French as a Foreign Language (FLE)

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Many of the students who apply to study at Paris-Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi do not speak French. Since all courses are taught in French and are identical to the courses offered in Paris (and often taught by the same professors) it is essential that students are properly prepared by studying French.

To be able to join the bachelor programmes, students have to be comfortable and fluent in the French language. Built for learning French, the Intensive French language course (24 hours per week) is open to students with various levels of French proficiency to help them acquire sufficient French Language skills to join a French university.

Initial placement test
Applicants who are not beginners can take a French placement test to validate their skill level, enabling them to automatically skip the sessions they are already comfortable with. Placement tests are conducted in each new session.

The French training level achieved is guaranteed as a high quality education and certified by a University Diploma (DU) issued by Paris Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi. The degree does not only ensure students’ level of French is improved, but also provides graduates with a wealth of general knowledge and a familiarity with academic methods that combine to become a gateway into the Sorbonne.

Studying French through our programme follows a rigorous progression. It is performed by a team of qualified teachers specialised in French as a Foreign Language (FLE).

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Programme Options

The different programmes offered by the French as a foreign language(FLE) department

The FLE department proposes different courses so that students may evolve both their comprehension and practice of the French language based on their own working rhythms.

Students may choose to study French as a Foreign Language in one or two years.

1) Intensive day courses

At the beginning of every year, two levels will be offered:

  • A beginner’s level for those who haven’t studied French at all. They will start as beginners at the commencement of the year and will set for the University Diploma exam in June.
  • An intermediate level for those who did not obtain the University Diploma the previous year and those who have learned French before (students will be assigned to the intermediate level after an initial placement test).

The intermediate level aims to improve the command of the French language and prepare the students properly for their Bachelor’s degree. It offers the possibility to follow 7 weeks of courses (as Audit students) in the department of their choice in addition of one month of internship in France during May (on a voluntary basis). Students at the intermediate level will take the DELF B2 test (either in France or at the Alliance Française in Abu Dhabi) and will obtain the University Diploma (D.U) by the end of June.

2) Intensive evening courses

Only the beginners level will be accepted in the intensive evening course. It takes place 5 days every week for 3 hours, (15 hours in total per week). It targets working students and enables them to sit for the University Diploma in June.

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3) Summer courses

Intensive courses will be organized in order to prepare for the University Diploma (D.U) exam during the summer for the students who failed their test in June, as well as for outside candidates who wish to pass the D.U in September and register at the University.

Academic calendar for the FLE Department 
The academic year consists of 2 semesters, and lasts until June 20th.


Continuous assessment and final examination

Evaluation of knowledge is proved through continuous assessment and a final examination. The continuous assessment requires attendance from the students. It is organized by the professor in charge of the D.U and the result represents the average grades of a series of written or oral exercises.

The final examination consists of 5 testing subjects (reading, writing – with a double coefficient 2, listening, oral expression and grammar).

The final mark is the average obtained from the grades of both final and continuous assessments.

Rules for absences and delays

The FLE department requires regular and punctual attendance of students in all courses. It also views class attendance as an individual student responsibility; the absent students are expected to catch up with classes, complete all assignments and submit homework on time as required from them.

The FLE department encourage their students to attend the class on time, in case any lateness occurs exceeding 10 minutes, the student will be considered as absent.

Justification of absences

In case of absence, a proof of justification is required to be submitted to the administration as soon as they return to class. Any proof submitted later than one week will not be taken into consideration. Travels and appointments which can be made outside of class hours will not be accepted; only absences for medical reasons, justified by a medical report may be accepted.

Consequences of Lateness and absences

Previous results indicate that failure is directly related to absenteeism.
Absences and lateness will be noted on the student’s file and taken into consideration at the time of orientation and admission for the Bachelor’s degree.
Students who do not sit for at least half of the assessments will be deprived of the continuous assessment final grades (even if their absences are justified).

Unexcused absences

Three unexcused absences: first verbal warning in the presence of the Head of the Department and professors.
Four absences: second warning and admissions will notify the student’s parents by telephone.
Five absences: disciplinary board in the presence of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the Head of the Department and several professors. The disciplinary board will decide on sanctions such as banning the student from taking exams, temporary suspension, etc.

Justified absences

Beyond 5 justified absences, the student will be convened by the Head of the Department to discuss the situation.

Exemption of attendance

An attendance waiver can be exceptionally considered if the student is working or has enrolled in the Master’s programme (provided the student supplies a work certificate or a proof of registration in the relevant Master’s course).

Missed examinations and assignments

All unjustified absences that affect the ability of the students to submit an assignment or sit for an examination, written or oral, will result a mark of 00/20, without the possibility of repeating the test in the same session.

Students who have not completed at least half of the tests will not have continuous assessment grades (even if their absences are justified).


The University Diploma (D.U) certifies that students have attended a comprehensive programme in the French language and have graduated with a strong command of French. It is awarded after a training of one year (or two years) in French, but has no national value and is not part of the LMD system (License, Master, Doctorate).

Like any university degree, it is specific to the establishment that issues it, managed by the local authority, and has restricted application (its sole purpose is to provide graduates with access to register for various bachelor programmes at the Sorbonne Abu Dhabi).

The DU is delivered by Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi.

The required grade for graduation with a DU is an average of 50%, or 10/20.

There are two DU exam sessions every academic year: in June and in September.

The DU in June is to be taken by all students who start at the beginning of the academic year at beginner and intermediate levels.

The September session has a special status as it is open to students who have failed the D.U. during the year (and need to pass the exam) and other external students who aim to enroll in undergraduate programmes at the University. This session doesn’t take into account any continuous assessment. To prepare for this session, students are advised to enroll in the summer intensive courses or to opt for an internship in France.

The university also advises that students obtain other qualifications, at their own expense.

The Alliance Française offers French DELF B2 certification, and students who obtained their DU are strongly recommended to take the B2 by the end of the first year of their Bachelor programme.

Monitoring is organised by the FLE department teachers, enabling first year Bachelor students to prepare the DELF B2.


Case 1: The D.U from Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (with an average of 10/20) or French Baccalaureate provides access to registration into the Bachelor’s programme.

The intensive learning of the French language offers students access to several Bachelor’s courses. Students who wish to enroll in the undergraduate programme must obtain the Head of Department’s approval of their preferred course.

Case 2: If a student did not follow the FLE course, and is not a francophone, no qualifications below the B2 level shall be accepted.
For the B2 level, the DELF, TEF, TCF and SELFEE are accepted.

Student Experiences

“There are moments that happen in our lives that affect us deeply. My first year in FLE at the Sorbonne is one of those moments, and one of the best years in my life. I had great teachers who made learning a foreign language very enjoyable, using extraordinary and interesting teaching aids. Each teacher had his or her own style and friendly way of teaching, helping us to push and develop our talents. Being passionate about writing and reading, my teachers helped me a lot by emphasising the writing and reading exercises. Similarly, we used to work together on conversations, dialogues and projects. My classmates were friendly and the spirit of cooperation helped us a lot. At first, I thought the most interesting part was finally being able to speak French, but I discovered that the journey itself is fun too.”

—Razan Al Naeemy, Bachelors graduate in Applied Foreign Languages

“Being part of the Sorbonne Abu Dhabi, the twin sister of Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), gives me great pride. At the end of my studies in Economics and Management, the French language has helped me to discover the rich and diverse French culture. Now I consider this culture to be a big part of me, guiding my professional life as a testament to the influence of ‘A bridge between civilisations.’”

—Atif Al Baloushi, Bachelors graduate in Economics and Management

“My name is Reem and I am from the UAE, studying at the Sorbonne Abu Dhabi. I took the FLE, having never spoken French before entering university. Learning French is very trendy, with it being one of the most important languages in the world. The Sorbonne Abu Dhabi gives us a great chance to enter the Francophone community within a short and efficient timeframe, thanks to its academic team which makes it one of the best universities in the Middle East. Studying at the Sorbonne Abu Dhabi is a magnificent opportunity, giving us a chance to interact with many different nationalities and cultures. I want to thank Abu Dhabi for helping Sorbonne Abu Dhabi to strengthen French-Emirati relations.”

— Reem Hammad, Bachelors student in Applied Foreign Languages