Off-Campus Studies can help French students…

  • Improve foreign language skills
  • Gain awareness of the major discipline from a different scholarly tradition
  • Develop global perspectives
  • Expand cross-cultural communication and problem-solving skills
  • Prepare for an increasingly diverse and international workplace

How does a semester or year of OCS help students in French prepare for graduate school or various career opportunities? 

  • Most students experience significant linguistic development through off-campus studies in the French-speaking world even if the student studies abroad for just one semester.
  • Broad exposure to French or Francophone culture, specialized course work, and internship opportunities for career development

As a general rule of thumb, the French Department recommends the following for students who wish to study off campus.

  • First and second-year students who intend to study abroad in the French-speaking world should keep in mind that most programs taught in French require that students have completed a minimum second-year French (FREN 200) prior to enrollment.  However, we strongly recommend that students planning on studying in French complete at least one semester of third-year French prior to studying abroad.  The more French courses a student has prior to departure the better.
  • Students with little or no background in French prior to entering Whitman should take FREN 100 and FREN 150 their first year.  Students who have a previous background in the language should take the French placement test prior to registering for classes their first semester and enroll in a French course at the appropriate level.
  • It may be advantageous for students to study off campus during the fall semester of their junior year, because they will have more time after returning to campus to benefit from their enhanced language skills.  Also, off-campus study during the fall semester gives students more time to prepare for senior exams.
  • A full year of off-campus study will yield the greatest linguistic benefit.  In many cases, students are able to obtain 12 credits in French language and literature in just one semester.
  • Note to Heritage speakers of French and students with a strong background in French: Program admission applications will require at least one graded French course on your Whitman transcript at the time of application.

Which requirements can French majors fulfill while off campus?

  • Elective major credit from courses in French language and literature
    Note: Courses in other disciplines (e.g. history, politics) taught in French may not transfer to the French major.
  • General Studies distribution credit
  • General degree credit

Major Credit Limitations

  • The maximum number of credits that can be applied to the French major from off campus studies (including AP credit, IB credit and credits from other U.S. institutions) is 12 credits with the approval of your major adviser.   All transfer credits in French must be equivalent to 300 or 400-level courses.

Minor Credit Limitations

  • A minimum of three-fifths of the specific course and credit requirements for the minor must be completed in the on-campus program of the college.

What are the types of OCS programs recommended by the French department?

  • Traditional campus-based program that combines courses for foreign students (including French language courses) with opportunities for direct enrollment at a university abroad
  • Program that offers an opportunity for independent study research
  • Program that offers an opportunity for an internship or service learning embedded in an academic course as part of the program

Which Partner Programs are recommended by the French department?

  • IES: Nantes French Language Immersion and Area Studies (France)
  • Middlebury: Studies in Paris Program (France)

Students interested in Off-Campus Studies should attend an OCS First Step meeting in the fall of their second year, discuss their interests with their major adviser, and schedule an appointment with an OCS adviser.