Writing Assignments in French University Classes

French university classes and assignments are totally unique to France, and unless you’ve previously studied in a French school, it’s difficult to grasp the particular structure and style of writing assignments. Unlike American-style “papers,” French university assignments adhere to very strict forms that French students learn from a very young age, that French professors don’t often explain for the benefit of foreign students.

In this chapter, you’ll learn about the most common types of French assignments: what their purpose is and a recommended approach to completing the analysis and organization for your papers. You’ll also have at least one sample assignment, written by an American study-abroad student at the undergraduate or master’s level. In addition, you’ll learn the rules of the problématique (thesis statement), assignment formatting (no double spacing!) and bibliographies (not MLA!). Good luck!

About the author: Allison Lounes is a Bureaucracy Ninja at Paris Unraveled, and has been helping students move to France and conquer French bureaucracy since 2010.

    • Allison Lounes is a graduate of Columbia University (B.A., French and Romance Philology, 2009) and the Middlebury College French School (M.A., French, 2009). After studying abroad with Columbia University Programs in Paris during the 2007-2008 academic year, she returned to France in September 2009 to complete a Master 2 degree in Comparative Literature at the Université de Paris VII - Denis Diderot, where she studied Algerian libertine folktales.