FAQ

Welcome to the Department of French!

 

 General Information

For general information about undergraduate courses and programs offered by the Department of French, please send an e-mail message to our departmental secretary,  You may also call the main office at: 416-926-2302. Please ensure that you leave your full name, student number, the reason for your call and a call back number.

For more information on the upcoming semester at the University of Toronto, you may also go to Resources for students or Frequently asked questions

Course Enrollment and Program Registration

You’ll find all the information you need online about course enrollment or program registration. If you need further guidance, please contact the Undergraduate Counsellor or 416 926-2333. Be ready to provide the following information: the courses and program you are enrolled in, your name and your student number. You may take an appointment if you prefer meeting in person.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Course placement, exemption and transfer credit

Q: I have studied French before. Do I need to take a placement test to enrol in FSL or FRE courses?

A: Yes, the Placement Test  is mandatory for all students who wish to register in an FRE or FSL course for the first time and who have prior study of French of any kind and at any time. You must enrol in a course that is at the level indicated by the test. If you place into FSL320 or higher, you are eligible to enrol in FRE courses, as well. Because this test – introduced in Summer 2022 – is adapted to our new course offerings, if you took the Department of French Placement Test prior to this time and have not yet taken an FSL or FRE course at the University since then, you must retake the test. You do not need to take the Placement Test to enrol in FCS courses.

Q: I have never studied French before. Do I need to take a placement test?

A: No, true beginners with no knowledge of French may enrol directly in FSL100H1.

Q: I am not sure if the French course recommended by the placement test is appropriate for me. What do I do?

A: You may not enrol in a course at a different level without the written permission of the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies, who will examine your specific circumstances (your instructor does not have the authority to make this decision). It is not possible to take a lower level course in order to “brush up”. If you have already begun a course, it is recommended that you first discuss your concerns with your course instructor. The one exception to this rule is FSL100H1 – if you were placed at this level and have prior study of French, you may enrol in FSL102H1 instead without special permission.

Q: I am a native or fluent French speaker. Do I need to take a placement test? Can I be exempted from FSL courses?

A: Students who have French as a first language should not take the Placement Test. They are generally excluded from FSL courses except in the case of those needing to improve specific skills (e.g., writing) but may enrol directly in FRE courses. There are multiple linguistics and literature courses of interest to this student population. Inquiries about specific circumstances should be directed to the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies .

Students who consider themselves to be fluent or proficient users of French (e.g., through obtaining a high school Certificate in French, living in a French-speaking place) should take the Placement Test to confirm their level (the highest level the test will place them into is FSL420). If placed at FSL420, they should contact the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies to discuss their specific circumstances.

All native and fluent speakers may be exempted from certain FSL or FRE courses required for their program based on their linguistic and/or theoretical competence. To request a waiver, students should submit the following information to the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies :

  • A brief e-mail in French explaining why they believe they qualify for an exemption;
  • The Placement Test result (for non-native speakers);
  • Any additional documents that may reflect the student’s French competence (Certificate in French, school transcript with proof of study in French, etc.).

Please note that exemption does not constitute credit: any exempted courses will need to be replaced by other, more advanced courses to complete the program.

Q: I have studied French elsewhere (e.g., Explore Program) since taking the placement test. Do I need to take the test again? Can I get my course credits transferred?

A: Students returning from a program must book an appointment with the French Secretary  to retake (an alternate version of) the placement test in person at the Department of French. They must ensure that their transcript has been sent to their college registrar. Once students receive their test results, they should forward them to the Study Elsewhere Advisor  or to the transfer credit department of the Faculty of Arts & Science: Transfer Credit Information. Requests for recognized credits to count towards specialist, major or minor programs should be submitted to the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies once the general transfer credits have been approved. Such requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Course and program selection

Q: What is the difference between FSL, FRE and FCS/JFG courses?

A: FSL courses focus on developing language skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening) and cultural competence. Assessment is based on linguistic progress and proficiency, as well as engagement and participation.

FRE courses focus on using French to learn about a topic, such as French linguistics, literature or culture. These courses continue to develop language skills (the minimal level required is completion of FSL222H1 or placement in FSL320H1), but students have varying levels of French proficiency, including native and fluent speakers. Assessment is based on engagement with, and understanding of, the subject matter of the course; language progress and accuracy – while important – are a less central component of assessment (typically 20%).

FCS and JFG courses are conducted in English, but focus on topics that are relevant to French/Francophone culture, literature, history, linguistics, etc. No knowledge of French is required, and assignments and tutorials may be completed in English. However, students who wish to count such courses towards a major or specialist program must submit assignments and attend TUTs (when applicable) in French.

Q: What is the difference between the two specialist programs  and three major programs ?

A:The French Language and Literature major and specialist programs focus on literary analysis, familiarizing students with different genres, periods and critical approaches related to French and Francophone literature.

The French Language and Linguistics major and specialist programs focus on analysis of language structure, including how sounds and sentences are formed, how French and other languages are used in society, how children acquire language, etc.

The French Language Learning major focuses on reflecting on one's own language acquisition and understanding the social context of use of language(s) in society but especially in a learning and teaching environment.

All programs provide the opportunity to improve French skills. Looking at the courses included in each program should give students an idea of what best matches their interests and goals.

Q: What is the difference between the three minor programs ?

A:The French Studies minor allows students flexibility to choose from a variety of topic courses conducted in French, based on their interests. Students can either concentrate in French Literature or French Linguistics, or take a combination of courses in both areas.

The French Language minor focuses on improving French language proficiency (grammar, reading, writing, oral French, etc.). It is especially appropriate for students who lack a solid foundation in French at the start of their university career.

The Practical French minor aims to prepare those who want to improve their French primarily as a tool to achieve professional goals. Courses enhance existing knowledge in writing and speaking in specific contexts, while assessment is less weighted on grammatical accuracy than on communicative competency.

Q: I placed at a higher FSL level than the starting course for my program. Does that mean I have fewer courses to take to obtain my major, minor or specialization?

A: All programs require the same number of university-level credits regardless of prior language proficiency and experience. If this were not the case, every native speaker of French would be eligible for a “free minor” in French Language without ever taking a course!

As a result, French coursework undertaken in high school is not typically recognized for program credit. Higher placement or exemption requires substitution of the required lower-level course(s) with other courses to complete the program with the appropriate number of credits. The accepted substitutions vary according to the level and program and are typically listed under the program course requirements. When in doubt, questions can be directed to the Undergraduate Counsellor or the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies,

If you have taken other university-level courses, please consult the response above to the question about transfer credit .

Q: How do I obtain the Language Citation in French?

A:  In order to receive a language citation in French Studies, students should have completed 2.0 full-course equivalent credits of FSL courses at the 300+ level or 2.0 full-course equivalent credits of FRE courses at the 200+ level with a minimum grade of B- in each course. Please note that a combination of both FRE and FSL courses cannot qualify for the citation.

Students should note that, as explained in the About Programs of Study  section of the Academic Calendar, the Language Citation is not equivalent to an academic program and that enrolment in a program is not necessary in order to earn the recognition bestowed by the Citation.

Eligible students must submit a copy of their academic records to the Undergraduate Counsellor and indicate the courses they wish to be considered for the Citation.

Enrolment

Q: I am currently a U of T student and one of the FSL/FRE courses I would like to take is full. How can I register in this course?

A: The only way to register in a non-restricted FSL/FRE course is through the ACORN  System. The Department of French cannot override the system. The number of students enrolled in a course cannot exceed the capacity of the room as dictated by fire or health regulations or by pedagogical or technical requirements.

Many FSL or 200-level FRE courses have an enrolment control (priority is given to students enrolled in certain French programs) or reach their enrolment limits quickly. However, places often become available as students adjust their programs. Register for available and appropriate courses in July (after completing the Placement Test, as needed), and place yourself on the waiting list for your preferred choice(s). You may also wish to select alternative courses in the event that you are unable to register in a course that remains full.

Q: My course has a LEC and a TUT. Can I take the LEC without the TUT?

A: For courses with tutorials, you MUST be registered in a lecture section as well as a tutorial section. Since some of the course assessment will take place in your tutorial, failure to enrol in a tutorial and attend regularly will have a serious negative impact on your grade. You cannot attend a lecture or tutorial other than the one in which you are registered, including to make up for missed lectures or tutorials, without receiving special prior permission from your instructor. Tests taken outside of your lecture or tutorial section will not be graded.

Q: I am in my fourth year and a course I need to finish my degree is full or is not offered. What do I do?

A: In this case, please contact the Undergraduate Counsellor or the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies for advice or alternative options.

Note that you have taken FSL full-year courses ending in ‘21’ prior to 2022, these will be recognized automatically as the equivalents of the new half-year courses ending in ‘20’ and ‘22’ for the completion of degree requirements.

Q: I am interested in taking FRE 490Y/FRE 491H/FRE 492H. How do I register for this course, which has an “E” indicator?

A: Students cannot register for “E” courses on ACORN; students are enrolled at the Department upon acceptance. Admission is limited to students in a French major or specialist program and requires the permission and commitment of the instructor and the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies. Applicants must follow the procedures outlined in The Guidelines for Independent Study Topics and submit the application form for Senior Essay and Independent Study Proposal, duly signed by their supervisor, to the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies. An electronic version of the application must be forwarded to Undergraduate Counsellor.

Q: May I choose the Credit/No Credit (CR/NCR) option for French courses?

A. Degree students may select up to 2.0 full-course equivalents of their degree credits to be assessed on a Credit/No Credit basis. Course exceptions apply - see the CR/NCR website  for details.  Note that CR/NCR courses count towards Distribution/Breadth Requirements and degree credits but cannot be used to satisfy program requirements. First-Year Foundational seminars and independent study or research courses are not eligible for the CR/NCR option.

Q: May I audit a French course in the Department?

A. The Department of French does not permit auditing. This includes students on the course waiting list.

Q: I was granted an exception by the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies, to satisfy a program requirement. Why do the requirements on Degree Explorer show “incomplete”?

A: Some exceptions are not processed automatically by Degree Explorer. In this case, you must contact the Undergraduate Counsellor to indicate the courses that should serve as substitutes for the required courses. Please note that the granting of an exemption (due to your results on the placement test, for example) does not reduce the number of credits required for program completion; any exempted courses will need to be replaced by other, more advanced courses to complete the program.

Opportunities at the University and beyond

Q: How can I practice my French in Toronto beyond the classroom or during a semester when I cannot fit a French course in my schedule?

A. The Department of French offers several opportunities to use French outside of the classroom. During the fall and winter semesters, you can attend the discussion group (known as the ‘Table française’) or the grammar review sessions (‘Atelier de grammaire’) held regularly in person at Kelly Café at the John Kelly library, as well as online. There are also several other events organized throughout the year, including special lectures and conferences and events for the Mois de la francophonie. For details on these activities, please consult the French Department website.

There are also a number of Francophone cultural associations, musical and theatre groups, and language practice meet-ups through the Greater Toronto Area. Regular annual events are posted on Etablissement.org, while local activites are frequently posted on Réseau en Immigration Francophone. In addition, many French-language movies and TV programs are available through various cable and streaming services.

Q: What are my career options after completing a French minor?

A. A French minor provides evidence of your ability to work in a bilingual or French-speaking environment. All French minors are useful for careers in many areas, including:

  • provincial and federal government civil service
  • bilingual opportunities within the foreign service or the border services agency
  • bilingual customer service
  • bilingual private sector positions

A French Studies minor is also a useful component (when coupled with a relevant major or specialist degree) of applications for admission to graduate programs that require familiarity with French language and culture, including Comparative Literature, Education, Political Science, Library and Information Sciences and various Cultural Studies programs. In this case, please consult your department or program of interest to find out their specific admission requirements to ensure relevant course selection.

Q: What are my career options after completing a French specialist or major program in French?

A. In addition to the career options outlined above for the minor programs, in-depth familiarity with French literature, French linguistics and/or the language-learning process opens many career pathways, including:

  • speech and text recognition technology
  • international development
  • media, public relations and journalism
  • publishing, editing, copywriting and technical writing
  • translation and interpretation

A French major or specialist degree is an important component of applications for admission to graduate programs in fields such as French Literature, French Linguistics, Language Education, Speech Pathology and Audiology, in addition to those outlined for the minor program. Please consult your department or program of interest to find out their specific admission requirements to ensure relevant course selection. We invite you to consult the admission criteria for our department’s graduate programs.

 

Useful links

Art & Science current undergraduate student

Faculty of Art & Science Calendar

Faculty of Art & Science Time Table