A time-lapse photo of the Eiffel Tower at sunset

Columbia in Paris: English Track

Language of Instruction: English
Term: Academic Year, Spring, Fall

Explore the cosmopolitan city of Paris while completing coursework in English. 

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Columbia in Paris has been converted to a virtual program for Spring 2021 in order to adhere to local health and safety guidelines to address the COVID-19 pandemic. For students interested in participating during Spring 2021, please visit the Virtual Columbia in Paris program page.

Spend a semester or the full academic year drawing upon the resources of one of the world’s most fabled and beloved capitals. Take one-of-a-kind courses taught in English, while starting or continuing your French language studies.

Program Overview

This new English-language track at Reid Hall, encourages you to pursue your academic interests while starting your French language study. On this program, you will choose from a range of courses taught in English at Reid Hall. You will have the option to study French language, as well enroll in an English-taught elective(s) at a local French university.

Eligibility and Application

  • Must be a currently enrolled undergraduate student and in good academic and disciplinary standing. Students from universities and colleges other than Columbia are welcome to apply.
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA


Want to apply? Click the “Start Your Application" button at the top of this page. If the button doesn't appear above, the program is not yet accepting applications. You will be asked to set up a short profile, which will allow us to send you relevant information about your application. Once you’ve created a profile, you will see a checklist of items that you will need to submit. These generally include:

  • Application questionnaire(s)
  • Personal statement
  • Letter of recommendation from someone who has taught you at the university level who can attest to your academic skills
  • Home school approval/clearance
  • Application fee (if applicable)


Students will choose courses from a variety of courses offered each semester. These specially-developed courses are taught exclusively at Reid Hall and will draw on the rich urban fabric of Paris. Included in these options, may be Columbia Core courses, including Art Humanities, Music Humanities, or Global Core courses. Course offerings will vary by semester, so please find more information about next semester's offerings below.

In additional to Reid Hall courses, students may opt to take local university courses encompassing most undergraduate disciplines including the visual arts and the sciences. More information about partner institutions may be found below.

The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.


Additional Spring 2021 courses will be listed soon.

FREN 3817 O: Black Paris. 3 points.

Instructor: Stéphanie Bérard

This course aims to unveil a lesser known face of Paris linked to its colonial past in order to reread the present social, political and cultural landscape of France’s capital city. By visiting the hotspots of a forgotten Parisian black history, students will learn about the legacy of a colonial past often unknown and neglected. Sites will include the Latin Quarter which saw the birth of Negritude movement in the 1930s with the encounter of African and Caribbean intellectuals (Césaire, Senghor, Damas) and the foundation of the editions Présence Africaine with Alioune Diop; Saint Germain des Prés and Pigalle which celebrated jazz music in cabarets; the Museum of the history of immigration in Porte Dorée and the Musée des Arts Premiers at the Quai Branly. This itinerant historical approach of Paris will be complemented by an exploration of the contemporary cultural and artistic politics of the Black stage as possible in the summer. The reading and analysis of literary and cinematographic works will allow students to tackle social, political and racial issues, and explore further the global dimension of today’s diasporic and multicultural France.

This course is approved as a Global Core at Columbia.

CLFR 3821OC: City Diplomacy

Instructor: Lorenzo Kihlgren Grandi

Based on a comparative and interdisciplinary approach, the city diplomacy course is designed to offer a general introduction to the international role of cities. Through an innovative approach cutting across the boundaries of traditional disciplines (international relations, urban sociology, area studies, history, geography), the course will combine the emerging scholarly literature with a comparative accent linked to the analysis of primary sources from cities and international actors from all regions of the world. As a result, students will learn to connect global and regional macro-dynamics with micro-transformations at the local level, while gaining an in-depth understanding of city diplomacy's core features, management, tangible impact, and evolution.

FREN OC3819: Art in France: 1960 to the present. 3 points.

Instructor: Nicolas Baudouin

This course intends to familiarize students with contemporary art by using the resources offered by Paris. Paris is often presented as a "museum" city having had its hour of glory as a capital of the arts during the first half of the 20th century. Nevertheless, Paris remains today an important center for contemporary art in terms of creation and dissemination. This course will offer students the opportunity to discover the diversity and richness of this contemporary art scene and offer them tools to analyze and better understand contemporary artistic practices by placing them in a critical perspective. A survey of the great avant-garde movements that preceded this period will be offered to contextualize the key issues of French contemporary art. Students will be exposed to the concept of “exception culturelle française” that involved the public institutions as key actors in the field of arts.

Directed Research

One of the highlights of on the Columbia in Paris program is undertaking a Directed Research Project. Highly-motivated students who enjoy working independently will find this option challenging and rewarding. Under the supervision of a local scholar, students will explore a specific topic in depth and acquire both the methodological and analytical skills necessary for advanced academic research. Students meet with their mentor weekly and complete a research paper of at least 25 pages.

Local University Courses

Subject to availability, students are able to take an English-taught course(s) at an affiliated French university. As with any American university, there will be course offerings in many different disciplines. During orientation, students will work with their Columbia in Paris adviser to determine if this option is right for them. In most cases, your major or concentration department will need to review the course to determine if it will be accepted as credit towards your degree.

Columbia University currently partners with the following university in Paris:

Sciences Po: The Institut d'études politiques de Paris, or Sciences Po, is one of the highest ranked institutions in the world for politics and international studies. Students may opt to take one course at Sciences Po's Paris campus. Courses are offered in the following disciplines: economics, international relations, history, political science, and humanities. Many courses taught at Sciences Po offer comparative studies in an international context.

Admission to the Columbia in Paris Program does not guarantee admission to Sciences Po and students who wish to be considered must undertake an additional application process upon admission to the Columbia in Paris: English track program.


All courses taken on the program are converted to an American grading scale and transmitted to students as follows:

Columbia students: Grades appear on SSOL and your transcript any semester grades from courses taken at Columbia. For more information, please see the section on Academic Credit in Steps to Study Abroad.

Barnard students: Grades appear on eBear and your transcript as any semester grades from courses taken at Barnard. For more information, please see the section on Credit and Transcripts for Barnard Students on our Barnard student pages.

Non-Columbia students: Grades are entered into Columbia system and you will need to request a transcript to obtain your final grades. Please see the section on Credit and Transcripts for Non-Columbia Students on the Non-Columbia student pages.

Life in Paris

Your daily life in Paris will be made up of moments, equally beautiful and challenging, that will help you construct your overall experience. The program will empower you with the tools to confront the myth of the city as it is commonly perceived and transform you into an active participant of its dynamic, multi-cultural life. Through academic excursions and activities with local students and scholars, Columbia in Paris will invite you to explore the city in all of its fascinating contradictions and experience it in a way most can only dream of – as a real Parisian.


Please be advised that due to the unpredictable nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, there will be limited housing options in Spring 2021. Students should plan to independently arrange their housing through sublets or short-term rentals. Additional housing options may become available at a later date and applicants will be notified.

Independent Housing

Resources for securing housing will be provided in the Columbia in Paris handbook, including recommended safety guidelines. Students should expect to find their housing prior to arriving in Paris.


No meals are included in the program fee, and there is no cafeteria located within Reid Hall. Grocery stores, boulangeries, fromageries, and charcuteries are abundant in Paris, and you will have no problem buying food supplies for casual dining. Countless low-budget travel guides and blogs will give information about where to eat in Paris. We recommend that you research beforehand if you aren't sure what to expect.


The program offers activities that will help students engage with the cultural life of Paris, including:

  • social and cultural activities
  • local excursions
  • volunteer opportunities

Also, the Columbia Global Center has a robust program of concerts, art openings, symposiums and discussions throughout the year that are open to students on the program, free of charge. Spring 2021 activities will be limited based on health and safety guidelines and may include virtual events where appropriate.


The daily schedule will depend on your class schedule and may change throughout the semester depending on local university enrollment. You will likely commute 35-45 minutes to class daily. This is part of Parisian life.


Located in the lively Montparnasse (sixth) district of Paris, Reid Hall was originally a porcelain factory, built in the early 18th century, before the French Revolution. Conveniently located near the Luxembourg Gardens, it is within walking distance of the Latin Quarter, as well as several branches of the University of Paris.

Today, Reid Hall primarily houses administrative offices and classrooms and also has a small reference library, a student lounge, and two large conference rooms. Students have access to WiFi in classrooms and all common areas of Reid Hall.

Reid Hall is known as a dynamic hub of art, culture, and intellect. At the center of this activity is its interior courtyard and private garden, overflowing with trees and flowers. Idyllic, Reid Hall is perfectly suited to be Columbia's location in Paris and gives students, faculty, and alumni a campus feeling in the heart of Paris.


You will have many questions throughout the phases of your experience abroad. Once you have reviewed the applicable information on this site, please feel free to contact our office.


Please feel free to contact the adviser listed at the bottom of this page with questions.


For staff and faculty in Paris, please see the Paris-based Columbia in Paris site.

Financial Considerations

Many students use a combination of federal student aid and home school grants to fund their undergraduate studies. Many, if not most, of these funds are applicable to studying abroad for a semester or academic year. The costs of studying abroad during the semester or academic year are frequently comparable to those of staying on campus.

All students should work with their home school financial aid office to determine what aid is available for studying abroad.

Please see below for the cost breakdowns for detailed information on all program-related expenses:

Spring 2021 :

  • Cost Breakdown for Columbia Students (Coming soon)
  • Cost Breakdown for Barnard Students (Coming soon)
  • Cost Breakdown for Visiting Students (Coming soon)

*Please Note: Tuition and fees are subject to Board of Trustee approval and may change*

Finding Funding

For more information and resources on financing your time abroad, please see the pages below:

Resources for Accepted Students

Fact Sheet

Arts and Architecture, Foreign Language Learning, Humanities, Social Sciences
Barnard College, Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, Columbia General Studies, Columbia Undergraduates, Non-Columbia Undergraduates
Language of Instruction:
Academic Year, Spring, Fall

Dates & Deadlines

Application Deadline: 
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Admissions Decision Date: 
Friday, October 30, 2020
Program Dates: 
Sunday, January 10, 2021 to Thursday, May 13, 2021
Program dates are subject to change. Mandatory orientation will start on 01/11. Departure date will depend on local university's exam schedule.