Studying French at Wake Forest opens up new perspectives on the world around us and on ourselves. The goals of our program focus on language proficiency, intercultural competence, and critical thinking. Students develop communication skills in French, engage with global Francophone cultures, and hone their analytical skills.

In the French Studies Department, students at all levels benefit from engaging courses with dedicated professors, small class sizes with individualized attention, and many opportunities to practice French and to grow as learners.

The best part about studying French at Wake is the professors. They make an effort to connect with their students, and my French has improved because of it.

Daniel Parolini (’24)

French course placement

Students who have never studied French begin in Elementary French. Most beginning French students take the 2-course sequence, FRH 111 (fall) and FRH 112 (spring). Students who have a strong background in another language may consider Intensive Elementary French, FRH 113 (fall), which covers the same material as FRH 111-112 in one semester. Students who wish to take FRH 113 should contact the professor(s) teaching the course (see the registration portal) for guidance.

The French course placement of students who studied French in high school is determined by their results on the WFU Foreign Language Placement Test (FLPT), or on the Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam.

Elementary and Intermediate French

In Elementary French (FRH 111-112 or FRH 113), students learn to communicate orally and in writing on familiar topics in French, begin to acquire listening and reading skills, and encounter the breadth of the Francophone world. Our students find the beginning French courses energizing and eye-opening!

In Intermediate French (FRH 153 or FRH 154), students engage more deeply with a variety of cultural perspectives from across the Francophone world as they develop their abilities in speaking, listening, reading and writing in French. At this level, students are delighted with their deepening French communication skills and their discovery of new ways of looking at the world around them!

WFU Basic Language Requirement

Course placement

Most students take FRH 212 to fulfill the WFU basic requirement in a language. Incoming students with strong French placement results – through Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or the WFU Placement Test – may choose to take FRH 214 (Honors). Both courses serve as a bridge to upper-level French courses.

Course descriptions

In FRH 212: Exploring the French and Francophone World, students discover a variety of voices and perspectives from different historical periods and from cultures across the French-speaking world, including Africa, the Caribbean, and Europe. Students hone their French speaking skills through the exchange of ideas in class discussion and small group conversational activities, and improve their capacities in reading and analysis through close attention to language and style. Short writing assignments with targeted grammar review help students improve their writing skills and increase their vocabulary.

FRH 214: Encounters: French and Francophone Literature and Culture (Honors) is designed for incoming students with a strong high school background in French. The Honors course offers the opportunity to participate in a dynamic, discussion-based class and to develop skills in reading and analyzing texts in a variety of genres (poetry, prose, theater, film) from across the French-speaking world. Students in this Honors class often form a “francophone” community that extends well beyond their first semester at WFU.