Questions about Language Classes


The Undergraduate Bulletin says something about a Placement Exam. What’s that?

The Placement Exam is primarily intended for students who have had French in high school but did not take the AP or SAT II. The online placement exam may be taken at any time but we strongly recommend students take the exam no later than two weeks before the first day of registration. You may only take the exam once. Under no circumstance may students place themselves.

When I tried to register for a French class everything I wanted was full. What can I do?

There are a number of reasons class sizes are limited, but the most important of them is to ensure that every student has the best learning experience possible.

If there are compelling extenuating circumstances that you believe should be taken into account, you may present your case to the Assistant Chair of the Department to find out what alternatives you might have for language courses.

Should I contact the instructor directly for permission?

No, since most instructors are unable to access up-to-date enrollment figures, your first stop should always be the Assistant Chair.

I heard that the Department keeps a waiting list for students should slots open up in courses that are full. How do I get on that list?

The Department does not keep a waiting list for any class. Students are advised to use InsideND to identify openings created by registered students dropping a particular course.

Who should I talk to about overriding a prerequisite for a course?

If you do not have the prerequisites as recognized by the automated system to enroll in a course, an exemption form signed by the Assistant Chair must be obtained.

Where can I get advice about which language course to take?

If you are uncertain as to which language course to take (the regular language sequence as opposed to the intensive language sequence, for example) you may contact the Assistant Chair.

What about French for Business?

If you are interested in these courses you should not put them off until your final year since they are not offered every semester. Sections are usually scheduled for the spring semester.

I’m applying for a grant and need to get a language evaluation. Who should I contact?

If you have done coursework at Notre Dame you should contact your most recent instructor. If you have had no University coursework in French you may contact the Assistant Chair.


Questions about the French Major


I’m interested in pursuing a major in French. What are the requirements?

The first major in French includes ten courses above ROFR 20215. The supplementary or “second” major in French has eight courses. For specific requirement (pdf)

Is a minor available in French?

The minor in French is no longer available. Please look at the two supplementary major tracks that we now offer: Language and Literature or Language and Culture.

I’m ready to declare. What should I do?

You will need to have your paperwork signed by the Assistant Chair of the Department, who will at that time also help you fill out a grid that explains the major. Please note that applications will not be accepted during registration and one week prior to registration.

I have AP credit hours. Do these count toward my major?

No, AP credit hours fulfill language requirements only and will not be used toward your French major. You may only count credits in University-level courses.

But I heard this from a friend of mine who is a French major...

Sorry, this information is incorrect. When in doubt, you should always talk to your faculty advisor to get the correct information on major requirements. If your advisor is on leave or otherwise unavailable, you may contact the Assistant Chair.

How was I supposed to know these were the requirements?

These requirements are available in the Undergraduate Bulletin and in the Department, and it is each major’s responsibility to see his or her faculty advisor on a regular basis.

What do you mean when you say at least half of the major courses must be taken “in residence” at Notre Dame?

This means that you must take at least half of your major courses here on the Notre Dame campus: four courses minimum for supplementary majors and five minimum for first majors. The other half may be taken abroad (in one of Notre Dame’s international programs) or at another accredited university.

Can I use a 40000-level course in a different subject area to fulfill one of these requirements?

No, if you are a first major you must take at least three 40000-level courses, required for the degree, and they must be identified as ROFR. If you are a supplementary major, you must take at least two 40000-level courses, required for the degree, which are identified as ROFR.

What about ROFR 30310, that’s required, right?

Yes, ROFR 30310, is a required bridge course between the language sequence and advanced literature classes. You must take it before taking any 40000-level course.

I need some help with my grammar skills. Are there any review courses that majors can take?

The Department highly recommends that students take Grammar and Advanced Writing (ROFR 30320) if they need additional work on their grammar and writing skills. This course is open to students at any level, including students who have already taken 30000-level courses and/or returned from abroad. To see how this course can be accommodated into your major program you should speak to your Faculty Advisor or the Assistant Chair.

When I tried to register for a French class everything I wanted was full. What can I do?

There are a number of reasons class sizes are limited, but the most important of them is to ensure that every student has the best learning experience possible. If there are compelling extenuating circumstances that should be taken into account (if you are a graduating senior, for example), French majors may present their case to the Assistant Chair of the Department to discuss possible alternatives.

Should I contact the instructor directly for permission?

No, since most instructors are unable to access up-to-date enrollment figures, your first stop should be the Assistant Chair. They will then advise you whether to present your case to the instructor directly.

What’s the difference between the “honors track” and the “honors society?”

The honors track is a possibility for very motivated first majors. To graduate with honors, students must take a graduate seminar during their final year at Notre Dame or (by invitation) complete an honors thesis. To qualify you must be a first major with a GPA of at least 3.8. Description of the French honors program. Students are normally invited to this program in their junior year.

The Pi Delta Phi French Honor Society is a national organization that is administered through the Department.

I’m still confused. Who can I talk to?

Once you declare your major you will have two faculty resources: the Undergraduate Coordinator (email) and your faculty advisor. Either of them should be able to help you with your program. If you have declared your major and do not know who your faculty advisor is, you may contact Sara Nunley in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.


Questions about Studying Abroad


Who can help me plan my schedule of courses to take while abroad?

If you are enrolling through a Notre Dame program, you may contact Professor Paul McDowell for questions relating to the Angers program, or Christiane Buessard (email) at the Office of International Studies for questions relating to the Paris program.

If you are enrolling through a non-Notre Dame program your first stop should be the Undergraduate Dean’s office in your College. They will check to see if the program is accredited and then refer you back to the Department for specific advice on courses. Once you have determined the courses available that will fulfill major requirements, the Assistant Chair (email) will sign the Transfer Credit Pre-Approval form.

My major advisor says I can’t fit international study into my program. What should I do?

Contact the Office of International Studies. The Angers program offers courses that may be applied to your general University requirements and it may also have special opportunities in science, political science, business, and engineering.

Seriously, there’s no way I can fit in a semester abroad. Does Notre Dame have any programs during the summer?

At this time Notre Dame has no academic programs in French for the summer term. However you may want to consider one of the international service opportunities offered through the Center for Social Concerns or an internship (SLA). Funded research opportunities are also available on a competitive basis through the Nanovic Institute for European Studies and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies.


Questions about Graduate School


I heard you can get a Master’s degree in just five years, is that true?

The BA/MA program offers exceptionally-motivated students the opportunity to complete their BA and MA degrees in five years. Students will normally take two graduate seminars and two or three 40000-level undergraduate courses in their senior year and an oral qualifying exam the spring semester of their senior year. Admission to this program is subject to departmental approval, but students may nominate themselves. Interested students should contact the Graduate Coordinator (email)  for more information.

How is this different from a regular MA program?

The main difference is that this accelerated program may be completed in five years rather than six, because candidates will take two graduate (50000-level) seminars during the senior year and two 40000-level courses that double-count toward the BA and the MA. The level of academic excellence is equivalent to that of any Master’s program. Students will need to apply to the Graduate School and take the GRE during the fall semester of their senior year and will compete with other MA applicants for fellowships and tuition waivers.

How can I find out if I’m eligible for the BA/MA program?

Although each case will be given full consideration by the Department, students interested in this possibility should have a strong academic record with a minimum GPA in the major of 3.7 and substantial progress toward their BA degree completed before their senior year. It is imperative that you contact the Graduate Coordinator (email) no later than the spring semester of your junior year.

Can Notre Dame Undergraduates apply to the regular MA program?

Absolutely! If for whatever reason you are unable to make the commitment to the five-year BA/MA program, you may apply to the regular two-year MA program and will receive full consideration. Since there is no need to double-count requirements, both first and supplementary majors in French are welcome to apply.

I graduated five years ago. Would I still be eligible?

Yes, you may apply for the two-year MA program at any time.

Is there a Ph.D. in French available at Notre Dame?

At this time, there is no Ph.D. program in French at the University of Notre Dame.