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 a recent (less than 1 year old) AP or IB SL scores, you should use that score as your guide for selecting a course. For help in placement using tests not listed here, test scores more than 1 year old, or for any other questions related to placement, please contact the French Language Program director at email@example.com. Please note that your course instructor will confirm your placement during the drop/add period at the beginning of the semester and, if necessary, will help you select a different class.
|If you have this background and/or test score:||You should take this course:|
Elementary French - 100 level courses
French 101: Elementary French 1 - French 101 introduces the essential elements of the language and aspects of Francophone cultures. Speaking, listening comprehension, reading, writing, and intercultural communication skills receive equal attention via engagement with a variety of authentic materials in a highly interactive setting. Fall and Spring. Conducted in French. Four class meetings a week.
|French 102: Elementary French 2 - French 102 expands upon the essential elements of the language and aspects of Francophone cultures. Speaking, listening comprehension, reading, writing, and intercultural communication skills receive equal attention via engagement with a variety of authentic materials in a highly interactive setting. Fall and Spring. Conducted in French. Four class meetings a week.|
Intermediate French - 200 level courses
French 203: Intermediate French Language and Culture. French 203 is the third-semester French course. Continued development of speaking, listening comprehension, reading, writing, and intercultural communication skills and via engagement with authentic materials that explore Francophone cultures. Includes a comprehensive review of essential structures and vocabulary. Fall and Spring. Conducted in French. Three class meetings a week.
||French 204: Advanced Intermediate French Language and Culture. This advanced intermediate French course focuses on developing more sophisticated interpersonal, interpretive, presentational, and intercultural communication skills. As the semester progresses, you will learn skills in interpreting cinematographic and literary works and gain confidence in your French as you review grammar and vocabulary and learn to express yourselves and understand others in increasingly complex and abstract ways. Guided essay writing on topics related to the readings and discussion. Fall and Spring. Three class meetings a week.|
Advanced French - 300 level courses
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 308s: Manger. An exploration of our relationship with food and its cultural and societal roles in French-speaking countries, from French gastronomy to the historical and economic influences that have determined our current systems of food production, what effects those systems have on immigration, equity, and climate, and the movements that seek to bring about changes in the ways people produce and consume food. A strong emphasis on experiential learning, including community engagement in systems of food access and production, as well as work with chefs and the study of French-language narrative, culinary, scholarly, and journalistic writing and other cultural documents. Fall only. Two class meetings a week.
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 325s: Global Displacement: Voix Francophones. Explores migration and resettlement of Francophone refugees in North America through examination of current policy, law, and practice. Analysis of personal interviews and narratives with attention to ethical questions related to politics of listening to and speaking for other communities. Community-based language component (20 hours) engages students with refugee community in Durham. Conducted in French. Recommended prerequisite: one course at 300-level or equivalent. Fall only. Two class meetings a week.
See the 'Courses' tab near the top of the page for a full listing of French courses beyond those mentioned above.
* These placement guidelines are intended for scores that are less than one academic year old. For placement help with scores that are more than one year old, please contact the French Language Program Director (firstname.lastname@example.org).
** For help in determining placement using IB HL scores, please contact the French Language Program Director (email@example.com)
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 lists.duke.edu, 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 that takes place every Wednesday from 5-6pm in the Chaplin Family Study Room on the second floor of Brodhead. 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!
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 lists.duke.edu, log in with your NetID, and search for “French@Duke,” then click on “subscribe.” You can also follow us on Facebook: French@Duke. All 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 table. Check the French Facebook page for times and location.
Both Zoom and in-person appointments are available - please see the tutoring schedule below for available times and formats.
To schedule a tutoring appointment, first contact your course instructor to discuss a referral. Once you have received a referral from your instructor, please email the tutor whose hours you would like to attend to schedule an appointment (see link below for contact information).
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 will be unable to reserve tutoring appointments in the future.
Drop-in tutoring may be available, but cannot be guaranteed, as schedule appointments take priority.
Fall 2022 French Language Program Tutoring Schedule forthcoming!
Transferring a language course to Duke from another institution - for instance, if you are transferring to Duke from another institution - may involved up to three separate steps:
- Obtaining course credit which counts towards fulfilling the 34 courses required for graduation,
- Obtaining Mode of Inquiry FL (Foreign Language) coding which counts towards fulfilling your language requirement, and
- Determining the next language course you need to take at Duke to fulfill your language requirement (if it is not completed by the transfer course).
NOTE: Obtaining French 100 or French 300 credit toward the 34 courses required for graduation does not automatically mean the course will also receive the Mode of Inquiry FL code. Likewise, obtaining a Mode of Inquiry FL code for a transfer course does not automatically mean that you will be prepared to successfully complete a French course at Duke at a higher level. Please familiarize yourself with the policy regarding transfer credit for Modes of Inquiry here: https://trinity.duke.edu/undergraduate/academic-policies/transfer-credit. Please note that courses taken at a domestic institution - for example, taking a French course at a local university over summer break - will not be considered for FL credit.
In order to transfer to Duke and count as one course credit toward your graduation, the first requirement is that the French course must not have fewer contact hours than the equivalent course taught on campus at Duke. A Duke language course contact hour is no less than 50 minutes.
- Minimum required contact hours:
- French 101-102: 70 hours
- French 203+: 45 hours
In addition to fulfilling the contact hour requirement, French courses that are to be transferred for elective credit must meet the following specific minimum requirements:
- All coursework and class discussion in French - culture or content courses taught in another language will not be considered for transfer credit.
- Substantive linguistic and cultural content.
- Class size must not exceed 20 students.
NOTE: You may not apply for transfer credit for French Language Program courses below your placement level. For example, if you have taken 3 years of high school French, you may not apply to receive transfer credit for a French 101-equivalent course.
Download the transfer credit form (available here: https://trinity.duke.edu/sites/trinity.duke.edu/files/documents/MOI_transfer-credit-fl-coding-02-2012.original.pdf), read the guidelines, and turn in the completed form and required documentation the Kim Travlos, Program Coordinator in Romance Studies (email@example.com).
If approved, the course will be listed on the form as an elective course in French (French 100 for an introductory or intermediate level course; French 300 for an advanced level course). You will then need to provide the completed paperwork to your academic dean.
For a course that was approved for transfer to Duke by the DUS in Romance Studies and your academic dean with a course number of French 100, the requirement for obtaining a FL code is that the transfer course must be equivalent to the corresponding Duke language course. The requirements for establishing equivalency are given below.
- Language Modalities: Speaking, writing, listening, reading, culture.
- Teaching Methodology: Communicative, content based approach; language use in context; use of authentic materials; use of audio and video for development of listening comprehension; regular assignments that focus on writing as a process. Cultural component integrated into teaching and assessment practices.
- Writing component: Demonstrated completion of both formal (compositions with multiple drafts) and informal (blog posts, written reflections, etc.) writing. Length of compositions for French 101-102 should be 1-2 pages, 3 pages for French 203, and at least 5 pages for French 204. for Spanish 102 is 1 page and 1 page and a half; Spanish 203 and Spanish 204 is 2 pages.
- Evaluation: For French 101-204, students should be evaluated on all language modalities: via quizzes and exams, midterm and final assessments, and oral assessments.
- Reading: Students should be exposed to extensive level-appropropriate reading.
- Class size must not exceed 20 students.
- French 101 must cover at least half of traditional university-level elementary textbook, or its equivalent
- French 102 must complete the study of a traditional elementary textbook, or its equivalent
- French 203 must include a complete review of elementary grammar (everything covered in French 101 and 102), application of reading strategies to progressively longer authentic texts, and regular speaking practice.
- French 204 must include a complete review of basic intermediate level grammar, discussion of a diversity of literary texts and other media (film, news, short essays, cartoons, etc.). Reading assignments must include at least one novel-length work not adapted for classroom use.
- French 300-level must include advanced-level coursework consisting of extensive reading, writing of longer papers involving multiple revisions, and extensive discussion and presentational components.
If you do not receive FL coding for your transfer course, or if your FL-coded transfer course is not the final course in your FL sequence, please contact the Director of the French Language Program (firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule a placement interview to determine the appropriate course for you to continue your French studies at Duke.
For a detailed presentation of the transfer application process and more information about the paperwork and documentation required, please see:
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:
- Duke in France/EDUCO (Fall, Spring, Academic Year)
- Duke in Montreal (Summer)
- Duke in Paris (Summer)
- Duke in Aix-en-Provence (Summer)
There are also many other global education programs available that are administered by other organizations. See the Global Education Office website.
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)
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)
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)
"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.