Calvin's French major is a 31-credit hour program that will help you develop both language and cultural proficiency through courses and numerous cultural engagement opportunities. Use this major to prepare for further study in graduate school, as a subject matter concentration for the teacher education program or as a complement to other majors and minors at Calvin, such as engineering, business, history and philosophy.

Course Requirements


French honors requirements

  1. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 and a minimum of six honors courses (18 hours minimum), including at least three honors courses in the major and two outside the major;
  2. A minimum GPA in French of at least 3.5;
  3. The completion of an honors component in at least three courses in the French Department from the following: 301 or 302, 351, 361, 362, 363, 372, 373, 374, 375, 381, 394, 395, 396. (Note: a student may complete an honors component in the core-level courses to fulfill the general honors requirement).
  4. The satisfactory completion of a senior honors thesis, to be completed when taking a course from the French Literature cluster (394, 395, 396) for capstone credit and presented orally to members of the department faculty.

Who to contact

The advisor for the honors program is Jolene Vos-Camy. Learn more about The Calvin Honors Program..

Placement tests

As an incoming student interested in French, you will be asked to take an online placement test prior to your PASSPORT orientation session. If you are considering a French major, you will talk to a faculty advisor during orientation who can help you with placement in the correct French class. Once you are in a French class, if you find it too difficult or too easy, speak with your advisor, or another professor in the French department about changing classes to the appropriate level.

Competency examinations

All French majors are required to take the competency exam administered by the French Department.

To take the competency examination in the fall, register with Prof. J. Vos-Camy, in October. To take the competency examination in the spring semester, students must register with Prof. J. Vos-Camy, in February. The date of the spring exam is announced in the fall.

Tips to succeed in the competency exam

  1. Review. Begin early a systematic review of grammar. For review, the French 302 text is recommended: Contrastes.
  2. Read. One of the best ways to review is to read a variety of materials: magazines, newspapers, plays, novels, etc. This will improve vocabulary, as well as reinforce grammatical skills.
  3. Write. A useful way to maintain writing skills is to keep a journal. One should begin practicing writing short paragraphs and essays several weeks prior to the exam.
  4. Speak and listen. Find and utilize opportunities afforded on campus for conversation and listening comprehension. Activities such as French Chapel, French Table, and the French Film series offer the opportunity to refresh and maintain listening and speaking skills. French language programming is also available through TV5 on Calvin's cable channel 15.

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