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French School Subjects Vocabulary

French School Subjects Vocabulary

What are the school subjects in French?

The main school subjects in French are les maths (math), le français (French), l’anglais (English), la chimie (chemistry), la physique (physics) and l’histoire-géographie (history and geography). This page offers a complete list of over 60 school subjects in French.

French school subjects vocabulary

Math & Science

The French school system has traditionally put a strong emphasis on math (les maths) and science (les sciences). In history, French school kids have been ahead of North American kids in math and science.

All French high school students take classes in calculus and physics while these classes are often for only the strongest students in the United States.

French Math & Science
  • les mathématiques math
  • l’algèbre algebra
  • la biologie biology
  • le calcul infinitésimal calculus
  • la chimie chemistry
  • l’imformatique computing
  • les sciences de la Terre earth science
  • l’enseignement scientifique general science
  • la géométrie geometry
  • la science de la vie life science
  • la chimie organique organic chemistry
  • le sciences physiques physical science
  • la physique physics
  • le travail manuel éducatif (TME) technology
  • la trigonométrie trigonometry

While schools in the US offer classes in art, the French school system does not necessarily offer such classes.

Many kids in France participate in art activities after school. The same applies to theater and acting. While performances are a big part of the high school experience, the US, they are not in France.


  • l’art art
  • les arts décoratifs applied arts
  • le théâtre theater
  • le dessin drawing
  • les beaux arts fine arts
  • les arts du spectacle performing arts
  • la danse dancing
French Arts

Language & writing

In France, all kids are giving the opportunity to study a foreign language. In fact, kids select both a first foreign language, almost always English, and a second foreign language.

The most common second foreign languages for French kids are German, Spanish, Italian and Dutch.

  • la langue vivante modern languages
  • l’écriture créative creative writing
  • l’anglais English
  • les langues étrangères foreign langauges
  • le français French
  • l’allemand German
  • la grammaire grammar
  • le grec Greek
  • l’italien Italian
  • le journalisme journalism
  • la linguistic language arts
  • le latin Latin
  • la littérature litterature
  • la poésie poetry
  • l’espagnol Spanish
French Writing Arts

Social studies

The French school system does a very good teaching history and geography. In France, the class is called Histoire-Géo, which is short of Histoire-Géographie. French history classes focus heavily on the history of France and its role in Europe and the world.

  • le sciences sociales social studies
  • l’éducation civique civics
  • la commerce buisiness
  • l’économie (f) ecomics
  • la géographie geography
  • l’histoire history
  • l’histoire-géographie history and geography, humanities
  • la politique politics
  • l’instruction religieuse religious studies
  • la psychologie psychology
  • la sociologie sociology
  • la philosophie philosophy


Similar to the previously mentioned subjects of art and theater, French schools typically do not offer students a music class.

French kids often go to separate music school where they receive instruction and participate in bands and orchestras. French schools typically do not offer wood shop and home economics classes either.

  • la musique music
  • le solfège music theory
  • l’éducation ménagère home economics
  • le travail sur bois woodshop
  • la haute cuisine culinary arts
  • les cours de code et de conduite au lycée drivers ed

Physical education

All French kids are obligated to attend physical education classes. Unlike North America, kids often play rugby in gym class.

  • l’EPS (éducation physique et sportive) physical educaion (PE)
  • la gymnastique gymnastics

The following pages offer longer vocabulary lists for specific school subjects: math, science, biology, physics, education and classroom commands.

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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