A time-lapse photo of the Eiffel Tower at sunset

Columbia in Paris

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

Live in the Ville Lumière and immerse yourself in the vibrant and cosmopolitan atmosphere of one of the most storied capitals in the world.  

The next application deadline is Oct 1, 2021
See other program dates

Note about COVID: We are continuing to prepare for in-person programming in 2021-22. Some changes to the program have already been made due to COVID and are reflected on this page. Further modifications may be made as local conditions evolve. Specifics about what to expect will be provided before you make any financial commitments to the program. You are also recommended to make a back up plan as needed. In the meantime, please make an appointment with the program adviser if you have any questions.

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, pursue individual research, and master the French language. Immerse yourself in the city's rich history and multi-cultural fabric. Find your passion and lose yourself in the City of Light.

Overall I felt my experience was incredible, unforgettable, eye-opening, and transformative -- Fall 2018 participant

Program Overview

The program encourages you to challenge yourself both academically and personally. Immersing yourself in the French language through your coursework and daily life, you will push yourself beyond your comfort zone and expand your ways of thinking. By the end of the semester or year, you will find yourself more confident in your role as a global citizen, capable of living, working, and affecting change beyond your national boundaries.

Students in 18th century dress in castle.

Depending on your goals and interests, you will choose from a broad range of options in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. You will take at least one required language course at Reid Hall. You select the rest if your courses from Columbia in Paris electives or at French universities. The program provides academic support and mentoring throughout the program to support you in making the most of your time in Paris.

All coursework (except for Art Humanities or Music Humanities) is in French. French university faculty teach the elective courses at Reid Fall and are committed to undergraduate teaching in a small seminar setting to encourage in-class discussion and debate. French university courses will range from lectures to seminars.

This was one of the loveliest experiences ever. I've changed so much for the better and I don't want to leave! -- Fall 2018 participant

A highlight of the program is the opportunity to engage with local resources. Past students have conducted research in archives with primary materials, engaged with local experts, artists, and writers on important contemporary issues, and participated in academic conferences.

This is a wonderful program, run by wonderful people! Organized, enriching, attentive to the well-being of students. It really is structured with us in mind...It really does give a whole experience -- academics and living in Paris -- Fall 2018 participant

Columbia students may be able to fulfill Core requirements while abroad by enrolling in either Art or Music Humanities, along with a Global Core class.

Fall 2021 Program Updates

For the Fall 2021 semester, Columbia in Paris will undertake the following temporary changes:

  • Local University enrollment will be suspended. Students will enroll in Reid Hall courses only, though those that would like to work with one-on-one faculty at local universities are able to enroll in the Directed Research course option.
  • The courses: Academic Writing, and Language Practicum will be suspended. All other courses except for City Diplomacy are offered in French.
  • Program housing will be limited to single-occupancy dormitory rooms.
  • A Fall 2021 Adapted Refund Policy has been added to this page under "Financial Considerations"

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.
  • Must have completed at least two years of college-level French or the equivalent
  • Minimum 3.0 average language GPA
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • It is expected that you will be enrolled in a French language course in the term preceding your enrollment in Paris. Grammar, composition, or literature courses will better prepare you for a semester in Paris than conversation courses. Failure to continue French language training may affect acceptance to the program

How to apply

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 recently taught you French
  • 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)


Depending on your French proficiency at the start of the program, you will be required to take either one or two language courses in addition to three to four electives. Those electives include:

Black and white photo of students in Paris
  • Specially-developed courses, taught exclusively for the program, that draw on the rich urban fabric of the city.
  • University courses encompassing most undergraduate disciplines including the visual arts and the sciences. (Courses at local universities are suspended for Fall 2021.)
  • The opportunity to conduct a Directed Research project base on your personal specialization and interests, under the guidance of leading thinkers and scholars in your discipline.
  • Columbia Core courses, including Art Humanities, Music Humanities, and Reid-Hall-specific Global Core courses.

For information on recent courses, please see the Paris-based Columbia in Paris program website.

Please note that at least one elective must be taken at an affiliated French university. 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.

French Language Curriculum (Suspended Fall 2021)

French is the main language of interaction at Reid Hall and engagement with the language is a foundation of the program. You will receive robust support as you develop your linguistic abilities through specialized instruction, individual tutoring, and connections to outside resources.

Based on the results of a language assessment during the orientation, you will take part in either one or two language courses. Both courses are designed to help you succeed in your academic work in French.

Academic Writing. (3 points)

This three-week intensive course is mandatory for every student as it introduces them to some of the major differences between French and American ways of approaching academic analysis and production. Course content varies with the level.

Language Practicum. (3 points)

This course, taken by students who place into Level I or II, is a language course at the intermediate and upper intermediate level. Its aims is to sharpen students’ linguistic skills to prepare them for their life in France as a student. It meets twice a week for five hours over 12 weeks and finishes before final work for other classes becomes due. Course content varies in each level.

Test de Connaissance du Francais (TCF)

At the end of their language curriculum, students take a standardized French Language exam called Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF). This test, similar to TOEFL, and recognized in 39 countries, enables students interested in returning to France for post-graduate work (professional or academic) to demonstrate their French language ability.

Content (non-Language) courses

Once you know which French language courses you are taking, you will select your remaining courses from the options below. For more information on current semester courses and scheduling, please visit the Paris-based Columbia Undergraduate Programs in Paris site.

Program Courses

Taught by French faculty in French, these courses have been specifically designed for the program to actively engage students with local resources. Typically, writers, government leaders, and scholars are invited as guest speakers in class, and several courses are taught on-site in museums or around monuments, using the Parisian cityscape as an extension of classroom learning. Courses may include an academic conference or film screening in which faculty and students are invited to engage with a larger audience open to the public. For recent courses and descriptions please see the local Columbia in Paris website.

Fall 2021 Courses

FREN 3817 O: Paris noir/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.

WMST OC3550. Women & Society – The Sex-Trade economy. 3 points

Instructor: Christelle Taraud

Based on an interdisciplinary, intersectional, subalternist and post-colonial approach, this course is a general introduction to the history, sociology and anthropology of the economy of the sex-trade in Africa, America, Asia and Europe from the early nineteenth century to today. It aims to clarify: 1) the historiographical situation by questioning and analyzing the French regulatory system and its many avatars in Europe, the United States and in the colonial world, but also questioning the backlash to this system that consisted firstly of the abolitionist (born in England in the second half of the nineteenth century) and then the prohibitionist movements; 2) The relationship between class, “race” and gender in the sex market via issues of human trafficking and sex tourism in Europe, America, Africa and Asia; 3) The socio-economic issue - and its political connections – in the economy of sex with particular attention to individuals (prostitutes versus sex workers), their voices, their legal status, and even their mobilization (rallies and demonstrations, community collectives and trade unions, political and / or literary publications), but also the many heated debates that these demands for recognition and these mobilizations have provoked in places as diverse as France, the Netherlands and India to take only three specific examples in the world covered in the course.

This course is approved as a Global Core at Columbia.

HSPS 3240 OC. Political Life in France. 3 points.

Instructor: Cédric deBellaing

L'objectif principal du cours est d'offrir une perspective globale sur la vie politique française en rappelant son histoire ainsi qu’en décrivant et en analysant ses principales caractéristiques actuelles. Après avoir présenté les bases du système politique français - dont les institutions, les courants politiques et les enjeux institutionnels majeurs - ce cours abordera les thèmes qui structurent la vie politique française.

AHIS 3682 OC. Issues in 19th Century French Paintings. 3 points.

Instructor: Nicolas Baudouin

Nous nous proposons dans le cadre de ce cours de nous concentrer sur une période clé riche en bouleversements. Nous nous pencherons particulièrement sur l’affirmation de l’individualité de l’artiste par rapport aux institutions et aux grands mouvements picturaux qui ont marqué l’histoire de la peinture française de ce temps. Nous commencerons notre étude par le Néoclassicisme et plus particulièrement par l’œuvre de Jacques Louis David (1748 – 1825) peintre officiel de la Révolution puis de l’Empire et la clôturerons par le Post-Impressionnisme représenté par de fortes personnalités comme Cézanne et Van Gogh qui contribueront de façon cruciale à l’éclosion de l’art moderne au début du siècle suivant. Le contexte socio-politique constituera une donnée essentielle pour la compréhension et l’appréciation des artistes et des œuvres étudiés. Le cours sera structuré en séminaires thématiques illustrés par des diapositives. La participation active des étudiants y est souhaitée. Des visites de musées (Le Louvre, le musée d’Orsay et le musée Gustave Moreau) viendront renforcer ces séances.

FRST 3994 OC. Paris et la France dans les cinémas américains et français: Une perspective transculturelle. 3 points.

Instructor: Marc Cerisuelo

Depuis sa double invention par Thomas Edison et les frères Lumière, et sans présager du génie propre aux autres cinématographies dans le monde, le cinéma est aussi une histoire franco-américaine. Si la France apparaît comme la première puissance dans ce domaine jusqu’à la Première Guerre mondiale, elle a laissé sa place depuis cette époque aux États-Unis d’Amérique. Au même moment le cinéma populaire américain était reconnu sur le plan artistique par la cinéphilie française. Un partage est donc très tôt établi : Hollywood est la terre de la fiction, et la France la nation qui légitime l’avancée du septième art. Dans ce cours d’histoire du cinéma, il s’agira d’abord de s’attarder sur quelques exemples américains (chez Chaplin, Lubitsch, Minnelli pour citer les noms les plus connus) de la représentation de Paris, et de s’interroger à la fois sur son indéniable qualité artistique mais aussi sur la persistance de certains clichés et stéréotypes (l’amour, la mode, le « bien-vivre »). Après ce moment introductif, nous passerons à l’étude du cinéma français depuis les années jusqu’à la période contemporaine. L’on tâchera de comprendre la spécificité de la création française en ce domaine, à travers l’œuvre de grands auteurs (Marcel Carné, Robert Bresson, Jacques Tati), l’importance capitale des deux côtés de l’Atlantique de mouvements célèbres comme la Nouvelle Vague (films de François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Demy), jusqu’aux cinéastes contemporains qui, comme Arnaud Desplechin et Olivier Assayas, parviennent à conjuguer spectacle et autobiographie. Mais il s’agira surtout de saisir, dans une perspective rigoureusement transatlantique, et en s’attachant à la fois aux films, à la critique et aux discours, comment et pourquoi le cinéma français a toujours été à la fois le meilleur ami et le plus constant rival de Hollywood.

CLFR 3821OC: City Diplomacy. 3 points. Taught in English.

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.

This course is approved as a Global Core at Columbia.

Directed Research Option - 4 Points

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 French scholar, they will explore a specific topic in depth and acquire both the methodological and analytical skills necessary for advanced academic research. Students may also decide to do a translation or creative writing project. Students meet with their mentor weekly and complete a mémoire – a research paper of at least 25 pages. Students conduct research in French but may elect to write their final mémoire in English

French University Courses (Suspended Fall 2021)

All students have the opportunity to take courses at an affiliated French university. As with any American university, there will be course offerings in many different disciplines. Students will decide which university best suits their academic interests before leaving for Paris. However, during orientation, students will work with their Columbia in Paris adviser to select specific courses. In most cases, your major or concentration department will need to review the courses to determine if they will be accepted as credit towards your degree.

Columbia University works with the following universities in Paris:

University of Paris I (Panthéon Sorbonne): The University of Paris I is a leading research and education institution in France, which ranks among the best 100 universities worldwide. It is known for having strong departments in art history and archeology, history, law and philosophy.

University of Paris IV (Sorbonne): Located in the heart of the Latin Quarter, the University of Paris IV - Sorbonne is the oldest university in France and one of the first universities in the world. Characterized by a rich culture and tradition, it is especially renowned for its excellent academic programs in literature, languages, arts, and the humanities.

University of Paris VII (Denis Diderot): Paris VII is the only multidisciplinary university in Paris to offer a wide range of courses in the humanities, medicine and science. In 2007, its administration and departments relocated on the South banks of the Seine, near the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. The new campus attracts hundreds of international students each year and houses the most extensive university library in Paris.

Institute Pasteur: Science students have the unique opportunity to work with a ground-breaking research team at the Institut Pasteur under the supervision of Deshmukh N. Gopaul, the head of Design for Biology Center. This center is a new multidisciplinary project-oriented teaching and research facility. It includes a section on synthetic biology linked to the iGEM class (international Genetically Engineered Machines), innovative applied research in biology, and a Fab-Lab. The purpose of the internship is to enable students to put into practice their theoretical knowledge and methods by working on experiments and assist researchers with their work. Students are expected to present their findings in both oral and written reports at the end of the semester. Main skills to develop and acquire: molecular biology, cloning bacterial expression of proteins and characterization of expression by SDS PAGE.

Visual Arts at Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne: Visual Arts majors at Columbia can apply to study studio arts at Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. This option allows students to participate in the Columbia in Paris program and take a studio art courses in the l'UFR des Arts Plastiques et Sciences de l'Art de Paris 1.

Academic Support

All students work with academic advisers who oversee their progress throughout the semester and assist with academic aspects of the program.

In addition, students enrolled in French university courses will be assigned both linguistic and methodological tutors so that they may achieve their highest level of work. Tutors are active academics in the field and an invaluable resource for students intellectual and academic development.


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.

University of Pennsylvania students: The program sends grades directly to Penn for direct posting on the Penn transcript. Please review Penn's guidelines on grades and credit.

Non-Columbia students: Grades are entered into Columbia's 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 immersive homestays 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.


The most popular option for students wishing to deepen their experience with Parisian life is to live with a local family in a homestay. Students who want more independence can opt for a dorm room or can choose to opt out of program housing and find their own lodging.


A highlight of this program is the opportunity to live with a francophone family, giving you

the chance to live like a true Parisian, off the beaten tourist path. Homestays are located throughout Paris and the nearby suburbs and never more than a short train ride from Reid Hall. You will have your own room and share common spaces with your host family and may elect to share meals with them. Sharing meals in France is not only an excellent opportunity to practice your language skills but the chance to partake in an essential part of French culture. About 85% of program students choose to live with a host family to experience firsthand the daily rhythm of French life, learn about Paris from an insider's perspective, and be immersed in a French-speaking environment.

French Student Residences

You can also choose to live in a dorm in Paris. This is different than the residential dorm experience at a college in the United States, offering greater independence and fewer amenities.

Non-Program Housing

Finally, you can choose to your own housing outside of the program. Resources for doing so will be provided in the program handbook, but you should be aware that the program does not offer support for housing once students opt out of program housing.


No meals are included in the program fee, and there is no meal plan unless you have chosen to eat with your host family. 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 many activities that will help students engage with the cultural life of Paris, including:

  • social and cultural activities with French university students
  • excursions with French student groups to the Loire Valley, Vaux le Vicomte, Mont Saint Michel, and Belgium
  • French cuisine and wine workshops
  • local concerts, plays, and performances
  • student teaching and 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.

Daily Living and Schedule

The daily schedule will depend on where you have your classes and will change throughout the semester. At the beginning of the semester, you will likely be at Reid Hall almost every day. Later, you may only come to Reid Hall a few times a week. 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.

New York

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:

Fall 2021:

  • Cost Breakdown for Columbia Students (Coming Soon)
  • Cost Breakdown for Barnard Students (Coming Soon)
  • Cost Breakdown for University of Pennsylvania Students (Coming Soon)
  • Cost Breakdown for Visiting Students (Coming Soon)

Academic Year 2021-2022

  • Cost Breakdown for Columbia Students (Coming Soon)
  • Cost Breakdown for Barnard Students (Coming Soon)
  • Cost Breakdown for University of Pennsylvania Students (Coming Soon)
  • Cost Breakdown for Visiting Students (Coming Soon)

Academic Year 2020-2021

Fall 2020:

Spring 2021 :

*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:


If you decide to withdraw from the program after confirming your participation, please be aware of the financial consequences and the office policies by clicking here.


Due to the unique circumstances of restarting study abroad while the global pandemic continues, we are adapting the refund policies to provide, where possible, an opportunity for students and their families to have as much time to make decisions before committing to studying abroad during Fall 2021. The dates below reflect when programs will need to begin making financial commitments in order to prepare for the fall term.

Deposit: $500

Due: May 17

This is a nonrefundable deposit that is applied to the Program Fee below. It will only be refunded in the following cases by a written request to UGE no later than June 1

  • Your home institution does not permit you to study abroad.

  • For personal reasons

After June 1 the deposit may be refunded for the following reasons:

  • Your home institution does not permit you to study abroad.

  • The program is cancelled before the semester begins. Reasons for cancellation may include but are not limited to concerns about safety, entry/exit restrictions, and/or insufficient enrollment.

  • Your visa is denied or revoked.

Program Fee: $4065 total less the $500 deposit

The Program Fee covers orientation, housing, excursions and other activities during the semester.

Due: July 1

Prior to the program start date, the program fee is non-refundable. Only limited recoverable costs may be refunded in the following cases:

  • Your home institution does not permit you to study abroad.

  • The program is cancelled before the semester begins. Reasons for cancellation may include but are not limited to concerns about safety, entry/exit restrictions, and/or insufficient enrollment.

  • Your visa is denied or revoked.

After the program begins, only limited recoverable costs may be issued if students are required to return home because of the following reasons:

  • Your home institution institutes a requirement for their students to leave the specific program location due to safety concerns.

  • The program makes the decision to ask students to leave the program location due to safety reasons but still offers online instruction.


If a student withdraws before the stated program arrival date, the student will not be charged tuition.

Once the program has begun:

  • If needed, the program can shift to online teaching. In this case, students will have the opportunity to complete their coursework and no tuition will be refunded.

If a student chooses to withdraw from the program after the stated arrival date or is dismissed from the program, the regular Withdrawal and Refund Policy will apply.

Resources for Accepted Students

Fact Sheet

Arts and Architecture, Humanities, Social Sciences, STEM
Barnard College, Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, Columbia General Studies, Non-Columbia Undergraduates
Language of Instruction:
Language Requirement:
4 semesters of language, or equivalent (Intermediate sequence)
Academic Year, Spring, Fall

Dates & Deadlines

Application Deadline: 
Friday, October 1, 2021
Admissions Decision Date: 
Friday, October 15, 2021
Program dates are typically early January to mid-May.
Academic Year
Application Deadline: 
Thursday, April 1, 2021
Admissions Decision Date: 
Thursday, April 15, 2021
Program dates TBA.
Application Deadline: 
Thursday, April 1, 2021
Admissions Decision Date: 
Thursday, April 15, 2021
Program Dates: 
Sunday, September 5, 2021 to Friday, December 17, 2021
Program dates are subject to change.