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 

Covid-19 Information: Due to the global Covid-19 outbreak, we have made the decision to cancel the June 2020 session of the University Programme and move a selection of the July session courses online. 


Students of the French language track take classes at one of five 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 48 contact hours per session.

  • Core French language classes account for the total of class time at every level, which allows students to make maximum progress during their time at the Summer School.
  • 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.


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.


The 2020 University Programme will be held online. Online courses are organized in small-group, interactive seminars. Courses take place via the Zoom platform in a live, synchronous format to allow for maximum interaction. Course length and content is designed for the online format so that students can take full advantage of this learning experience.

Download the calendar for the French language track:

Courses in the French language track will be scheduled during the time slots marked as "core course" on the calendar - a course may potentially take place at this time. However, each course may have a different schedule, with 48 contact hours distributed during the "core course" time slots depending on the class. Additionally, each class will last approximately three hours, including a break, not the full four-hour “core course” time slot. Specific class schedules will be communicated to enrolled students approximately two weeks before the start of the session.

Course times on the schedule are indicated in Paris time (Central European Time). For example, 14:30 in Paris (CET) is:

  • 8:30 in New York City (EST)
  • 13:30 in London (BST)
  • 20:30 in Beijing (CST)


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 2020 A2 French language class syllabus (EN/FR, PDF, 270 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 2020 B1 French language class syllabus (EN/FR, PDF, 265 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 2020 B2 French language class syllabus (EN/FR, PDF, 238 KB).
  • Language prerequisite: Level B1 in French, advanced English proficiency required (learn how to demonstrate language requirements).

Advanced Level (C1)

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 2020 C1 French language class syllabus (FR, PDF, 299 Kb).
  • Language prerequisite: Level B2 in French.
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