Telecom Bretagne merged with Mines Nantes to form
IMT Atlantique on January 1st, 2017

MSc / FAQ - Language skills in English and French


Even though scientific and technical aspects are important features of MSc programmes, poor language skills may jeopardize students' ability to get through exams and/or to communicate and work in teams. Please read the following information carefully.

ENGLISH

  1. I can speak English fluently but I do not hold any qualification such as TOEFL or IELTS. Can I apply for the programme?
     
  2. I do not hold any qualification in English but I intend to take a test soon. Can I apply for the programme in the meantime?
     
  3. Is there any equivalence between English qualifications and the European levels?
     
  4. How can I do a self-assessment based on the European Reference?
     
  5. Can I use English instead of French for exams after the 1st semester?
     
  6. What is Telecom Bretagne DI code for TOEFL?

FRENCH

  1. Is it really possible to attend the MSc programme without any previous knowledge of French?
     
  2. Is it recommended to learn some French before starting the programme?
     
  3. If I have time to study some French before I come, what level should I aim at?
     
  4. Which level in French am I supposed to reach after studying French for 3 semesters at Telecom Bretagne?
     
  5. Are French-speaking students' applications considered for this programme?
     
  6. Are there some extra activities organized during the 3-week French language course in August?

ENGLISH


E1. I can speak English fluently but I do not hold any qualification such as TOEFL or IELTS. Can I apply for the programme?

Yes, you can apply for the MSc programme indicating your estimated level in English (see European levels below) but you must obtain an official English language qualification before applying for the visa (if English was not the language of instruction).

Having a phone conversion could be fine in order to check students' level in English but the problem would come from the visa procedure. Actually, student visas are only issued if a proven language qualification is provided, either in French (for programmes fully in French) or in English (for programmes fully in English or starting in English such as Telecom Bretagne's MSc course).

Students from the European Union do not need a visa. For those EU students who do not hold an official qualification, they must indicate their estimated level in English (and in French) based on the provided self-assessment grid (see below). In this latter case the admission board reserves the right to check language skills (via videoconference such as Skype or during a visit). Applications that include forged statements will be immediately rejected.

E2. I do not hold any qualification in English but I intend to take a test soon. Can I apply for the programme in the meantime?

Yes but your estimated level in English must be at least B2 (see the table below). Intending to enroll in the programme with a level lower than B2 is definitely not reasonable.

E3. Is there any equivalence between English qualifications and the European levels?

An approximate comparison is given below for different English qualifications :

Level TOEFL-IBT
(/120)
TOEFL-PBT
(/677)
IELTS
(/9)
TOEIC
(/990)
Cambridge
C2 110 637 8 900 CPE
C1 85 565 6.5 750 CAE
B2 70 525 5.5 650 FCE
B1 55 480 4.5 500 PET
A2 45 450 3.5 400 KET
A1  25 377 2 300  

IBT: Internet-based test, PBT: Paper-based test

The score required for the MSc programme is PBT: 550 / IBT:79 / IELTS: 6 / TOEIC: 720 / CAE.
From this table it can be seen that this corresponds to a level situated between B2 and C1.

Levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages:

  • C2 (Upper advanced): You can express yourself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely. At this level you are almost bilingual.
  • C1 (Advanced): You can use language flexibly for social, academic and professional purposes. You can understand some nuanced information.
  • B2 (Upper intermediate): You can produce clear text on a wide range of subjects. Although you do not master detailed shades of meaning.
  • B1 (Intermediate): You can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar. Communication is limited in unexpected situations.
  • A2 (Upper elementary): You can communicate in simple and routine tasks. Communication is limited.
  • A1 (Elementary): You can understand and use familiar everyday expressions. Communication is very limited.

E4. How can I do a self-assessment based on the European reference scale?

Assessment can be done easily using the self-assessment grid. Of course such an assessment can be helpful only when achieved in a fairly way.   

E5. Can I use English instead of French for exams after the 1st semester?

The 1st semester is taught in English and exams (questions and answers) are in English. From the following semester onwards, all questions are in French but MSc students are allowed to use English to answer the questions of the exams of semester 2. For semester 3, answers must be written in French. In semester 4 (internship) the exams consist of a report and an oral presentation, both in French.

E6. What is Telecom Bretagne DI code for TOEFL?

For those students who wish their TOEFL results being sent directly to Telecom Bretagne, the DI code that must be provided to ETS organization is 5763. More information on TOEFL qualifications: http://www.ets.org/toefl.

 

FRENCH


F1. Is it really possible to attend the MSc programme without any previous knowledge of French?

Yes, it is definitely possible to attend the programme but students must realize that it requires hard work. Actually, students must be strongly motivated in both science and languages.

Note that our programme is designed for non-French speaking students. The first semester science courses are taught in English and French language classes are provided for beginners.

F2. Is it recommended to learn some French before starting the programme?

Yes, having some basic knowledge of French before arrival is really helpful. Of course, a strong interest in language learning is necessary since all science classes are taught in French from the 2nd semester. See also Question/Answer below.

F3. If I have time to study some French before I come, what level should I aim at?

Of course the highest level is the best but reaching A1 would be great as a first step. Alliances Françaises and private language schools provide French classes and prepare to different qualifications.

TCF stands for "Test de connaissance du français" (Test of French knowledge), TEF means "Test d'évaluation de français" (Test for assessment of French) whereas DELF is "Diplôme d'étude en langue française" (certificate in French language) and DALF is "Diplôme approfondi de langue française" (advanced certificate in French language).
DELF/DALF qualifications are directly given following the European scale. TCF and TEF are also based on this scale which is related to score ranges.

Level TCF score TEF score DELF/DALF Approximate number of hours of learning
C2 600-699  834-900 DALF C2 900
C1 500-599  699-833 DALF C1 700
B2 400-499  541-698 DELF B2 500
B1 300-399  361-540 DELF B1 350
A2 200-299  204-360 DELF A2 200
A1 100-199  69-203 DELF A1 100

Levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

  • C2 (Upper advanced): You can express yourself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely. At this level you are almost bilingual.
  • C1 (Advanced): You can use language flexibly for social, academic and professional purposes. You can understand some nuanced information.
  • B2 (Upper intermediate): You can produce clear text on a wide range of subjects. Although you do not master detailed shades of meaning.
  • B1 (Intermediate): You can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar. Communication is limited in unexpected situations.
  • A2 (Upper elementary): You can communicate in simple and routine tasks. Communication is limited.
  • A1 (Elementary): You can understand and use familiar everyday expressions. Communication is very limited.


F4. Which level in French am I supposed to reach after studying French for 3 semesters at Telecom Bretagne?

Students are supposed to reach at least B2 level in French at the end of the Masters' programme. Such a level is necessary for feeling at ease during the final internship (semester 4) and for a possible experience in a French company. Note that written French is also very important for technical reports as well as for CV, motivation letter, etc.

F5. Are French-speaking students' applications considered for this programme?

Yes of course. French-speaking student can attend the MSc course provided their level in English language is also good enough (B2 level at least) to attend the 1st-semester classes and exams in English. See Questions/Answers in the English section above.

F6. Are there some extra activities organized during the 3-week French language course in August?

During the last 3 weeks of August, Telecom Bretagne organizes an optional intensive French language course accessible to MSc students (the cost corresponds to a reduced rate which is is announced on the French course webpage). It includes language classes, catering (lunch and dinner), insurance, visits and social activities (accommodation is not included).

Generally around 80 students from all around the world (20+ nationalities) attend this course in a friendly environment. Groups range from beginners to intermediate level. During this period, students can enjoy the summer in Brittany through tourism and by taking part in cultural and sporting activities. It is also possible to make the most of the beach which is located very close to the campus. Every year Telecom Bretagne organizes visits, seaside walking and a sea kayak trip on a river as well as Breton dance lessons.

  • Institut Carnot Télécom & Société numérique
  • Télécom Bretagne Alumni
  • Université Bretagne Loire
  • Fondation Télécom
  • Institut Mines-Telecom
Technopole Brest-Iroise - CS 83818 - 29238 Brest Cedex 3 - France - Tel : 33 (0)2 29 00 11 11 - Fax : 33 (0)2 29 00 10 00