French Placement Test
All incoming students who have studied some French and who are considering taking French at some point during their college career at Wellesley are required to take the placement test. True beginners, without an experience in French may register for French 101 or 103 without taking the test. The placement test is a tool to evaluate your proficiency in French so that you will be placed with students who are at the same level as you. If your SAT or AP score suggests a different placement level than your French Department placement results, the French department placement committee will advise you as to which course to take. Any student who intends to fulfill her language requirement by taking a course at another institution must take the French placement test upon her return and attain the required level. To take the placement test, please contact Scott Gunther, chair of the placement committee.
A student entering Wellesley must have an Advanced Placement score of 5 or an SAT II score of 690 to satisfy the foreign language requirement. The Wellesley College language requirement is normally met with the completion of either FREN 201-202 or FREN 203. Students who present an AP score of 3 or an SAT II score between 600–640 can satisfy the requirement by taking FREN 205. Students who present an AP score of 4 or an SAT II score between 650–680 can satisfy the requirement by taking one of the following courses: FREN 206, 207, 208 or 209.
The only route to honors in the major is writing a thesis and passing an oral examination. To be admitted to the thesis program, a student must have a grade point average of at least 3.5 in all work in the major field above the 100-level; the department may petition on her behalf if her GPA in the major is between 3.0 and 3.5. Students must complete a 300-level course or its equivalent before the fall of senior year. In addition, a 300-level course is to be taken concurrently with 360-370. See Academic Distinctions.
Students interested in an interdepartmental major in French Cultural Studies are referred to the listing for this interdepartmental program.
Students planning graduate work in French or comparative literature are encouraged to write an honors thesis and study a second modern language and/or Latin.
Students interested in obtaining certification to teach French in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts should consult the chair of the education department.
Advanced Placement Policies and Language Requirement
A student entering Wellesley must have an Advanced Placement score of 5 or an SAT II score of 690 to satisfy the foreign language requirement. The Wellesley College language requirement is normally met with the completion of either FREN 201-202 or FREN 203. Students who present an AP score of 3 or an SAT II score between 600–640 can satisfy the requirement by taking FREN 205. Students who present an AP score of 4 or an SAT II score between 650–680 can satisfy the requirement by taking one of the following courses: FREN 206, 207, 208 or 209. All incoming students are required to take the placement test. Any discrepancy between a student’s AP score and her score on the departmental placement test will be resolved by the placement committee. Any student who takes a language course at another institution and would like college credit must have permission in advance and take the French placement test upon her return to verify she has attained the required level.
All our students, majors and non-majors alike, are encouraged to spend a year or semester abroad in France or a francophone country as a way of deepening their academic learning with real-time experience. A student who has mastered enough French to enter sympathetically into the language’s many cultures is likely to be more complexly understanding, more subtly perceptive, more keenly articulate and more expansively communicative than her neighbor who has not. To move within more than one frame of cultural reference and to have French sounds and songs and bilingual jokes in one’s head are deep intellectual pleasures. They are also highly useful tools in the real world because they foster the ability to see reality from the standpoint of others as well as from one’s own. In an age of globalization this is a valuable skill—in diplomacy, business, politics, and of course in human relations. The department also has funds to support a limited number of summer internships in France or francophone countries. The department encourages those students who cannot spend a semester abroad to participate in the department’s Wintersession course in Paris.
Qualified students are highly encouraged to live at the Maison Française. The Maison Française is a French-speaking residence and a cultural center for the Wellesley College community. It houses fourteen students and two French assistants from the Université de Provence. It is a place where majors and non-majors who have demonstrated a significant competence in French live and can exchange ideas. During the academic year, the Maison Française organizes seminars, talk and collaquia, and students are encouraged to attend.