Studying French

An array of programs geared towards international students

Tests and diplomas in French as a foreign language

To enroll in the first or second year of university study or in a school of architecture applicants from outside the European Union must follow a procedure known as the "request for preliminary admission," or DAP. The procedure requires them to demonstrate their level of French proficiency by taking a language test or presenting a diploma in French language. 

Elsewhere, rules vary. For example, for admissions to Licence 3 programs (the third year of undergraduate study), master's and doctoral programs, and specialized schools, institutions are free to set their own French proficiency requirements. Applicants are advised to inquire about the requirements when submitting their application for admission. 

1/ Tests of French as a foreign language

The "TCF" and "TCF-DAP"

These are tests of general language proficiency used by the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research. They are made up of mandatory and optional components.

The TCF-DAP was especially designed for use with the DAP process (admission to first year of university study). It includes the mandatory portions of the TCF plus a test of reading comprehension. 

The TCF is administered in 629 approved centers in 129 countries.

The "TEF"

The TEF is a test developed by the Paris chamber of commerce and industry. It measures test-takers' knowledge of general French through the 100-question QCM component, in addition to two supplemental tests, one written, one oral. 

The TEF can be taken in 400 centers in about 100 countries.

2/ Diplomas in French as a foreign language

The "DELF" and "DALF"

The DELF (basic diploma in the French language) and DALF (advanced diploma) are granted by the French Ministry of National Education. 

The DELF and DALF curricula are broken down into six separate levels, each of which corresponds to a specific degree of proficiency. The DELF is awarded to candidates who pass the first four levels. Candidates who go on to complete the last two levels are awarded the DALF. 

Also consult our information sheet on the Tests of and Degrees in French as a foreign language

3/ Exemptions from requirements to demonstrate proficiency in french

Applicants who meet one of the following criteria may be exempted from the requirement that they demonstrate their
proficiency in French:

• Holders of the French baccalauréat, the international or European baccalauréat, and the Franco-German baccalauréat;
• Nationals of states where French is the official language: Benin, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte dʼIvoire,
Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Repubic of CongoSenegal, and Togo;
• Nationals of multilingual states where French is one of the official languages: Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African
Republic, Chad, Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Haiti, Madagascar, Mauritania (except for students in the Arabic-language
curriculum), Rwanda, Seychelles, Switzerland, and Vanuatu. In order to be excused from taking the TCF-DAP, applicants
must have completed all of their secondary education in a French-language institution;
• Students graduating from bilingual programs in which French was one of the languages;
• Nationals of states in which final examinations for graduation from secondary school are conducted primarily in French;
• Applicants participating in a program governed by an intergovernmental accord or interuniversity agreement;
• International recipients of scholarships from the French government, international organizations, or foreign governments
whose grants are administered by an approved French entity;
• Children of diplomats serving in France;
• In some cases, students enrolling in programs taught entirely in English:
Applicants who are citizens of a state in the European Economic Area or Switzerland are exempted from the preliminary
admission procedure (DAP) and may apply directly to universities of their choice.

Learn French in your own country

Grounded in the principles of tolerance, secularism, mutual exchange, and intercultural understanding, France's international cultural network—the largest in the world—is an instrument of cultural mediation and a global platform for the discussion of ideas.

The network also encourages cultural diversity in all its forms and is a major force in cultural and artistic development throughout the world.

Follow the links below to begin to explore France's international cultural network :

The Alliance Française
French cultural centers and institutes

Apprendre le français en France

Would you like to learn French? Improve your French? Why not come to France for a total-immersion experience? 

> Centers in France for the study of French as a foreign language

Whether you're here for a short or long stay; whether you're in Paris or one of France's regions; whether you're beginning your language study at square one or have very specific objectives—whatever your circumstances you're sure to find a language center that can meet your needs.

Several years ago the French government began a program to award a label of quality to qualifying centers for the teaching of French as a foreign language operating within France. The "FLE Qualité" program identifies, recognizes, and promotes centers in which the consumer can be assured of receiving excellent language training.

Follow the link below to access a directory of all labelled programs, with descriptions of the levels and length of training that they offer. "FLE Qualité" programs are found all over France.

Know more :

Catalogue Campus France : Learn French in France
Directory of quality-labelled centers for the teaching of French as a foreign language
The Alliance Française