French course and French test
The Graduate Institute has an English-French bilingual teaching policy. Although most classes are taught in English, students, professors and staff can speak and write in either English or French. The Institute wishes to ensure that students with a limited or no knowledge of French can develop their French language skills during their studies. Accordingly, French courses and French tests are organised during the study period.
French courses organised by the Institute
- Intensive summer course : 28 August to 15 September 2017 (20 hours per week, morning or afternoon)
- Annual course: 2 hours per week during the first year’s autumn and spring semesters
- No course fee
- Registration is determined by Student Services. If registered, attendance is mandatory
Course materials need to be purchased (CHF 28 or CHF 31) on the first day of class
Students with no prior knowledge of French
- At the time of application, you indicated on your application form that you need to be registered for the intensive summer course and the annual course (mandatory)
- You will take a 2-hour test at the start of your third semester (A2 level: listening and writing components)
- If your test result is not satisfactory, you will have a second and final chance to re-take it at the start of your fourth semester
Students with basic knowledge of French
- At the time of application, you indicated on your application form that you need to take a 2-hour test at the start of your first semester (A2 level: listening and writing components). The test will take place around the third week of September. Date and time will be confirmed.
- If your test result is not satisfactory, you will be registered for the annual course (mandatory)
- You will have a second and final chance to re-take the test at the start of your third semester
Students with demonstrated French language proficiency
- At the time of application, you submitted proof of proficiency (see language requirements page), in order to be exempt from any course or test
Please check your French registration status here
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I skip the French course?
Only students with a proficiency level considered sufficient at the time of admission are exempt from French classes.
According to your French level, you will be registered for the intensive summer and/or annual French courses.
Once registered, attendance is mandatory. All absences must to be justified by a medical certificate sent to the teacher via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). Three unjustified absences lead to withdrawal from the course and result in a failing grade, indicated on your transcript of results.
Are there different language levels within the intensive and annual courses?
Yes. Students self-evaluate their level before the start of the course, via an online individual placement test. Group levels vary from beginner to intermediate.
Is there a course offered to students with an advanced level of French?
No. Students with an advanced level of proficiency are encouraged to attend the master degree courses taught in French by bilingual Faculty members (see course catalogue).
What does the French test consist of?
Easier than a typical A2 level certification, the French test is designed to evaluate your passive knowledge of French (indicative of your ability to follow a course taught in French). The test is different each year. It is generally composed of a listening exercise, grammar and vocabulary exercises and a reading comprehension exercise, followed by a multiple choice section, as well as a brief writing section. All instructions are translated into English.
How will the French test result appear on my transcript?
- Success: “Aquis” will appear on your official transcript (code “O” on your online transcript)
- Test to be retaken: “En cours” will appear on your official transcript (code “P” on your online transcript)
- Failure: “Echec” will appear on your official transcript (code “I” on your online transcript)
- Exemption (your French level met the Institute’s admission requirements): “Acquis” will appear on your official transcript (code “O” on your online transcript)
- Corrected copies of the test are available for review at the admission office. Please notice that you cannot print or take a picture of your test.
If I fail the French test, will it affect my average grade at the Institute or do I risk failing my study programme?
A pass/fail (acquis / échec) result for the last test will appear on your transcript of results. However, failing the French test does not affect the successful completion of your study programme, nor the award of your diploma.