French at Eastman

Frequently Asked Questions

I. Why study French?  Here are a few good reasons:

More than 200 million people speak French at home or at work (including 1.8 million Americans). French is the official language of 28 countries, and spoken widely in 48 countries. You will become part of a worldwide community of French speakers.

French is an important language of music, art, literature, dance, fashion, cuisine, cinema and much more. French is a world language of culture.

Learning French improves your writing and speaking skills in English. Research shows that learning a second language improves your skills in your native language. Approximately 45% of English vocabulary comes from French. As you learn French, you become more articulate in English.

Learning French is good for your brain. Research shows that learning a second language sharpens focus and other cognitive abilities and, later in life, can even hold off the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Learning French will get you a job.

  • More than 800,000 jobs across fields in the US require French.
  • Major corporations with headquarters or subsidiaries in both the US and France include Du Pont, Hewlett-Packard, Xerox, Apple Computer, Michelin, Renault, Bic, and over 2600 more.
  • A 2012 survey shows that good communication skills are the #1 competency employers seek among job applicants, and also the hardest to find. Even in business fields more than twice as many employers prefer good communication skills to pre-professional business skills like accounting. Research shows that learning French improves communication skills in English, not to mention how learning French allows you to communicate with millions of people on the planet.
  • In a recent US State Department listing of international jobs, 59% required or preferred French, almost three times the number of any other language (including Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Russian, and Hindi).
  • When employers and universities look at applicants, they start at the top of the list and look for students who have risen above the rest. Proficiency in French is a way to rise to the top.


II. Which French language courses are offered at the Eastman School of Music?

At Eastman every year we offer “in-house” a four-course sequence of elementary and intermediate French:

FALL SEMESTER                              SPRING SEMESTER

French 101/101G                             French 102/102G

French 201/201G                             French 202/202G

(NB: the “G” simply designates graduate student registration. 101 and 101G are the same course).

Beyond the intermediate level, at Eastman we occasionally offer Advanced French (French 211), depending on enrollments.


III. I’ve studied French before. How do I know which course to take?

French 101 is for true beginners. No previous French instruction is required or expected. The course covers basic concrete vocabulary, regular present tense verbs, a few important irregular verbs, and an introduction to the past tense.

French 102 is for students who have had some basic French instruction (roughly a year or a year and a half of high school French). It continues with vocabulary building, an introduction to verb tenses (imperfect, future) and short readings and/or films.

French 201 is for students who have had an introduction to the basic structures of French grammar (2-3 years high school French). It includes conversation, writing, and cultural activities and readings. Basic grammar is reviewed and finer grammar points are introduced.

French 202 is appropriate for students who have begun to develop fluency and skills in reading and writing. It is a continuation of French 201.

IV. I’m a voice student. What do I need to do to satisfy the voice major requirement?

Pass a course at the 102 (second-semester) level or higher. In other words, French 102, 201, 202, or any intermediate or advanced course on the River Campus will satisfy the requirement. N.B.: Voice students are not required to take French 101 unless they need it to be able to pass a course at the French 102 level or higher. An AP score of 3 or higher will also exempt a student from the voice major requirement.


V. What other opportunities exist at the U of R for advanced French study?

For advanced study, students are encouraged to explore opportunities in the College’s Modern Language Department. The College’s French program numbers and sequences its courses differently. At the elementary level the courses are equivalent in scope and number.

EASTMAN                                         COLLEGE

French 101                                        French 101

French 102                                        French 102

At the intermediate level, Eastman’s 6-credit 111/112 sequence is most closely equivalent to the College’s 4-credit 153 “Intermediate French,” an intensive and fast-paced class.

EASTMAN                                         COLLEGE

French 201                                        French 153

French 202

A student who wishes to take a College French class must take the College’s placement test to determine an appropriate course. The College’s courses after French 153 are as follows (note: courses after French 200 are not always taken in sequence):

French 155    “Conversation and Composition” (taught by a native speaking exchange instructor). Not required for further study.

French 200    “Advanced French.” Advanced grammar concepts that prepare students for study of culture and literature.

French 202    ” Introduction to Literature in French,” taught in French.

French 204    “Contemporary French Culture”

French 206    “French Cultural Traditions”

French 207    “French in France” (6-week summer program in Rennes)

VI. Can Eastman students get a French minor?

YES! To get a French minor in the College’s French program, a student needs only to complete 5 courses at the 153 level or higher. In other words: Eastman’s 112 or the College’s 153 plus four more College courses from the following list: FR 155, FR 200, FR 202, FR 204, FR 206, FR 207.

For more detailed information on French minors and majors, contact an advisor in the Modern Languages and Cultures Department on the River Campus.