The French department’s courses develop skills in the language of France and French-speaking countries and offer access to cultures that are rich in tradition and have important roles to play in a rapidly diversifying Europe and a rapidly contracting world.
All but one of our courses, from elementary to advanced, are taught in French. Their topics, in literature and culture, span ten centuries, from the Middle Ages to the present. In addition to opening cultural doors, the department’s courses help students develop a number of critical skills and habits—linguistic, analytical, interpretive, expressive.
Early in the language cycle students encounter material from different parts of the world, from historical periods that range from the medieval to the contemporary, and in a variety of genres and media. They encounter as well a number of different approaches to reading and analyzing texts: historical, sociological, psychological, and literary—including the perspectives of race and gender and women’s studies. Students who graduate from our program have gone on to further study in (among other areas) the law, medicine, international relations, museum science, art and art history, English, French, and Middle Eastern Studies, as well as to careers in publishing and on Wall Street and Madison Avenue. Graduates routinely report that their skills in French are a significant asset in pursuing careers with international organizations and companies.
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 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.
The Wellesley College language requirement can be met with the successful completion of the FREN 201-FREN 202 sequence, FREN 203, an Advanced Placement score of 5, or an SAT II score of 690. Students who begin with FREN 202 must successfully complete an additional course above FREN 202 to satisfy the language requirement. Students who place higher than FREN 202 can satisfy the requirement by successfully completing one course above FREN 202.