French FAQ

What class should I register for?
If you have studied French for three or four years in high school, you should sign up for French 201.  If you believe you have a very solid grasp of all major grammatical concepts (including the subjunctive and relative pronouns), please contact Suzanne Toczyski to verify your placement.  If you have taken the AP French exam, see below.

NOTE: At the Junior College, French 1 is the same as our French 101; French 2, our French 102; French 3, our French 201; French 4, our French 202.

Can I get university credit for any of my high school French?
If you took the AP French Language exam and scored a 3, credit is given for FR 101, FR 102, and FR 201 for a total of 12 units; if you scored 4 or 5, credit is given for FR 101, FR 102, FR 201 and FR 202 for a total of 16 units. If you took the AP French Literature exam and scored a 3, 4 or 5, credit is given for GE C2 FL 214 at 4 units, plus 2 elective units for a total of 6 units.

Do French classes count for GE credit?
Yes! French courses satisfy the requirements for the C3 General Education category. Remember that upper-division French classes count for GE credit only when students have successfully completed 60 units at Sonoma State and thus have junior-level status. French 314 (French Caribbean Literatures in English) counts for Area C2 and may be taken after a student has reached junior status for upper-division GE credit.

Which are the lower-division courses and which are the upper-division courses?
Lower division courses are numbered 100-299; upper-division courses are numbered 300-499. Note that French 202, Oral French, is a lower-division course which is required for the major.

Can I challenge a French class?
You may earn unit credit for some French classes (202 and above) by successfully completing the instructor's challenge exam. However, you may only challenge courses which are listed in the catalogue and which are offered during the semester you wish to challenge the class. Only students in residence may challenge a course. Your application for credit-by-challenge must be signed by the department chair. When you pass the exam, a CR will be recorded on your permanent record, but will not be posted to your record until 30 units have been earned in residence. No resident credit is earned, and the CR units do not affect the grade point average.

Which courses do I need for a minor in French?
The French minor presupposes 12 units or the equivalent of French 101, 102, 201. All or part of these may have been complete elsewhere. Students wishing to minor in French must also take:


FR 202
FR 300



FR 320 and FR 321
FR 320 and FR 410
FR 321 and FR 411




FR 415
FR 475

Can I start in French 101 as a freshman and still do a French major?
Yes! In order to finish in four years, a student should do the first two years of French according to the schedule suggested in the University catalog. In the junior and senior years, students should take all upper division courses offered every semester so that they are not lacking at the end of their senior year. Study abroad is strongly encouraged!
All French courses except FL 214 and FR 314 are offered in French only. FL 214 and French 314 do not count for the major, but they do count for C2 GE credit.

Are all French classes offered every semester?
No! So plan carefully. In general, we follow the following rotation:

Semester A– Fall

FR101 - Beginning French
FR201 - Third-Semester French
FR300 -Introduction to Literary
Analysis and Critical Writing
FR320 -France Yesterday

Semester B - Spring

FR102 - Second-Semester French
FR202 -Oral French
FR410 - French Literature
FR475 – Senior Seminar

Semester C - Fall

FR101 - Beginning French
FR201 - Third-Semester French
FR300 -Introduction to Literary
Analysis and Critical Writing
FR321 -France Today

Semester D - Spring

FR102 - Second-Semester French
FR202 - Oral French
FR411 - French Literature
FR415 – Special Topics in French Culture: Paris!

Can I take Business French at Sonoma State University?
No, Business French is not currently offered at SSU. However, we now offer a French Language Certificate for Wine Business through the French Program. Contact Suzanne Toczyski if you are interested.

I'm interested in French, but I don't speak French. How can I meet other people interested in French?
You might consider taking FR 314, French Literatures of the Caribbean in English. Or, join members of the SSU French Club and other local francophiles at the French Table or French Film Series. See Suzanne Toczyski for details.

If I want to study abroad, what are my options?
Sonoma State University offers established Study Abroad opportunities in France (Paris and Aix-en-Provence) and in Montréal, Québec. Most of these programs are full-year programs run by the California State University International Programs office. San Diego State University also offers a spring-semester program in Paris. Anyone wishing to study abroad should begin by speaking with the Center for International Education in International Hall.

Where can I learn more about opportunities for using my French in the Bay Area?
Suzanne Toczyski, one of the French faculty at Sonoma State, publishes a weekly Francophile List which gives ample information on conversation groups, theater, cinema, art exhibits, local French classes, etc. in the Bay Area. To subscribe to this list, e-mail her at or visit the Bay Area Francophile List Homepage.

Whom should I contact if I have other questions?
Contact Suzanne Toczyski (, 664-4177) with any other questions.