Language Studies: French

Duke requires all students to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language at the intermediate or advanced level. Courses suitable for meeting this requirement are designed with an FL (Foreign Language) curriculum code. Depending on your language proficiency, you must complete one of the following:

  • Option One: If you begin language study at Duke in an elementary language course, you must take 3 full courses in that language to meet your FL requirement for graduation, OR
  • Option Two: If you enter language study at Duke at the intermediate level or above, the successful completion of a 300-level FL-designated course will fulfill your requirement.
    • If you place in the first semester of the intermediate level, you will need to take at least 3 full consecutive courses in the same language.
    • If you place into the second semester of the intermediate level, you will need to take at least 2 full consecutive courses in the same language.
    • If you place in a 300-level course, you will only need to take 1 course.

Which courses do I sign up for?

The course description and placement guidelines that follow should help you choose the proper gateway course given your background. If you have taken an AP, IB or SAT II test (with or without listening), you should use that score as your guide for selecting a course.

If you have this background and/or test score: You should take this course:
Elementary French - 100 level courses
  • You have never studied French.
  • You studied French in elementary or middle school but not in high school.
  • You studied French one year in high school.
  • You studied French two years in high school but did not have your high school courses taught in French (your teacher did not speak French on a regular basis and you were not required to speak French at least 75% of class time).
  • You have no SAT II, AP, or IB test score
  • Your SAT II score in French is in the 240-410 range.
  • If your IB score in French is below 4, contact Language Program Director Sandy Valnes Quammen.

French 101: Elementary French 1 - Introduction to the essential elements of French language and aspects of French/Francophone cultures. Open to students who have never studied French before, or to those who have not studied French more than two years in high school. Practice in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing the language. Includes computer, video, and audio labs. Four class meetings a week.


French 111: Intensive Elementary French - Covers the basic elementary French language curriculum (French 101-102) in one semester. Not open to students who have studied French for more than two years pre-college. Practice in understanding, speaking, readings, and writing French, and an introduction to some aspects of French/francophone cultures. Computer, video, and audio laboratory work required. French 111 is the equivalent of French 101-102, and students who complete it earn 2 credits. French 111 is offered in the Spring semester.

  • You studied French for 2 years in a very strong high school program, took the last French course your senior year, and made an A.
  • You studied French for 3 years in high school but the last year was not your senior year, or you do not think the program was strong, or you did not receive a final grade of A or high B.
  • You have an SATII score in the 420-480 range.
  • You have an IB score below 4. In this case, contact Language Program Director Sandy Valnes Quammen.
French 102: Elementary French 2 - Continues work on the essential elements of French language and aspects of culture. Aural comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing activities receive equal attention. Requires work in the language and computer laboratory. Classes conducted in French. Four class meetings a week.
Intermediate French - 200 level courses
  • You had 3 years of French in high school, with the final year being in your senior year. Your last course was not taught in English, and you did well (A or high B).
  • You had 4 years of high school French.
  • Your SAT II score is in the 490-580 range.
  • Your AP score in French is 3 (Language Test).
  • Your IB score in French is 4.

French 203: Intermediate French Language and Culture - The first half of the two-semester program of intermediate French. Review of basic grammar; introduction to second language reading as a process; emphasis on understanding the cultural implication of written and visual texts; guided writing practice. Resources include audiotapes, computer tutorials, and videotapes.


French 212: Intensive Intermediate French Language and Culture - Covers the intermediate French language curriculum (French 203,204) in one semester. Increased attention grammatical variety and accuracy; guided writing practice; development of second language reading skill with increasing emphasis on critical analysis of cultural and literary texts. Resources include audiotapes, computer tutorials, videotapes, and French language websites.  Six class hours a week.

  • You have had only 3 years of study in high school, but you did extremely well and the program was very strong, you should enroll in French 204 and plan to visit a section of French 203 for the first several days, so that you can better decide which level is most appropriate.
  • You had 4 years of high school French and did well in the courses.
  • You took an AP French literature course and did very well, but didn't take the AP exam.
  • Your SAT II score is in the 590-630 range.
  • Your AP score in French is 3 (Literature Test) or 4 (Language Test).
  • Your IB score in French is 5.
French 204: Advanced Intermediate French Language and Culture - The second half of the two-semester program of intermediate French. Focus on building higher proficiency levels in all four skills. Intensive grammar review and daily reading and in-class discussion of texts of varying lengths and styles which increase in difficulty as the semester progresses. Guided essay writing on topics related to the readings and discussion.
Advanced French - 300 level courses
  • You have had a significant amount of French coursework (high school, middle school, and perhaps some in elementary school) and have always made high grades in the courses.
  • You have 3 or more years of French study in high school, combined with a significant non-academic exposure to the language (such as in your home environment, or through living in a francophone country).
  • You are a native speaker of French.
  • Your SAT II score is 640 or higher.
  • Your AP score in French is 4 (Literature Test) or 5 (Language & Literature)
  • Your IB score in French is 6 or 7.
  • See the 'Courses' tab near the top of the page for a full listing of French courses beyond those mentioned here.

French 301: Advanced French Language/Writing Workshop - Development of competence in written expression in French, with special emphasis on stylistic variations, lexical nuances, and complex grammatical structures. Practice of different forms of French rhetoric and different styles in creative, argumentative, and analytical writings through literary, journalistic, historical, and philosophical texts. Revision and rewriting, with focus on in-class analysis and critique and individual conferences.

French 302S: Cultural and Literacy Perspectives - Designed to give students leaving intermediate French the reading and writing skills necessary to enter 300-level courses in French studies. Cultural and literary texts introducing students to contemporary French thought, and to how cultural practices, globalization, and immigration influence the formation of a French identity. Topics include stereotypes, family life, cuisine, youth culture, sports, language, media, and politics. NOTE: French 302S is not open to students who have received a 5 on the AP French Language and Culture exam.

French 303S: French for Current Affairs - Contemporary culture/civilization course on changes/controversies in France today. Sources from French media (press and TV). Current cultural, social, economic, political issues. Includes political institutions, media, religion, immigration, health and educational systems, foreign policy, France in the European Union. Equal emphasis on written/oral skills.

French 304S: French Composition and Translation - Advanced translation and stylistics. Cultural and social difference between French and English patterns in written and oral expression. Extensive practice in translation of different types of texts. Equivalencies between French and English. Recommended prerequisite: French 204 or equivalent.

French 321S: Business and Culture in the Francophone World - Analyzes current socio-economic and cross-cultural issues to increase understanding of global marketplace. Focus on oral and written communication, business and economic practices, labor issues, case studies, and product marketing in the Francophone world. 

French 329S: French Phonetics - Theory and practice of French pronunciation, corrective phonetics, intonation, accentuation, syllabification, elision and liaison. Focus on areas of speech production in French that are generally the most difficult for native speakers of English. Comprehension, dictation, and recitation exercises; interactive video and audio activities; self-assessment tasks; and end-of-term individual improvement grade.

See the 'Courses' tab near the top of the page for a full listing of French courses beyond those mentioned above.


Graphic for French @ Duke
Facebook logo

The French Language Program holds various cultural events during the semester : conversation tables, crêpe parties, cheese tastings, film screenings, dance workshops, pétanque matches, museum visits and more! Subscribe to the listserv to find out about these other French-related events on campus and online. Go to, log in with your NetID, and search for “French@Duke” to subscribe!

Dates, times and locations of these events are also announced on our Facebook page: French@Duke. Like it, follow us, check it out periodically to keep in touch with all our events and shared links, photos, videos and news!


La Table Francaise

La Table Française is a weekly conversation table which takes place every Monday from 5:30-6:30pm in Languages 114 (or on the front terrace of the building in warmer weather). Look for the French flag! It is open to everyone in the Duke Community who would like to speak French with us. All levels welcome!

Students around a table conversing in french.


French Cultural Events

There are many ways you can take part in cultural activities every semester and come practice your French with us. From learning the art of flipping crêpes, tasting smelly but delicious cheese, watching and discussing French and Francophone films, visiting the Nasher’s French collection, dancing to African rythms, and more ! The best way to be informed on dates, times and locations of these events every semester is by joining the French@Duke listserv. Go to, log in with your NetID, and search for “French@Duke,” then click on “subscribe.” You can also follow us on Facebook: French@DukeAll Duke students, faculty and staff are welcome to attend (even if you are not currently enrolled in a French class at Duke). We look forward to meeting you at our events ! A bientôt !

Questions about cultural events ? Ask your current professor in your French class, or email the cultural advisor for the French Language Program : Prof. Emma Howell at


Crepe Party
Students and profs mingle at our Crêpe party at the Smart Home 
Crepe Cooking
Prof. Germain Choffart with a student, teaching the art of flipping crêpes 
Francophone Africa Dance Workshop
Prof. Ava LaVonne Vinesett of the Dance Program leading the Francophone Africa Dance Workshop
Francophone Africa Dance Workshop
Prof. Laura Florand dancing with students at the Francophone Africa Dance Workshop
Francophone Africa Dance Workshop
Group movement at the Francophone Africa Dance Workshop
French Cheese Party
Discovering new kinds of French cheese at the Cheese Tasting event on the Terrace of the Languages Building
French collection at the Nasher
Ellen Raimond, Assistant Curator of Academic Initiatives, lead students through the French collection of the Nasher
VIP access to collection at the Nasher
VIP access to storage rooms during the Nasher visit of the French collection
French Cooking Event
Bon appétit! Professor Reisinger's French 302 students practice their French and their French cooking for Fête de la gastronomie. 

Online Resources

Fabula, la recherche en litterature -

Duke Libraries French and Francophone Studies Resources -


Students currently enrolled in the French Language Program courses at Duke University have several options for receiving out-of-class assistance. Note, tutoring is available for students who really struggle, NOT for cramming for quizzes or exams. See the schedule below.

  • French students may visit their Instructors during office hours to review material and receive individualized explanations.
  • Instructors may refer a currently enrolled student to the French Language Program tutor, which will allow the students to schedule a weekly appointment. Once referred, it is the student’s responsibility to schedule and keep appointments with the tutor. Appointments usually go between 15-30 minutes. This is a free service paid for by the Office of the Dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. To make an appointment, please contact your professor to be referred and then email the tutor whose hours you would like to attend. The schedule and contact information is attached below.
  • Students who are not having serious problems or just want to practice conversation may also sign up for Peer Tutoring with the Academic Resource Center. This is also a free service. 
  • Students who only want/need to practice their conversation skills can also go to the French tableCheck the French Facebook page for times and location. 

Tutoring Schedule

All appointments will take place via Zoom, using the Zoom Meeting IDs below. Please email the tutor whose hours you would like to attend to schedule an appointment (15-min or 30-min tutoring windows available). For a tutoring referral, please contact your course instructor.

If you are unable to attend your scheduled appointment, it is your responsibility to contact the tutor ahead of time to cancel and reschedule. Students who fail to show up for their scheduled tutoring appointments without notifying the tutor ahead of time may be unable to reserve tutoring appointments in the future.

Drop-in tutoring may be available, but cannot be guaranteed, as scheduled appointments take priority. 


Duke Global Education Office

Several programs offered through the Duke University Global Education Office for Undergraduates are jointly administered by the Department of Romance Studies, have faculty and staff participants in the programs, or involve a substantial Spanish language component. Please see the Global Education links below for the following programs:

There are also many other global education programs available that are administered by other organizations. See the Global Education Office website.

Art project class
Art project with Latino elementary students

Within the language programs in Romance Studies there are multiple opportunities for engagement in the community, the best venue for acquiring real-world linguistic and cultural knowledge. Student interaction with language communities provides occasions for developing civic engagement, cultural competence, political activism, and awareness of issues of social justice.

"Through my service experience, I have seen evidence of the themes that we have discussed in class and for me, it was a pretty heavy experience to see the topics from our readings and conversations in class occurring so close by in real life." (Spanish 307S)

small kids with student
Childcare during adult English class

Currently there are service-learning courses offered in French and Spanish. These courses require a commitment of 15-20 hours of service in the community in addition to traditional class contact hours.

“I’ve become very close with the family that I was assigned,” said Madeline Thornton, a junior majoring in French and global health. “Since I’m in the area this summer, I’ve been stopping by their home to read books with the children in order to keep up their English skills while they’re out of school. I’m grateful for Dr. Reisinger and the service learning program for connecting me with some life-long friends.” (French 270T)

four refugees
Refugees getting to know campus

Duke students interact with the community in many ways, such as getting to know community members during class visits and departmental events, visiting businesses in Durham, participating in international video conversations, and working alongside community members in service-learning courses. Some examples of service projects are working with refugees from Central Africa, organizing art activities for Latino/a elementary school students, and tutoring Latino/a adults in English.

"This course has been one of the most rewarding courses I have taken at Duke. I absolutely loved the component of interacting via Skype or meetings with different health organizations in Latin America. It was inspiring to talk to leaders who are actively working in an area many of us aspire to work in. A lot of time our goals feel like unattainable dreams but this course made them seem really real." (Spanish 306) 

students at potluck dinner
A potluck dinner between the English students and tutors

"Learning about [my partner's] personal experience has provided me with a more complete understanding of the roadblocks, whether fiscal, social, logistical or otherwise, to adapting to life in America as a refugee," said James Johnson, a senior majoring in biology with minors in chemistry and French." (French 325S)

See how Duke language programs participate in the Community-Based Language Initiative here