Summer School courses in French language

  • 2016 French language class (photo: Manuel Braun)2016 French language class (photo: Manuel Braun)

The information on this page pertains to the Summer School's University Programme.  Find more information on the Pre-College Programme here.

Students of the French language track benefit from a unique course of study characterized by a holistic approach to language mastery and cultural initiation. A student’s course schedule is determined by his or her knowledge of French; students take the level of French they wish to validate at the end of the session. A student's current level of French is determined by a placement test held on the first day. The Summer School places students into six language levels according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which designates full beginners as level A1 and advanced students at level C2.  For example, a complete beginner should take Level A1, while a student with a B1 level of French will take Level B2 at the Summer School. Download our PDF of explanation about CEFR levels (in English and French, PDF, 140Ko).

Classes are led by top-notch professors with experience in the teaching of French as a foreign language at Sciences Po and other prestigious institutions (meet some of our professors on our professors page).

To learn more about the classes that will be offered in the 2017 French language track, sign up for the Summer School newsletter.

2016 Academic Programme: Beginner and Intermediate Levels (A1, A2, B1, B2)


At the beginner and intermediate levels, students spent a majority of class time devoted to intensive study of the French language. Language learning was reinforced both through small-group tutorials and Outdoor French classes that brought language practice into everyday situations. Finally, students chose a Sciences Po lecture course on topics such as French history, politics or humanities, taught in either English or French.

Course breakdown for Beginner and Intermediate levels

  • French language
  • Outdoor French
  • Tutorial (Levels A1, A2, B1: focus on conversation; Level B2: focus on phonetics)
  • Lecture in English (option in French)

French language at the Beginner and Intermediate levels

Level A1

  • Summary: At the A1 level, students focused their language learning on a variety of different themes. These complete beginners started their study with topics necessary for successful daily interactions. As the course progressed, they delved into increasingly more complex themes dealing with French culture.
  • Syllabus: Download the A1 French language class 2016 syllabus (PDF, 76 Ko).

Level A2

  • Summary: This course, meant for students who have mastered the basics of the French language, aimed to help students improve their oral and written expression. At the conclusion of the session, students were able to take part in a verbal exchange or produce a short written text. In terms of grammar, students mastered the present, past, and future tense. Vocabulary knowledge was also built and centered around certain key points of French culture.
  • Syllabus: Download the A2 French language class 2016 syllabus (PDF, 69 Ko).

Level B1

  • Summary: At the B1 level, students progressed towards an intermediate knowledge of French by strengthening grammar and vocabulary in order to develop their argumentation skills. Through a study of current political and social events as depicted in the media, songs and films, students learned to describe more complex situations and express their own opinions.
  • Syllabus: Download the B1 French language class 2016 syllabus (PDF, 100 Ko).

Level B2

  • Summary: At the B2 level, students focused on three subjects: “Power and Representations of the French Political Life,” “Building Europe: politics and identity,” and “Crisis, inequalities, indignations.” They reinforced their written and oral language skills through the study of various materials, including political campaign posters, visits to museums, political cartoons and authentic texts, such as French newspapers and academic articles.
  • Syllabus: Download the B2 French language class 2016 syllabus (PDF, 72 Ko).

2016 Academic Programme: Advanced Levels (C1 and C2)


As with the beginner and intermediate levels, French language classes formed the core of this experience. For advanced students, language learning was also reinforced through phonetics tutorials and workshops (practice in oral and written expression, introduction to the expectations of the French educational system). Finally, students had a choice among several lecture courses in the social sciences or humanities, taught in either English or French.

Course breakdown for Advanced levels

  • French language
  • Tutorial: focus on phonetics
  • Workshop: choice among: theatre (oral expression), debate (oral expression), French university methodology (written expression)
  • Lecture in French or English

French Language at the Advanced Levels

Level C1

  • Summary: C1 level classes focused on the following topics: “Political life in France,” “Europe” and “Crises, inequalities, and indignations.” Students reinforced their language skills through the study of French political institutions, the construction of the European Union and the notion of crisis, the later encompassing a vast domain from global financial market to the Arab spring events. Coursework was based on texts such as newspapers and academic articles, as well as on political cartoons and radio programs.
  • Syllabus: Download the C1 French language class 2016 syllabus (PDF, 78 Ko).

Level C2

  • Summary: Intended for advanced students, these courses built on written and oral language skills - with a special focus on precision, idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms - in order to reach the C2 level. Students were also guided through the specific rules and culture of the French academic system, especially those of Sciences Po.
  • Syllabus: Download the C2 French language class 2016 syllabus (PDF, 69 Ko).