Gateway DU in French as a Foreign Language for aspiring students in exile

Paris 8 University is doing its bit to welcome refugees by offering a University Diploma in French as a Foreign Language for refugees who want to access higher education in France.

The University Diploma in French as a Foreign Language is only available to refugees and asylum seekers with a beginner’s/false beginner’s level in French. This diploma aims to provide students with a level of French that will allow them to access higher education taught in French, and enter into the field of study they had intended to pursue or continue in their home countries.

Students accepted onto the course will be exempt from enrolment fees.

Support schemes for students

Students on this course will be issued with a student card and will be able to access the following services free of charge:

  • Maison de l’étudiant (Student Union)
  • University Library
  • Sports Centre
  • Language Centre
  • Social assistance, medical services (health centre, preventive medicine) and counselling services
  • Legal advice bureau
  • Student associations, etc.
  • Students will also receive advice, guidance and careers counselling.
  • To achieve level B1 in French based on the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)
  • To gain confidence and independence by improving their written and oral French language skills
  • To be capable of expressing themselves in written and spoken French
  • To understand socio-cultural aspects of French society
  • To navigate the French media (press, TV, radio, etc.)
  • To be able to work independently and use online resources and websites
  • To learn all the necessary information about university life and literacy
  • To familiarise themselves with the social, cultural and artistic events available in Île-de-France (cultural visits scheduled as part of course)
  • To gain all the necessary information for choosing your next learning steps at Paris 8 University or any other institution offering courses

Selection criteria

Students will be selected through an interview and a placement test, and must have:

  1. Refugee, subsidiary protection or asylum seeker status
  2. Previous experience studying at a university or the equivalent of the French baccalauréat (high school diploma) from their home country
  3. Desire to pursue or continue university education


Admissions for the University Diploma in French as a Foreign Language for students integrating French higher education (2021/2022 academic year) will be open from 23 August 2021 until 10 September 2021.

  • Applications open
  • Deadline for collecting applications
  • Deadline for submitting applications

To apply for the University Diploma in French as a Foreign Language for students integrating French higher education (2021/2022 academic year): due to the current health crisis, applications must be completed online and sent by email along with all the required supporting documents to:

To be taken into consideration, all applications must be duly completed and accompanied by the following supporting documents:

  • Proof of civil status:
    • Refugee status
    • ID card
    • Visa
    • Residence permit
    • Receipt of application for asylum
    • Passport
  • CV
  • Cover letter (included in application).
  • Passport photograph
  • Proof of address

Photocopy of all documents relating to educational background (diplomas) from high school onwards.

Contact details:

Direction Vie de Campus

Office ME08- Maison de l’Etudiant

Tel: 01 49 40 68 23


  • Welcome day and integration: 18 October 2021 (provisional date)
  • Course begins: 19 October 2021 (provisional date)
  • Course ends: Mid-July 2022 (provisional date)

Course info

  • Total number of hours: 480 hours
  • Number of hours per week: 15 hours
  • Classes last 3 hours from 14:00 to 17:00

Course content

  • Oral + phonetics class: 3 hours (oral comprehension and expression)
  • Writing class: 3 hours (written comprehension and expression)
  • Grammar improvement + general language classes: 6 hours (2 classes)
  • Society, history and culture class: 3 hours

Ultimately, the aim is to welcome refugee students into courses at Paris 8 University that correspond to their previous studies (human and social sciences, arts, computer science, mathematics) or help them join other universities that offer courses in their specific disciplines (medicine, pharmacy, etc.).