Selecting Courses

The French department offers courses at elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels; all are conducted in French. Elementary courses focus on understanding, speaking, reading, and writing French, and intermediate courses (200 level) review grammar while introducing students to French and Francophone literature and culture.

  • Students wishing to take their first French course, at any level, at Mount Holyoke must take a French placement exam.  

Advanced courses focus on periods of French literature and culture, artistic and intellectual movements, Francophone studies (including film), social and political issues, and advanced work in translation. For more information, refer to the French department course catalog.

In order to be eligible to receive a French Department prize, a student must take a minimum of two French courses over the academic year.

Course Selection/Foreign Language Requirement

Students who have never studied French should enroll in 101f-102s, a two-semester course for beginners. Those who have previously studied French at Mount Holyoke and who wish to continue must have the prerequisites stipulated for specific courses.  

All students must take the French placement exam before registering for a French class. 

We recognize that students who enter Mount Holyoke without having previously studied French generally are not able to study in Montpellier for a full academic year because the language prerequisite for the program is five semesters of French.  In order to expand eligibility for the full-year program, we are offering a special arrangement, beginning in 2014-15, by which students may apply on the basis of four semesters of French, having begun in French 101 in their first semester, and being on track to complete French 203 in the spring semester of sophomore year.

Approval for the full-year program in this case is typically limited to students who have done strong work in French 101-102 and are doing well in French 201 (typically, A or A- level work), have solid support from the instructors of those courses, and who wish to spend the entire year in Montpellier. Course work in the fall semester in Montpellier will consist of support courses for international students offered by RI (“Service des Relations Internationales”).  These support courses, all taught in French, include grammar, phonetics, and theme-based options (such as theatre, art history, gender studies, etc.).  In the second semester, students would take a combination of “cours RI” and integrated courses, as our students in Montpellier have always done.

Students who began in French 101 and who wish to study in France for one semester should plan to follow the normal rules of eligibility for study abroad and go to France in the spring semester of the junior year, having completed French 215, 219, 225, or 230 in the fall. 

First-Year Seminars

The French department offers one or two first-level seminar each year, which are taught in English.  The topics vary.

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