Off-Campus Studies Mission Statement

Off-Campus Studies at Whitman College aims to develop in our students intercultural skills and global understanding for a lifetime of leadership.  We endeavor to achieve this goal by:

  • Providing off-campus study opportunities worldwide that offer high-quality academic content, instruction and evaluation.
  • Expanding learning opportunities for students and integrating the learning off-campus into their academic program to the fullest extent possible.
  • Promoting programs that increase a student’s foreign language and intercultural fluency.
  • Offering programs that foster an ability to question assumptions and think critically in the context of other worldviews.
  • Ensuring that programs are well integrated into the host community and encourage immersion of the student into the host culture. 
  • Developing the means by which returning students can actively contribute to international awareness and programming on campus, as well as in the Walla Walla community.

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

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

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

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

Planning Tips

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 11 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.

Credit Limitations

A maximum number of 11 credits may be transferred to the French major and a maximum of 6 credits to the French minor from off-campus studies (including credits from other U.S. institutions).  Credit transfer must be approved by the student’s major adviser.  All transfer credits in French must be equivalent to 300 or 400-level courses.

Which Partner Programs are recommended by the French department?

  • IES Nantes, France
  • Middlebury in Paris, France

Advising Support

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.