French Language

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.”  - Yingtong, China 

Students who choose to take French summer courses in 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. 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.

French Language Levels

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:

  • 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.

2019 Academic Programme

Beginner Levels (A1, A2)

Level A1

Level A2

Intermediate Levels (B1, B2)

Level B1

Level B2

Advanced Levels (C1, C2)

Level C1

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.
  • Syllabus: Download the C2 French language class July 2018 syllabus (EN/FR, PDF, 471 Kb).


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.

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