French Language

Welcoming beginner, intermediate, and advanced students of French
  • French language trackFrench language track

“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.”  - Yingtong, China 

Students who choose to take French summer courses during the 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.

We consider that immersion in French language and culture is an integral part of the academic experience at the Summer School. For this reason, we offered the French language track exclusively on campus during the July session. Sciences Po welcomed students on campus in a safe learning environment. Sciences Po respects all public health regulations for higher education institutions; measures may evolve following new government recommendations. You can find more information about health regulations currently in force at Sciences Po on our Covid-19 FAQ.


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. The French language track includes a total of 66 contact hours per session broken down into the following courses:

  • Core French language classes account for the majority of class time at every level, which allows students to make maximum progress during their time at the Summer School (48 contact hours for one session).
  • At all levels, students take oral and written expression workshops with content specially adapted to students' levels, including phoentics, 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 in light of the results of the placement test on the first day of the programme.

Download the schedule for the on campus French Language track in July 2021 (PDF, 392 KB).

To learn more about the French language track, here's an interview with Professor Magali Plattet


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 (in English and French, PDF, 140Ko).

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)

Level A1

Level A2

  • 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 centered around certain key points of French culture.
  • Syllabus: Download the 2021 A2 French language class syllabus (EN/FR, PDF, 303 KB).
  • Language prerequisite: Level A1 in French, advanced English proficiency required (learn how to demonstrate language requirements).

Intermediate Levels (B1, B2)

Level B1

  • 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 2021 B1 French language class syllabus (EN/FR, PDF, 322 KB).
  • Language prerequisite: Level A2 in French, advanced English proficiency required (learn how to demonstrate language requirements).

Level B2

  • 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 2021 B2 French language class syllabus (EN/FR, PDF, 233 KB).
  • Language prerequisite: Level B1 in French, advanced English proficiency required (learn how to demonstrate language requirements).

Advanced Levels (C1, C2)

Level C1

  • 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 2021 C1 French language class syllabus (FR, PDF, 294 KB).
  • Language prerequisite: Level B2 in French.

Level C2 (only offered during the July 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.
  • SyllabusDownload the 2021 C2 French language class syllabus (FR, PDF, 1,5 MB).
  • Language prerequisite: Level C1 in French.


In partnership with the Alliance Française Paris Ile-de-France, Sciences Po offers University Programme students the option to take the tests for the French Ministry of Education’s official Diplôme d'études en langue française (DELF – levels up to B2) or Diplôme approfondi de langue française (DALF – levels C1 and C2). Please note that these exams are only offered during the July session. Learn more about DELF-DALF exam dates and fees.
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