The French Language track of the University Programme
Welcoming beginner, intermediate, and advanced students of French
“In my university, we focus more on literature, so the Summer School was an occasion to learn more about political and sociological issues in France and the European Union while taking French language courses.”
Students who choose to take French summer courses during the June and/or July session of the Summer School's University Programme have the unique advantage of learning at one of France’s most prestigious universities, while being immersed in the daily routines of life in Paris.
French language track overview
Students of the French language track take classes at one of six levels, which covers learning French for beginners to advanced students. The coursework offered in the French language track is determined by a student's language level. By taking the French language track, students can earn 6 ECTS credits.
The programme includes a total of 66 contact hours per session broken down into the following courses:
- Core French language classes: a complete French course covering four key areas (oral and written expression and comprehension) through themes related to the social sciences (48 contact hours for one session).
- Oral and written expression workshops: students put the knowledge acquired in their core French language classes into practice, with exercises specially adapted to their levels, including phonetics, written methodology, and debate (18 contact hours for one session).
The maximum class size is approximately 15 students. The total number of students in a French language class may change given the results of the placement test on the first day of the programme.
Students of the French language track can also choose to add one elective class in social sciences per session that can allow them to earn 3 ECTS.
Download the schedule for the 2023 French Language track (PDF, 197 KB).
French language levels
A student's current level of French is determined by an initial placement test during the application process and a definitive placement test held on the first day. In assessing a student’s level, Sciences Po uses the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which places full beginners at level A1 and advanced students at level C2.
Download an explanation of the CEFR levels (PDF, EN/FR, 140 KB).
A student’s course schedule is determined by his or her knowledge of French; students take the level of French they wish to reach at the end of the session. 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.
Learn more about how to demonstrate proficiency at a level of French on the Eligibility page.
Beginner Levels (A1, A2)
- Summary: At the A1 level, students focus their language learning on a variety of different themes. These complete beginners start their study with topics necessary for successful daily interactions. As the course progresses, they delve into increasingly complex themes dealing with French culture.
- Syllabus: Download the A1 French Language course Syllabus (PDF, EN/FR, 242 KB).
- Language prerequisite: Complete beginner in French, advanced English proficiency required (learn how to demonstrate language requirements).
- Summary: This course, meant for students who have mastered the basics of the French language, aims to help students improve their oral and written expression. At the conclusion of the session, students will be able to take part in a verbal exchange or produce a short-written text. In terms of grammar, students will master the present, past, and future tense. Vocabulary knowledge is also built and centred around certain key points of French culture.
- Syllabus: Download the A2 French Language course Syllabus (PDF, EN/FR, 256 KB).
- Language prerequisite: Level A1 in French, advanced English proficiency required (learn how to demonstrate language requirements).
Intermediate Levels (B1, B2)
- Summary: At the B1 level, students progress towards an intermediate knowledge of French by strengthening grammar and vocabulary in order to develop their argumentation skills. Through the study of current political and social events as depicted in the media, songs and films, students learn to describe more complex situations and express their own opinions.
- Syllabus: Download the B1 French Language course Syllabus (PDF, EN/FR, 257 KB).
- Language prerequisite: Level A2 in French, advanced English proficiency required (learn how to demonstrate language requirements).
- Summary: At the B2 level, students focus on contemporary issues, such as French politics and the European Union. They reinforce 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 course Syllabus (PDF, EN/FR, 233 KB).
- Language prerequisite: Level B1 in French, advanced English proficiency required (learn how to demonstrate language requirements).
Advanced Levels (C1, C2)
- Summary: C1 level classes are intended for students with a fluent level of French. The class aims to improve both oral and written expression through the study of French and European culture, civilization, and history. Coursework is based on texts such as newspapers and academic articles, as well as on political cartoons and radio programmes.
- Syllabus: Download the C1 French Language course Syllabus (PDF, EN/FR, 252 KB).
- Language prerequisite: Level B2 in French.
level c2 (only offered during the july 2023 session)
- Summary: Intended for advanced students, these courses build on written and oral language skills - with a special focus on precision, idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms - in order to reach the C2 level. Students are also guided through the specific rules and culture of the French academic system, especially those of Sciences Po.
- Syllabus: Download the C2 French Language course Syllabus (PDF, EN/FR, 219 KB).
- Language prerequisite: Level C1 in French.