black bar
Department of French and Italian

French Language Programs

100-level | 200-level | 300-level

The undergraduate program in French is designed to allow students a certain amount of flexibility in their choice of courses, according to their interests and motivation as well as requirements imposed by their school or field of studies.

The 100-level

Students with no previous knowledge of the French language start with French 111, elementary French, and go on to French 121, intermediate French. This six-quarter sequence teaches the basics of speaking, reading, writing, and aural comprehension, and leads both to more advanced language courses and to literature and culture courses.

Students who have already studied French in high school must take a placement test that will determine the level at which they may enter the French language program. The French placement test is administered on line at http://placement-test.mmlc.northwestern.edu. The lowest course in which students may be placed is French 115, intensive elementary French, a course that strengthens the foundations on which students will build their knowledge of the language and culture. After completing this two-quarter course, students go on to French 125, intensive intermediate French or may choose to take French 121, the alternate intermediate French course. Both intermediate courses share the same goals which are to further develop French language skills and learn about Francophone culture and literature while reviewing and expanding the knowledge of basic grammar. Both courses use interactive multimedia materials authored by Northwestern faculty, which can be seen at http://internautique.mmlc.northwestern.edu.

Incoming students who are placed in the intensive intermediate course begin with French 125-2 and may progress to the 200 level by Spring quarter.

100-level courses do not count towards the major or minor in French.

Completion of French 121-3 or 125-3 with a grade of C- or higher satisfies the WCAS language requirement.

Back to Top

The 200-level

At this level, the program offers more flexibility in recognition of the varied needs and interests of more advanced students. With French 201, which requires successful completion of intermediate French or placement, students move into higher reading levels with emphasis on contemporary culture. French 202 stresses writing and prepares students for the independent analysis and judgment required of them in more advanced classes, while French 203 concentrates on listening comprehension and oral expression. Incoming students must have an AP score of 4 to register for these two courses. Above this level, students may take French 210 and/or 211, which prepare them for upper level literature and culture courses. Incoming students must have an AP score of 5 to take these courses. Most students who continue their studies in France or a Francophone country in their junior year have had at least two 200-level courses, often more.

Back to Top

The 300-level

The 300-level courses aim to develop a student's self-reliance in French, concentrating on finer points of language, whether in grammar (French 301) or in written and oral comprehension and expression (French 302 and 303). This level is generally equivalent to the courses students take abroad in their junior year and, for that reason, students returning from at least a semester abroad may not enroll in those three courses for credit.

Further courses at this advanced level include French 305, Phonetics, which provides students with a systematic study of the theory of French sounds as well as providing pronunciation practice, and French 309, which gives students a solid training in business French. Finally, French 391, Theory and Practice of Translation, offers practical analysis and translation of different genres of writing (French to English and English to French), occasionally concentrating on one particular type of translation (e.g., film subtitling).

Year 1
(Fall, Winter, Spring)
Year 2 Year 3
111-1, 2, 3 121-1, 2, 3proficiency > 201, etc.
115-1,2, 125-1125-2,3, 202 or 203202 or 203 and above
125-2,3, 202/203202 or 203 and abovestudy abroad?

Back to Top