so far.
    • If approved, the thesis advisor assigns a second reader. A third external reader might be contacted depending on the nature of the proposal. The student receives a grade for their independent research and registers for another independent research for the spring semester.
    • If not approved, or if the student changes their mind about completing a thesis, the student receives credit toward the 300-level senior seminar to meet the 300-level major sequence requirement during their senior year.
  • Spring semester of graduation:
    • The student continues writing (20 pages)
    • The advisor communicates the title of the senior thesis to the Registrar via the FFS Chair by the end of February.
    • Mid semester check-in with the thesis committee.
  • Two weeks before the date of the oral defense:
    • The advisor will ensure that the candidate shares their best version of their thesis with the committee members. The document will be about 50 pages, excluding the bibliography.
    • The advisor will share the defense information with the rest of the dept and FFS majors /minors with the permission of the candidate.
  • Before the oral defense:
    • Faculty will meet and discuss whether the thesis meets the criteria of an honors thesis
    • They will vote on conferring provisional honors.
  • During the oral defense:
    • Faculty will ask questions probing, for example, the source base, evidence, methodology, and conclusions.
    • Faculty will also offer advice for editing and revising the thesis in preparation for its submission (if approved for final honors) to the Dickinson College Archives.
    • Honors will be conferred upon a student's successful completion of the oral defense.
  • After the oral defense:
    • The advisor will inform the Registrar's office (usually Marcia) whether the candidate has received honors or not (we will probably receive a deadline reminder from the Registrar soon - it's typically by May 14).
  • Before graduation:
    • The candidate will make final directed revisions essential for formal submission of the approved honors project according to the guidelines set by the Archives.
    • Since 2016, the candidate may choose to publish their thesis in Dickinson Scholar with the approval of their advisor.
  • Following graduation (or as early as possible):
    • The ADC will generate an internal req. order with the FFS Chair to authorize payment toward the printing and binding of 3 copies of the thesis (student-archives-dept).

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

Thanks to its study abroad programming in three geographical regions, the Department of  French and Francophone Studies is well positioned to support students who seek international internships to advance their professional profile and experience. Developing career-ready skills in the global market place starts as soon as the first year of college. While students prepare the grounds for an international experience by taking a French class, they should also familiarize themselves with the Center for Advising, Internships & Lifelong Career Development in order to develop a résumé to be shared with their advisor. During their Sophomore Year, students should begin making plans for an internship abroad by consulting with the Center for Global Study and Engagement about their opportunities and potential funding, and by meeting with their advisor and the department's study abroad coordinator. During Junior Year, internships may be available for students studying in Rabat, Toulouse, or Yaoundé. Think of international internships as providing lifelong opportunities for professional development. Thanks to their international experience and their capacity to understand people and cultures other than their own, our majors are ready to intern and work in leading professional contexts ranging from education to government, NGOs, law, international business, banking, and the press. For example, FFS Alumna Shiobhan O'Grady '13 studied in Yaoundé and in Rabat, found her calling when she interned  in a bilingual news agency in Rabat, and is now the Cairo Bureau Chief for the Washington Post.

Co-curricular activities/programs

The Department of French and Francophone Studies hosts regular events throughout the academic year.  Dickinson students, faculty, and international exchange students gather weekly at  the French Table to share a meal and informal discussion in French at all levels of proficiency. The Department also sponsors yearly a film festival thanks to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Moreover, students can practice their French by living in the Romance Language House  where French exchange students from the University of Toulouse lead various activities ranging from game nights to French meals and bad movie nights! In consultation with the FFS department, the French Club sponsors films, field trips, lectures, dinners, picnics, and special events with Alumni.

More details can be found on the FFS FaceBook Page.

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

CAREER READINESS AT DICKINSON

Students who possess advanced language skills and writing experience in French are eligible for wonderful job opportunities at Dickinson. They can become writing tutors and French course assistants under the tutelage of the Multilingual Writing Center. They should contact Professor Hanna Roman in FFS or Prof. Noreen Lape, Director of the Writing Program. Moreover, students can combine their passion for the fine arts and world languages by becoming bilingual docents at the Trout Gallery. More information is available by contacting Heather Flaherty, Education Coordinator for the Trout Gallery. 

COACHING FOR INTERNATIONAL POST GRADUATE OPPORTUNITIES

Every year, FFS majors are coached by Dickinson Professors to apply to financially viable and meaningful post-graduate opportunities that deepen their knowledge and experience. They are encouraged to apply to prestigious programs such as the French Embassy Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) and Fulbright scholarships around the world. French and Francophone majors regularly receive teaching assistantships sponsored by the French Government. Recent graduates have also received Fulbright scholarships and teaching positions in the Ivory Coast, Laos, and Luxemburg.

ALUMNI CONNECTIONS

Recent graduates who have majored or minored in French and Francophone Studies are attending graduate school in diverse disciplines or are engaged in careers in international education, law, publishing, international business, banking, medicine, and humanitarian aid. Many graduates continue to live and work in French-speaking environments. The FFS Department encourages their graduates to connect directly with FFS Alumni on AlumniFire and LinkedIn to seek professional opportunities at home and abroad.