French Advising Handout and Text

About the French Program


The French section of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages offers courses in language, linguistics, literature, and culture. Students of French acquire the skills required to not only speak the language, but also to learn about and appreciate Francophone societies, cultures, and artistic expressions.​

Where is French spoken?​

French is spoken in over 50 countries, making it one of the most widespread languages of the world. It is estimated that the number of first- and second-language speakers of French worldwide is about 230 million people. It is an official, co-official, or de facto national language of 29 countries. Countries using French as either a first or a second language are located on four continents. Four of them are in Europe: France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Luxembourg. Two are in the Americas: Canada and Haiti. There are also several overseas departments (Martinique, Guadeloupe, La Réunion, Mayotte, and French Guiana) and territories (French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, etc.) of France. Several countries in Africa and Asia have a strong Francophone presence. French is a major second language in Arabic-speaking Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. Africa has a large and growing population of French speakers, with the number of first-and second-language speakers exceeding 100 million.​

French is one of the official languages of the United Nations (UN), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the European Union (EU). The International Francophone Organization includes 84 member states and governments (58 members and 26 observers).​

French is one of the most studied foreign languages. In the US, French is the second most-studied foreign language in schools, after Spanish.​

French Speaking Nations

  • Algeria
  • Belgium
  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameron
  • Canada
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Cote d' Ivoire
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • France
  • French Guiana
  • French Polynesia
  • Gabon
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guinea
  • Haiti
  • Laos
  • Luxembourg
  • Madagascar
  • Mali
  • Martinique
  • Mauritania
  • Mayotte (Comoros)
  • Monaco
  • Morocco
  • New Caledonia Niger
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Reunion
  • Rwanda
  • Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon
  • Senegal
  • Seychelles
  • Switzerland
  • Togo
  • Tunisia
  • Vanuatu
  • Vietnam
  • Wallis-et-Futura

Requirements for a Minor in French​

  • 30 credits above the 100 level
  • Maximum of 15 credits at the 200 level
  • At least 50% of the credits required for the minor must be earned at WWU
  • C- is the minimum grade needed for a class to count for the minor
  • French 425 is not applicable to minor

Required Courses

  • French 301 (Grammar Review and Composition). Only taught in fall
  • Two other upper-level French courses. French 385 (Culture and Conversation) is not repeatable for credit for minor.

A French Major is just 6 classes away…​

  • 60 credits above the 100 level
  • Maximum of 15 credits at the 200 level
  • GPA of 2.50 or above in major​
  • At least 50 % of the credits required for the major must be earned at WWU​
  • C- is the minimum grade needed for a class to count for the major
  • French 425 is not applicable to major

Required Courses​

  • French 301 (Grammar Review and Composition). Only taught in fall
  • French 314 (Phonetics)
  • French 331 or 332 (Culture and Civilization)
  • Two of French 340, 341, 342 (French Literature)
  • French 385 (Culture and Conversation). The course is repeatable for credit; 10-credits maximum including original course)
  • French 401 (Advanced Composition). Usually taught in fall. One other 400-level French course
  • At least one 400-level course must be taken at Western

Note that in addition to all the required courses, 20 elective credits in French are needed to complete a major in French. ​

Those credits can be obtained by taking the French 200 level courses and any French 300 or 400 level course not already completed as a required course (for majors FR 385 is repeatable for a max of 10 credits provided that the subject matter is different each time)​

FR 425: Teach Learn Elementary French


Written permission from instructor and two upper-division French courses.


  • In order to get the two credits for the course, students will have to tutor beginning French students 4 hours a week throughout the quarter.
  • Schedule arrangement needs to be discussed with instructor.
  • Students can register only twice for the course (max 4 credits).
  • Credits are not applicable to minor or major but count as upper-level credits for WWU degree requirements.

Can I do a dual or double major?

Dual Major in French and another Language

50 credits for each major.

Double Major in French and Linguistics​

See Linguistics advisor for info.​

Other popular double major combinations with a French major are:​

  • International Business
  • Journalism ​
  • History​
  • Political sciences​
  • Environmental Studies​

If you wish to do a dual or double major it is important that you meet with the advisors in both programs or departments to draft a study plan ahead of time​.

What is a French Major with Teaching Endorsement?

The BA in French leads to a BA degree without teacher certification. In order to receive a recommendation for state of Washington certification students must complete the “teacher certification” program which is offered by the Department of Secondary Education.​


70 credits (58 additional credits for teacher certification)​

Language requirements​

French BA (60 credits)​

Note: FR 401 (Advanced Composition) and LANG 401 are only offered in fall. See schedule in advance or talk to advisors to carefully plan your future registration.​

Endorsement requirements​

LANG 410 - World Language Instruction: Theory and Method I​

Prerequisites: 6 credits in one world language beyond second year; Grade of B or better in LING 201 or instructor permission.​

To be taken prior to field experience. Theory of world language instruction. Topics include contrastive analysis of English with target language; comparative first and second language acquisition; cognitive, attitudinal and political dimensions.​

LANG 410 - World Language Instruction: Theory and Method I ​

Prerequisites: LANG 410.​

A passing score on the World Languages WEST-E test, and proficiency in the designated world language assessed by ACTFL oral and written tests at the Advanced-Low level, are required by the state.​

Complete the professional preparation program in secondary education. See the Secondary Education section of this catalog for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements.​

Grade Requirements​

  • Students must earn a grade of C (2.0) or better in the secondary education professional program and in all courses required for the endorsement.
  • A GPA of 3.00 is required in the language major and a GPA of 3.00 or above is required in endorsement courses.

See the Secondary Education section of Western's catalog for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements.​

How and when to declare my French Major?

Procedure for Declaring a Major or Minor in French​

Typically students declare a minor or major in French after or near completion of FR 203 or FR 301.​

When meeting with the advisor, you should bring:​

  • The documentation for courses taken abroad or at other universities

Students who enter at the 301-level may request AP credit from the department for courses (GURs) numbered 201, 202, and 203 upon successful completion of FR 301 and another 300 level French course with at least a B in each course.  ​

At least 50 % of the credits required for a major or minor must be earned at Western.

Plan of Study for Students Majoring in French​

When declaring their major in French, students should carefully review with the French advisor their plan of study, the requirements for the French BA, the course offerings for future quarters and the prerequisites for upper-level French courses to ensure that they have enough quarters ahead of them to complete the major. (For instance, students declaring a major in the fall when in FR 301, unless studying abroad, will need at least 4 additional quarters –Winter/Spring/Fall/Winter– to complete their major in French. Note that French upper-level courses are rarely offered in the summer)​

Due to the structure of the program and staffing limitation, Independent Studies in French are only allowed for 1 or 2 credits. Students can obtain these credits by taking a regular French course and completing additional assignment(s) for credits. Independent Study cannot be taken in lieu of a course offered during the year.​

FR 401 is only offered in the fall and is a requirement for all 400-level seminars. ​

Study Abroad​

We offer a variety of programs that provide educational experiences for students to live and study in another French-speaking country. Special application and registration procedures are required for participation in foreign study programs, and students should consult with the Education Abroad office, Miller Hall 208, well in advance of their planned quarter abroad, as well as with the study abroad advisor of the language section to discuss transfer credit.