FAQ

FAQ Topics


 

Language Proficiency Requirement

How many French classes do I need to take to fulfill the BC language proficiency requirement?

All students in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Carroll School of Management must demonstrate competency in a foreign language before graduation. The required competency is equivalent to four semesters of study of a single foreign language up to and including Intermediate French II (FREN1110). (CSOM offers additional options for fulfilling the language requirement). The Lynch School of Education and the Connell School of Nursing do not have a language requirement.

Does the AP French Language Exam fulfill the BC language proficiency requirement?

Yes. If you scored a 3 or above on the AP French Language Exam you have already fulfilled the BC language proficiency requirement. But you are stronly encouraged to continue your study of French at Boston College.

Does the French SAT Subject Test in French fulfill the BC language proficiency requirement?

Yes. If you scored 550 or above on the SAT Subject Test in French, you have already fulfilled the BC language proficiency requirement. But you are stronly encouraged to continue your study of French at Boston College. (Note that either form of the SAT Subject Test is acceptable: with or without the listening component.)

Can the online placement test be used to fulfill the BC language proficiency requirement?

No. The online test helps students who have already studied French with placement but it cannot be used to fulfill the language proficiency requirement. After they take the placement test, students receive a course recommendation in order to enroll during the registration period. During the first week of class, instructors will confirm students’ placement. If needed, a change will be made.

Am I allowed to take a course on a pass/fail basis to fulfill the University’s language proficiency requirement?

No. Students may not take foreign language courses on a pass/fail basis until they have completed the University’s language proficiency requirement.

Do I have to take a language course at BC if I have already fulfilled the language proficiency requirement?

No, but you are welcome to continue studying French if you would like to improve your language skills. We also offer upper level courses for students who want to become highly proficient in French.

Questions about Placement

Who has to take the BC French placement test?

Students who wish to continue studying French but who scored less than 3 on the French Language AP exam or less than 550 on the SAT II Subject Test need to take the placement test, as do students who have not taken either exam.

Do I earn credits by taking the BC French placement test?

No. Credits are not earned by taking the BC language placement test.

Can I fulfill the Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement by taking the BC French placement test?

No. You cannot fulfill the Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement by taking the BC language placement test.  Students can take the SAT II Subject Test and fulfill the proficiency requirement with a score of 550 or better.

How do I know what French language class I should register for?

Freshmen who score above 3 on the AP French Language Exam or above 550 on the SAT II French Language Exam will be placed in the upper level courses (please consult the General Guidelines for Placement on our web page to determine the appropriate course). Freshmen who studied French in high school but did not take the AP French Language Exam or the SAT II Language Exam are required to take the BC French language placement test to determine what course they should register for.

What courses do I need to take if I have never studied French?

If you have never studied French, you do not need to take the placement test. Enroll in Elementary French I (FREN1009) and Elementary French Practicum I (FREN1011) or Intensive Elementary French for Proficiency (FREN1042). FREN1011 is an intensive, one-credit supplementary course open to all students concurrently enrolled in FREN1009 who feel they need extra practice to fine-tune their French skills. Students with no previous experience in French will be given priority for enrollment.

What do I do if I feel like the course in which I was placed is not the right fit?

If you feel that the course in which you were placed is not appropriate for you, talk to your instructor or the course Coordinator. Remember that in order to be admitted to a course for which you do not have the corresponding test scores, you need permission from the Coordinator. Please stop by during the special placement office hours offered during the first week of classes to see the Coordinator of Elementary and Intermediate French, Prof. Andréa Javel (javel@bc.edu) or the Coordinator of CCR, Prof. Jeff Flagg (flaggj@bc.edu).

Which course should I take if I am a native speaker of French or I have learned French at home?

Your placement may require special consideration depending on factors such as whether French is your first or second language, whether you attended school in a French speaking country, and whether you studied French in high school. For accurate placement, please contact the Coordinator of CCR, Prof. Jeff Flagg (flaggj@bc.edu).

Doubts about Course Selection

What can I do if I still have doubts about my course selection?

At the beginning of each semester, the coordinators of the French Language Program offer special placement office hours to help students who still have doubts about their placement. Your instructor will inform you about the dates and time.

Additionally, every semester the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures organizes (in November and April) a Pre-Registration Open House in the Lyons 3rd floor hallway for all students interested in taking courses within the Department. Our faculty will inform you about our course offerings and give you personalized advice in order for you to choose the best French courses. For further details about the next Open House, please contact: rll@bc.edu

Major and Minor in French

Which language courses count towards the major in FRENCH?

Conversation, Composition and Reading II (FREN2210) and the Foundation Courses may be credited toward the major in French.

Can I take French literature courses without having taken any French language courses at BC?

In order to prepare for French literature courses, you need to take at least two Foundation Courses (see General Guidelines for Placement on our webpage). Mastering the language is essential to understanding complex literary texts in French and to be able to write academic papers in the target language.

Which language courses count towards the minor in FRENCH?

Conversation, Composition and Reading I (FREN2209) and Conversation, Composition and Reading II (FREN2210) and the Foundation Courses may be credited toward the minor in French.

Can I take French literature courses without having taken any French language courses at BC?

In order to prepare for French literature courses, you need to take at least two Foundation Courses (see General Guidelines for Placement on our webpage). Mastering the language is essential to understanding complex literary texts in French and to be able to write academic papers in the target language. 

Course Procedures

What if the language course I need to take is full?

You need to try to register in another section. After the add/drop period ends, you will not be able to add a language course.

What if I want to take an incomplete in my current French language class and finish it later?

A final course grade of I (Incomplete) is rarely assigned in French language courses and may only be considered an option in cases where an unexpected, extreme situation –such as a personal or medical emergency– prevents a student from completing the final major assignment(s) of the course. A student must be passing in order to be considered for an incomplete and the request must be made after the automatic “W” deadline has passed. A petition for an incomplete must be accompanied by appropriate and verifiable documentation. Incompletes are not issued due to chronic missed work or absences over the course of the semester; a withdrawal is more appropriate for such students.

Academic Support

What can I do if I am experiencing academic challenges in my current course? 
Your instructor is required to hold office hours each week. Make a list of your questions and/or concerns before attending your instructor’s office hours. If these hours conflict with your class schedule, speak with him/her about arranging an alternate time to meet. Most instructors are flexible and will be willing to meet with you to discuss ways to improve your performance in the class and how to strengthen your skills.

Another resource is the Connors Family Learning Center (CFLC), which offers free tutoring services in Spanish for students who wish to improve their understanding or further challenge themselves. Please contact the Center to get more information about language tutoring services

What should I do if I have a disability and would like to request accommodations for my course?
Students should contact either Kathy Duggan (kathleen.duggan@bc.edu), the Associate Director, Academic Support Services, of the Connors Family Learning Center (learning disabilities and ADHD) or Paulette Durrett (paulette.durrett@bc.edu) who is the Assistant Dean for Students with Disabilities (all other disabilities) to make accommodations at least 7 days prior for coursework, tests, assessments, support, etc. Students should submit documentation to them at the beginning of the term.

Study Abroad

Do I have to take French courses at BC in order to study abroad in a French speaking country?

Regardless of their level of proficiency, students are recommended to take at least one language course at BC before studying abroad. Most integrated programs require that the student complete CCR II or a more advanced course in order to qualify. Please contact the OIP (Office of International Programs) to learn more about specific language requirements for study abroad and make your academic plans accordingly.

Can I take language and literature courses after my study abroad?

Yes. The French Section (of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures) offers a variety of language courses that can be chosen as electives. We strongly encourage students to continue studying French after studying abroad in order to maintain and improve their proficiency, and to take literature courses in our Department as well. After studying abroad you may also want to consider the possibility of declaring a major or minor in French.

Other opportunities to practice French on campus

Where can I practice my French outside the classroom?

During the semester we offer an opportunity for French conversation through our Salon de thé, which meets on a weekly basis. This is a unique opportunity for all students, whether or not they are enrolled in French language courses, to practice and improve oral skills in a relaxed and informal environment with faculty, native speakers, and other students. Check the calendar of the Maison Française for specific dates and times. 

Students interested in a more immersive program are encouraged to apply for housing in La Maison Française. This special interest housing floor offers daily practice, and cultural experiences in an intimate community committed to speaking French.

Am I eligible to apply for housing at La Maison Française?

Students are invited to apply for residence at La Maison Française (Vouté Hall) in the Spring of their Freshman, Sophomore or Junior years. Applicants should have at least moderate proficiency in French; native speakers will be considered, but preference is given to non-native speakers. Interested candidates are strongly encouraged to participate in house activities open to the public during the year before they apply.