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. Any student who takes a language course at another institution and would like college credit must obtain permission in advance and take the French placement test upon her return to verify she has attained the required level. To take the placement test, please contact Professor Scott Gunther, chair of the placement committee.
Honors in the French Major
The department offers two options for the achievement of honors in French:
Under Option A, students write and defend a senior thesis. Candidates 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 FREN 360-FREN 370 during senior year.
Under Option B, students sit for a written examination based on major works and authors of the French and Francophone literary traditions. (See requirements, below.) Option B carries no course credit, but candidates may elect a unit of FREN 350 in the fall of senior year as part of their preparation for the examination.
To be admitted to either 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. For more information, please see "Honors".
For more information on honors click here.
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 can be met with the completion of either the FREN 201-FREN 202 sequence or FREN 203. Students who place higher than FREN 202, can satisfy the requirement by taking one course above FREN 202. All incoming students who have taken French are required to take the department's placement test prior to registering for French department courses. Any student who takes a language course at another institution and would like college credit must obtain 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. It is located at 33 Dover Road, Wellesley, MA 02481.