Before the student’s arrival at École des Ponts ParisTech

Classes in French as a Foreign Language are essential, as they meet a threefold need:

  1. facilitating the academic and social integration of non-French speaking engineering students;
  2. facilitating the development of intercultural and teamwork skills;
  3. preparation for internships (short/long), the end of course project, and integration into work.

École des Ponts ParisTech therefore asks students preparing for the degree (EFD) and student interns to have a minimum level A2 in French on arrival at the School (according to the EFRL).

On the student’s arrival at École des Ponts ParisTech

On their arrival, students are assessed on their level of French in 5 linguistic activities (oral and written comprehension, oral expression and interaction and, finally, written expression) in a grading test, using a framework that students can ask to verify.

To assess your own FLE level, click here

Depending on their results, students are directed to the induction weeks or to the preparatory seminar for engineering studies in French (SPEIF).

The French section of the Languages and Cultures Department therefore offers these students:

  • a preparatory seminar for engineering studies in French (2 weeks in September and 1 week in November);
  • classes in the 1st semester  and 2nd semester (approximately 30 a year);
  • personal support to help them improve their French language skills.

Our students

The FLE section gives priority to international engineering students who are obliged to follow FLE classes at École des Ponts ParisTech (double degree students, international students admitted on qualifications, and student interns).

Other students in Masters or PhD programs, or researchers… can join classes depending on the spaces available.


The School asks students who receive a grade below B1 in the FLE test to follow the Preparatory seminar for engineering studies in French (SPEIF).

International students on the engineering program are also asked to follow an average of 2 FLE courses per semester.  Students with a FLE level above C1 are exempt from this obligation, once they have taken the grading test.


Each language course is worth 1.5 ECTS (for 13 x 1.5 hours of classes per semester).

Rules for French classes

  • Class attendance is compulsory with 1 authorized absence per course and per semester.
  • Absences due to trips/visits organized by the Department are not counted.
  • In the event of a second absence, the student will be required to do additional homework.
  • In any case, students must keep themselves informed of what has been done in class, obtain any documents distributed, and do the work required for the following class.
  • Punctuality, active participation in classes, preparation of work requested by the teacher, and meeting of assignment deadlines, contribute to the final grade (the validation procedures are specified in each course description).
  • A suggestions box is available in B226. Students can leave their comments and suggestions.

Preparatory seminar for engineering studies in French (SPEIF)

General objective

To facilitate the academic and social integration of foreign engineering students at École des Ponts ParisTech

Operational objectives

To familiarize students with their new educational environment; 

To help students be more effective in the methodologies essential to a foreign engineering student: summaries, essays, notetaking, evaluating the modules of the scientific departments…;

To develop strategies for group and autonomous learning (specific terminology, speed reading, personal reference tools…);

To develop a general understanding of the environment (historical, geographical, political, legal, economic, “engineeric”, and professional).

Students concerned  

After taking the language test on their arrival at the School, students who obtain a grade above B1 follow the induction weeks in their scientific department. Those who obtain a level below B1 follow the SPEIF in September (2 weeks and 1 week in their scientific department). The 3rd week of SPEIF takes place in November.

The SPEIF (total duration 3 weeks) is worth 3 academic ECTS.


Students must follow 2 French courses per semester. Numbers on each course are small (a dozen students), which fosters communication and progress. Each course (1.5 h x 13 sessions) is worth 1.5 ECTS. 
Students with a FLE level above C1 (according to the EFRL) are exempt from this obligation, once they have taken the grading test on their arrival at the School
The French section provides around 30 classes a year. Priority on these courses is given to international students on the engineering degree program. Other non-French speaking students at the School (PhD candidates, researchers, Masters candidates…) can register provided there are enough places.

Courses offered

The courses offered by the section are designed to meet the specific needs of student engineers (academic and professional writing and speaking, intercultural skills…) but also to reflect their interests (general and scientific knowledge, art and literature, news…).  They are classified into 3 types, providing the following content:   

  • know-how and skills for education and professional life (Improving academic writing, Improving academic and professional writing, Oral communication, Speaking in public…); 
  • intercultural skills (French events, multicultural exchanges, humor, theatre, society,…), and
  • general and scientific culture (Scientific enigmas and paradoxes, Science  and ethics, Speaking about art, Sharing French cultures…

NB:  Students choose 2 courses based on their level and interests. However, it is compulsory for them to register for at least one class in written expression in the 2nd year (1st and/or 2nd semester).

Personal support

Personalized support is also available for students who would like it, and/or where teachers have identified specific difficulties. It is organized individually or in small groups.
It reflects the different needs of students:
•    Training in phonetics and pronunciation (per native language group);
•    Preparation for applications (internships): CV, covering letters, interview role-plays;
•    Correction of department work (reports, experimental records, summaries…) and training in essay writing;
•    Other specific needs (oral comprehension, methodological advice, etc.).


From 2018, the CTI (engineering qualifications committee) will require a minimum grade of B2 in FLE (Download the European Framework of Reference for Languages) for students training as engineers in France. This level must be accredited by an external certificate, taken at the end of the engineering course in France (3rd year, before departure for the end of course project).
Provided you have the right level, the FLE section suggests that you take the DCL ( Language Competence Diploma):

  • Unlimited validity;
  • Focus on French for work (description  of levels and Capacities demonstrated at each level); 
  • Test venues near the School