WCAS Language Requirement in French
In order to fulfill the WCAS Language Requirement in French, you will need to have scored a 5 on the Advanced Placement (AP) Exam in French. You can also fulfill the WCAS Language Requirement in French by taking courses: you will need to pass French 121-3 or 125-3 (the third quarter of Intermediate French) or French 201 with a grade of C- or better. If you have never studied French before, you can sign up for French 111-1, the first quarter of Elementary French. If you have studied French before, use the following table as a guideline to determine which course you should take:
|If you have...|
|a score of 5 on the Advanced Placement French Exam:||Congratulations! You have satisfied the WCAS Language Proficiency Requirement in French. To continue your studies in French, you need to take the online placement test to enroll in advanced courses: French 202, Writing Workshop; French 203, Oral workshop; French 210, Reading Literatures in French; or French 211, Reading Cultures in French. Please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Prof. Cynthia Nazarian for advice on choosing a French Minor or Major.|
|a score of 3-4 on the Advanced Placement French Examination (AP Exam):||Great! Welcome to the French Language Program. You must take the French Placement test. You will have either 1 course to take (French 201) or 2 courses (French 125-2 and 3), or you may even be certified proficient and eligible to take French 202 or 203. Please contact Prof. Margaret Dempster or Prof. Dominique Licops for information.|
|a score of 1 or 2 on the Advanced Placement French Examination or any prior knowledge or study of French:||Great! Welcome to the French Language Program. You must take the French Placement test. You will be placed in the appropriate course for your level, French 111-1, French 115-1 or French 121-1. Please contact Prof. Margaret Dempster or Prof. Dominique Licops for information.|
|never studied any French before:||Welcome to the French Language Program. You will need six courses to satisfy the WCAS Language Proficiency Requirement in French. You may place yourself into 111-1 Elementary French (given only in the Fall).|
If you had French language instruction before, and do not fall into any of the categories described in the table above, you must take the French Placement Exam before you can sign up for a French course.
The French Placement Exam places students in the appropriate French class from which they either begin to fulfill the French Language Requirement or continue studying for a French Major or Minor.
You can find the Placement exam and information about it at the French Language Placement page.
The College awards 2 credits of 200-level French to students who receive an AP score of 5, that is, the equivalent of 202 AND 203, and you should take French 210 or 211. The College awards 1 credit of 100-level French to students who receive an AP score of 4, and you should take the French placement test to determine whether you have satisfied the WCAS language requirement and which course you will register for. While these credits count toward graduation requirements, they do NOT count toward the major or minor. You simply start the major / minor at a higher level but you still need to take 14 units for the major and 9 units for the minor. If you have posted an AP 2, 3 or 4 score, SAT II score or IB score, you need to take the placement test.
What Courses Are Open to First-Year Students
These are typical schedules for First-year students, depending on where you place (see table above):
|Year 1 Fall||Winter||Spring|
|125-2||125-3||202 and / or 203|
|201||202 and / or 203||202 and / or 203
If you’ve taken both 202 and 203 in Winter, you can take French 210 or 211.
|202 and / or 203||202 and / or 203||210 or 211|
|210 or 211||271 or 272 or 273||271 or 272 or 273 or 300 level course (preferably 301)|
Majoring or Minoring in French
Once you have fulfilled the Language Requirement in French, you are ready to sign up for a French Major or Minor. Both the Major and the Minor in French are open to all students at Northwestern. They are highly flexible programs designed to introduce you to the cultures and literatures of the French-speaking world.
In a world where cultures interact with much more frequency and intensity, learning French, a language spoken by 200 million people in the Americas, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, is an indispensable asset for those interested in careers as varied as business, global health, the Foreign Service, international law, media, education, and tourism.
The French undergraduate program reflects the diversity of the French-speaking world, spread over 5 continents and in over 43 countries worldwide, through its multidisciplinary approach. We offer courses, both in English and French, in literature, cinema, theater, as well as philosophy, literary theory and history, ranging from the Medieval period to contemporary French and Francophone cultures. Students also have a wide choice of language courses, including career-specific business French. Many students of French double major, a choice that diversifies their skills and increases their desirability in the job market.
You can take a look at major and minor requirements on our website, and if you have questions about our major, minor, and courses, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Prof. Cynthia Nazarian.
Course Offerings for the Current Academic Year
You can find course offerings for the current year.
Study Abroad is a valuable complement to language and culture studies. The Department of French and Italian works carefully with individual students to integrate a period of study in France and / or other French-speaking countries into their overall academic plans. Students have the opportunity to not only improve their language skills but also live and interact with native French-speakers. Students typically return from their time abroad with a much firmer grasp of both written and spoken French and a deeper understanding of French-speaking people, their societies and cultures. The varied contacts with local residents, professors, and local and international students are invaluable for the development of a balanced, international perspective. Please consult the section on Study Abroad.
For more information on studying abroad and for language interviews, please contact Dominique Licops, the Study Abroad Advisor. For advice on the role of study abroad in a student's academic progress towards the French major or minor, as well as credit transfers for courses taken abroad, see Cynthia Nazarian, Director of Undergraduate Studies.
ActivitiesThe French department others several opportunities for students to expand their understanding of the French culture and language.
For events visit the Events page.
If you have questions, please contact us:
- Christopher Bush, Chair of the Department of French and Italian (847) 491-8255
- Margaret Dempster, Director of the French Language Program (847) 467-3930
- Cynthia Nazarian, Director of Undergraduate Studies (847) 491-8270
- Dominique Licops, French placement and proficiency advisor (847) 467-3929