French Phrases: Names of school subjects in French

Here are the names of the most common subjects studied in French schools. Names of languages are masculine and names of sciences are generally feminine.

Note: as in England, various weird and whacky initials have appeared in French education system over the years for names of various school subjects. At GCSE or SAT level, you generally don't have to learn all these various initials. The most useful and widely used in ordinary secondary schools are probably EPS and SVT.

Also available:
 School crossword
 School vocabulary flash cards

tronc communtʁõ kɔmæ̃core subjects
allemandalmɑ̃German
anglaisɑ̃gleEnglish
artart
biologiebjoloʒibiology
chimieʃimichemistry
enseignement scientifiqueɑ̃sɛnjmɑ̃ sjɑ̃tifikgeneral science, =dual-award science
EPS1øpeɛsPE, sport and physical education
espagnolɛspanjɔlSpanish
françaisfʁɑ̃seFrench
géo(graphie)ʒeogʁafigeography
grecgʁɛkgreek
histoireistwaʁhistory
histoire-géo(graphie)istwaʁʒeohumanities, history and geography
IGC2iʒese=ICT
langue vivantelɑ̃g vivɑ̃tmodern language
latinlatæ̃latin
mathématiquesmatematikmathematics
physiquefizikphysics
religionʁəliʒjõreligion, religious studies
SES3ɛsøɛseconomic and social sciences
STI4ɛsteiindustrial sciences
STL5ɛsteɛllaboratory sciences
ECJS6øseʒiɛs=PSE, civil education
SVT7ɛzvetebiology, earth sciences
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Notes:
1. éducation physique et sportive
2. informatique, gestion et communication
3. sciences économiques et sociales
4. sciences et technologies industrielles
5. sciences et technologies de laboratoire
6. éducation civique, juridique et sociale
7. sciences de la vie et de la terre

Grammar: talking about school subjects

In general, when talking about an individual school subject, French speakers always use the article le, la or l' with the name of the subject. So for example:

j'étudie le français
I'm studying French
l'histoire est très difficile
history is very difficult

However, the article is not generally used:

  • with the preposition en;
  • in compounds with de (prof de..., cours de...), or with "quantitive" expressions (peu de..., beaucoup de...); un cours de mathématiques;
  • in lists of subjects.

For example:

il est fort en histoire
he's good at history
c'est mon prof de chimie
he's my chemistry teacher
il a étudié beaucoup de français
he's studied a lot of French
je fais français, histoire et anglais
I'm doing French, history and English

See also:
 educational establishments in French
 French phrases for talking about school and education


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Page written by Neil Coffey. Copyright (c) Javamex UK 2014. All rights reserved.