French Major Study Away Advising Guide

The Global Education Office and the World Languages & Cultures Department have compiled the following information for French majors to assist in planning for a semester of study away. Students are not required but are highly recommended to study abroad in a French-speaking country if they major in French and should let their Academic Advisor know as soon as possible about their plan to study away so they can help fit this experience into the student’s graduation plan.

Academic Planning Prior to Going Away

Successfully Complete the Following Courses Before Studying Away

In order to be eligible to study away, students in the French major must successfully complete the following courses at Allegheny prior to studying away:

  • FS-101, FS-102 OR SWS-105 *wording TBD 
  • Depending on the program, a level of proficiency in French may be required; see below.

When should I study away?

Students in the French major should study away by the end of their junior year. 

For students who began French at Allegheny (i.e., who started in FRNCH 110 in their first year), the optimal time to study away is in the fall of junior year, immediately after completing FRNCH 225, as this timing allows them to make maximum progress abroad toward completing their major; they should plan their non-French courses and other activities carefully to allow this. 

Students who placed above FRNCH 120 for their first course at Allegheny may have more flexibility in the timing of study away; for example, some may opt to go in their sophomore or junior spring. 

Allegheny’s graduation requirements state that a student’s final 16 semester credit hours before graduation must be taken in academic residence on campus, therefore study away during the second-semester senior year is not allowed without the permission of the Dean’s Exemption Committee.

Plan Around Your Junior Seminar/Senior Project

The French major requires a Junior/Senior Seminar, which is usually taken in the fall of students’ 4th year, rather than a Junior Seminar, in order to free students up for the possibility of spending either semester or the entire Junior year abroad. 

The French Senior Project is a two-semester senior project, so students are encouraged not to study away in their senior year.

Courses that Must Be Taken on Campus

The following courses in the French major cannot be taken during a study-away program: 

  • Two of the four 300-level literature & culture courses required for the major (may be taken before or after study away). Students who wish to spend a full year abroad should consult with French faculty about this requirement.
  • FRNCH 580
  • FRNCH 600
  • FRNCH 610 (all typically taken senior fall & spring.)

How Studying Away Counts Towards the Major

For a French major, study away is first and foremost an unparalleled opportunity to live in the language and culture they’re studying in an immersive way that can’t be replicated in the classroom!

Students may transfer up to 16 credits from one semester abroad toward their French major. Students who wish to spend a full year abroad should consult with French faculty about transferring credits toward the major.

Courses taken abroad to count toward the French major must be French language courses appropriate to the student’s level or engage with the (an) aspect(s) of the culture of a French-speaking location (usually the one where the program is located). The language of instruction must be French.

8 credits from abroad may be applied to the 16-credit 300-level literature and culture requirement for the major; 8 credits of this requirement must be taken on campus.

Depending on the program abroad, students may also be able to take courses to count toward their minor (or, for double majors, their other major) while abroad, in addition to the courses they will apply to their French major.

Suggested Programs for French Majors in the World Languages & Cultures Department

The following is a highlighted list of sponsored study away programs that have approved coursework for the French major and offer first-hand experience in a French-speaking country. The main distinguishing features are given; details for each at the links provided.
French-only Programs

These programs allow students to take all courses with French as the language of instruction and maximize progress toward the French major. 

Program Name Distinguishing Features
France –  Internship in Paris (BU) 3 courses in language & culture + French-speaking internship related to student’s interests & career goals. Complete FRNCH 225 before departure. 

France – Liberal Arts in Rennes (CIEE) Fully immersive liberal arts program including pledge to use French at all times. Courses in French language, culture, and society. Complete FRNCH 225 before departure.

Senegal – International Development in Dakar (MSID) Focused on International Development. Optional French language pre-session + 3 courses + field placement (internship or research). Complete FRNCH 225 before departure.

French/English Programs

Some courses in these programs are likely to be taken in English, and will not count toward the French major, although students may apply them to other majors or minors. They offer the ability to study abroad before completing FRNCH 225. 

Program Name Distinguishing Features
France – Language + Culture in Toulouse (CIEE) Suitable for beginning and intermediate-level French speakers. Students take a French language course and use French outside the classroom; many other courses are in English. Complete FRNCH 225 before departure in order to take French-taught courses.

France – Business + Culture in Toulouse (CIEE) Suitable for beginning and intermediate-level French speakers. Students take courses in the French language and use French outside the classroom. Courses in culture and business. Internship option. Many courses in English. Complete FRNCH 225 before departure in order to take French-taught courses.

Morocco – Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (Exchange) Students take courses from across the curriculum at the host institution. Beginning through advanced French language courses available. This program is not focused on French specifically but may appeal to students who wish to experience French-speaking North Africa.