Columbia Summer in Paris

Language of Instruction: English, French
Term: Summer

Delve into the paradoxes of French and Francophone history and culture while exploring the cosmopolitan city of Paris. 

Program Notifications Sign-Up

Notify me when the application for this program is available

The program invites you to explore all that the city of Paris has to offer during a seven-week program based at Columbia's Reid Hall in Paris. Choose from a menu of courses in French language, culture, literature/film, art history and history. From rapid progress in your French language skills to exploring both contemporary and historical issues in French and Francophone culture, you will go outside of the typical tourist experience to gain an insider’s view of the city.

Program Overview

Students learn about the layered history, art, literature, culture, and society of Paris, France and the Francophone world while also having the option to study and practice French. The program is suitable for many different majors and students do not need to have French language background to apply. Columbia undergraduate students may be able to fulfill core requirements at Columbia such as Global Core and language proficiency.

  • The program offers many different courses from which to choose, with total point options ranging from 6-10 points for the summer
  • All students are required to enroll in at least 2 courses

Course combinations will provide opportunities to deepen the appreciation of Parisian visual culture, to rapidly improve French language skills, to learn more about French/Francophone culture through history, film and literature, or to fulfill Columbia core requirements such as the Global Core or language proficiency.

A special feature of the program, intended for students hoping to immerse themselves in a French language experience, is the French Scholars Program. This special opportunity for advanced French students provides a fully immersive linguistic experience with dedicated co-curricular and extra-curricular experiences.

Throughout the program, activities are planned in conjunction with the courses to offer more cultural exposure to the city.

You have the option to increase your exposure to French by living in a homestay and sharing 3 meals per week with your host family, or you can live in a dorm (singles or doubles) or find your own housing.

Eligibility and Application

  • Currently enrolled undergraduate students in good academic and disciplinary standing
  • Graduate students and post-graduates are all eligible to apply
  • Minimum 3.0 average language GPA (if applicable)
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Students must meet prerequisites for individual courses

How to apply

Want to apply? Click the “Start Your Application" button at the top of this page. If the button doesn't appear, 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


Participants choose their courses according to personal aspirations and interests as well as the course schedule. All students must enroll in a minimum of 6 points.

Please note that the course offerings and schedule are still subject to change. Attendance at all class meetings, concerts, and excursions, unless otherwise indicated, is mandatory.

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

Language courses

Students who have completed the first semester of elementary year of French (or the equivalent) can choose different options to continue their French language studies depending on their academic goals and curricular needs. The language courses listed below are all designed to help you make progress in your linguistic skills.

French OC1102: Elementary French II. 4 points.

Prerequisites: One semester of college-level French or the equivalent
Instructor: TBD

Designed to help you get the most out of your time in the program, this course provides the basic grammatical structures needed to communicate in French. Using a communicative approach as the main instructional method, you will practice all four language skills—listening, speaking, reading, and writing—while being introduced to the cultural features of diverse French-speaking communities. You will use Paris as part of your daily practice, allowing your explorations of the city to become integral to your language learning.

French OC1201 Intermediate French I. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Two semesters of college-level French or the equivalent
Instructor: TBD

Prepares students for advanced French language and cultures, focusing on developing correct usage through explanations and practice. Gaining a deeper understanding of the French language through readings of poems and short stories, students practice a variety of communication tasks, as they are engaged in ever more complex forms of discourse.

This course is for students who wish to make progress on their language learning goals while also taking at least one additional course in English.

French OC1205 Accelerated Intermediate French I and II. 6 points.

Prerequisites: One year of college-level French or the equivalent
Instructor: Vincent Aurora, Columbia University

Covering the entire second year of French, this course is highly intensive and requires a high level of commitment from students. Students applying for this course should have a strong background in Elementary French or significant experience with another Romance language. The course is capped at 12 participants and is for students who are strongly committed to working on their French for several hours a day. An additional interview may be required for admission.

This course is for students who want to make rapid and solid progress in their French language skills in a short amount of time by focusing exclusively on language acquisition for the duration of the summer.

French OC1202 Intermediate French II. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Three semesters of college-level French or the equivalent
Instructor: TBD

This course will cover all the grammatical structures in Columbia’s Intermediate II curriculum. The course’s objective is three-fold: to advance the grammatical command of written and spoken French; to contextualize language study with a variety of literary, artistic, and cultural readings in the classroom; and to provide the opportunity to reinforce and refine new skills and knowledge through an immersive experience in Paris. By the end of the course, students will feel comfortable navigating the city of Paris and communicating with native French speakers; they will also be ready to excel in upper level literature and culture courses at their home university.

French OC3405: 3rd Year Grammar and Composition. 3 points.

Prerequisites: Two years of college-level French or the equivalent.
Instructor: Aline Rogg, Columbia University

The goal of this course is to help students refine their grammar, reading and writing skills while exposing them to a wide array of texts, films, and experiences of the city of Paris. The selected texts represent a variety of time periods and genres, but offer thematic continuity through an exploration of past and present debates on “Frenchness” and the representation of the Other, with an emphasis on the imaginary of the Parisian banlieue and hip hop culture. Our reading and reflecting will be sustained by advanced grammar exercises, which will also increase the students’ awareness of stylistic processes. The course’s readings will function as points of departure for practicing writing through creative pieces as well as French forms of academic writing: “resumé,” “explication de texte,” and “dissertation.” Activities outside of the classroom will take the form of group outings either in lieu of a class or as homework.

NOTE: Students enrolled in 3rd Year Grammar and Composition who take their other courses in French may be considered part of the French Scholars Program and take part in French-only excursions

French and Francophone Culture Courses

The French and Francophone culture courses are all designed to deepen your engagement with the paradoxes, pleasures, and contradictions of Paris, France, and France's relationship with it's former colonies. Taken in English or in French, these courses will challenge you to look at the history and culture of France from various perspective while using the city as an essential resource throughout the program.

Courses taught in English have no prerequisites. For students taking courses taught in French who have not yet completed a 5th semester of French (or the equivalent), we require that you take the 3rd Year Grammar and Composition course to support your linguistic proficiency in your other course.

If you have already completed the equivalent of two years of college-level French (through Intermediate II) and would like to immerse yourself in the French language, the new French Scholars Program provides an immersive linguistic experience. Through this special opportunity you can enroll in courses taught exclusively in French and participate in excursions and cultural activities where the use of French is expected in order to enhance your experience of deep cultural and linguistic learning.

Courses Taught in English

Art History OC4651: Paris, Capital of Modernity? 3 points.

Prerequisites: None
Instructor: Kelly Presutti

This course takes the city as its classroom, introducing students to the art and architecture of modern Paris while examining the influx of people, ideas, and objects from other cultures that contributed to that modernity. Students will have exclusive access to the Musée d’Orsay and will visit numerous other museums and galleries during the course. We will discuss the impact of Revolution(s) on the city’s infrastructure; study France’s Empire in the Louvre; look for evidence of the arrival of Caribbean immigrants to the city in painterly practice; evaluate Haussmannization and its eventual export to Latin America in a café in a covered passage; interrogate the relationship between nature and city in the Parc Monceau and in the work of the Impressionists; debate restitution at the Musée du Quai Branly while considering Picasso’s appropriation of African masks; and assess the impact of France’s colonial empire on architect Le Corbusier’s designs at his Maison La Roche. Students will leave the course with both a strong knowledge of the city and a critical awareness of how its modernity is situated within the global context of the nineteenth century.

Art History OC4652: Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to the Harlem Renaissance and Today 3 points.

Prerequisites: None
Instructor: Denise Murrell

This course will be based on the concurrent Musée d’Orsay exhibition Le Modèle Noir de Gericault à Matisse (The Black Model from Gericault to Matisse) and its precedent version at the Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University in New York. It will explore the changing modes of portraying the black figure as foundational to the development of modern art. It will consider Manet’s three portrayals of the black model Laure, including in his iconic Olympia (1863), and related images by the Impressionists Bazille, Degas and Cezanne, in the context of the artists’ interface with a small community of free black Parisians that expanded following the final 1848 abolition of French territorial enslavement. Precedent works, from Benoist to Delacroix, will capture depictions of the black body as symbolic of empire. The course will trace this legacy into trans-Atlantic twentieth century modernism, with the urbane “New Negro” portraits of Harlem Renaissance artists including William H. Johnson, and the late work of Henri Matisse, who visited Harlem jazz clubs and later portrayed an international roster of black models. It will conclude with a look at this legacy for contemporary black France.

This course is approved as a Global Core at Columbia.

Film OC4225: Topics in World Cinema: The Arab World and Africa. 3 points.

Prerequisites: None
Instructor: Richard Pena, Columbia University

An overview of the major developments in the art and industry of cinema in the Arab World and Africa, ranging from its earliest days to the most recent works of the digital era. Especially since the Sixties, Arab and African filmmakers have developed dynamic national cinemas that have sought to tell their own stories in their own ways—even when those accounts often reveal problems and contradictions in their societies. The interaction of Arab and African filmmakers with international movements such as neorealism, modernism, cinema vérité, and postmodernism will be addressed. Among the filmmakers to be studied are Youssef Chahine, Elia Suleiman, Ousmane Sembene and Abderrahmane Sissako. A visit will be planned to Paris's Institut du Monde Arabe, and several classes will feature visits by Arab and African filmmakers as well as critics and scholars of Arab and African cinema.

This course is approved as a Global Core at Columbia.

FREN OC3829: Subversive Paris: Protest in Contemporary Francophone Literature and Visual Cultures. 3 points.

Prerequisites: None
Instructor: Blase A. Provitola, Columbia University

At a historical moment when rethinking resistance seems so pressing to many, this course turns to France’s rich legacy of social and political subversion to ask: Why and how do people protest? Who is granted the right to protest? How does cultural production mobilize, document, or respond to these movements? We will put French social movements in conversation with the literary and visual works that influence and are influenced by them, with an emphasis on those taking place in Paris from the 1960s to the present. We will explore not only what is protested, but how it is protested, and how various literary and artistic forms represent social issues and the movements that rally around them. This course will examine a wide variety of mediums: novels, poems, témoignages (firsthand accounts), feature films, photographs, zines, archival and documentary footage, social theory, protest songs and slogans, and political tracts.In addition to class time, students will attend 4-5 film screenings and 2-3 trips to cultural sites around Paris. Possible class trips might include trips to famous protest sites, the street art museum at the Trocadero, or a DIY silkscreen workshop with local artists.

This course is currently under review for approval by the Columbia Committee on Instruction.

Courses Taught in French

French OC3817: Paris noir. 3 points.

Prerequisites: 5 semesters of college-level French or the equivalent, or 4 semesters of college-level French and enrollment in 3rd Year Grammar and Composition.
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.

French OC3823: Colonization and Post-colonial Immigration in the French Context: History, Legacy and Contemporary Debates. 3 points. Taught in French.

Prerequisites: 5 semesters of college-level French or the equivalent, or 4 semesters of college-level French and enrollment in Advanced Grammar and Composition.
Instructor: Laure Blevis, University of Paris Nanterre.

This class will explore the political, historical and sociological aspects of (post) colonial immigration in France. We will examine specifically how immigrants have shaped the history and the construction of French society and in return were the subjects of permanent debates, exclusion and discriminatory practices. Special attention will be given to the discussion of the gap between myths, discourses and reality : while claiming for homogeneity and integration, French society remains at least partially characterized by ethnic diversity and racial or social exclusion, exemplified by the discriminations against non-European immigrations or by the sub-urban ghetto.

Post-colonial immigration is also the best entry to question the complex and often passionate relationships of France with its former colonies.

Adopting a pluridisciplinary approach, this course aimed to introduce the students to the complexity of French debates and controversies regarding post-colonial migrants, in order to enable them to participate freely to daily discussions with French people and make them have the full experience of Paris life.

French OC3825: Vie et société dans le théatre français--Theatre and Society in France. 3 points. Taught in French.

Prerequisites: 5 semesters of college-level French or the equivalent, or 4 semesters of college-level French and enrollment in Advanced Grammar and Composition.
Instructor: Laurie Postlewate, Barnard College

This course explores the connections between theatre and society in France, today and in the past, by close reading and performance of six plays from different periods. We will examine specifically how French theatre ‘plays out’ situations in which individual will and desire confront the demands of community, and language and gesture are used to represent problems of the human condition. The overarching question for the course is: how does theatrical performance reflect social reality, both in the moments of composition and original mise en scène, and through recreations for new audiences? From this point, related lines of inquiry emerge: for any given play and any given performance what are the social situations, tensions, preoccupations, and problems that theatre seeks to expose and express? How is individual agency within a collective expressed through characters and plot? To what degree is that expression shaped not only by the text of the play, but by multiple elements of performance, including its interpretive and technical dimensions? In a broader sense, what is the role of theatre in French society today, what has it been in the past, and why is theatre considered in France a particularly powerful medium for the expression of social situations and problems?

In addition to scheduled class sessions and play performances, students will have the opportunity for several related outings, such as guided visits of the Comédie Française and the Théâtre National de l’Odéon. We also propose to organize a roundtable event at Reid Hall, bringing together young playwrights, actors, directors, and other practitioners for a discussion of the theatrical scene in Paris and in France today. Finally, students will do their own performance of “La Cantatrice Chauve” in the final week of the summer session. This performance is incorporated into our experience as another means to study and respond to theatre.

Academic Schedule

When selecting your courses, please make sure that the courses you choose are not in conflict with each other. In general, the program tries to avoid conflicts with courses.PDF icon Columbia Summer in Paris: Course Schedule: Summer 2019

Grades and Transcripts

Grading Policy

Click here for the Columbia summer program grading policies.


Upon successful completion of the program, grades are entered into Columbia's online grading system.

No credit is granted to students who do not complete the full 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 as 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: can request electronic transcripts online through the Columbia University registrar.

Life in Paris



A highlight of this program is the opportunity to live with a francophone family, giving you the opportunity to live like a true Parisian. Homestays are located throughout Paris and the nearby suburbs, which allows you to get to know a less touristy version of Paris. You’ll have your own room and share common spaces with your host family. You will share three dinners per week with them, giving you the chance to practice your language skills and to learn about the French perspective on the world.


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. There are both double and single options. For summer 2018, the program will house students at the AGEFO-Jerome Lejeune (singles) and the Maison des Mines (singles). Costs for the upcoming summer will be posted in the financial section of the website.


Finally, you can choose to to find their own housing outside of the program. Resources for doing so will be provided in the program handbook, but students 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 students have chosen to live in a homestay, in which case three dinners per week are provided. However, there are grocery stores, boulangeries, fromageries, and charcuteries where students can buy food supplies for casual dining.

There are several low-budget travel guides that give information about where to eat in Paris. In addition, there are many blogs devoted eating in Paris. It is recommended that you research beforehand if you aren’t sure what to expect.


The program already has many course-related activities, as well as a few social events, that will help students engage with the cultural life of Paris. Past activities have included theater workshops, pottery, crépe-making, wine tasting, and excursions around Paris. You will have adequate time to explore Paris on your own and to soak up the ambiance of the city Paris in the summer. In addition, the Columbia Global Center|Paris has many activities throughout the summer that are open to students on the program at no charge.

Daily Living and Schedule

Depending on the specific courses you take, you will have different commitments for work outside of class. Your commute to Reid Hall will also be between 35-50 minutes, on average. Weekends are free and students are encouraged to travel within France or enjoy Paris on the weekends.


The home base of Columbia University in Paris is the Columbia Global Centers|Paris at Reid Hall, where all of your classes will take place. Reid Hall is a small group of buildings owned and administered by Columbia. It also serves as an educational center for other American universities and for scholars from around the world. For more than a century, its long and distinguished past of intellectual, artistic, and cultural exchange has made it significant for the relationship between France and the United States.

Reid Hall, constructed in the early 18th century before the French Revolution, is located in the lively Montparnasse (6th arrondissement) district of Paris, near the Luxembourg Gardens and within walking distance of the Latin Quarter and several branches of the University of Paris. Modern additions have enlarged the facility, creating an interior courtyard and private garden. Reid Hall primarily houses administrative offices and classrooms and also has a small reference library, a reading room, lounges, a multimedia lab, and two large conference rooms. Students have access to WiFi in all common areas of Reid Hall.


The faculty and program are supported by the staff of the Columbia Undergraduate Programs in Paris and the Columbia Global Centers: Paris. You will be introduced to the Columbia Undergraduate Program staff during the orientation.


Please see individual courses for faculty links.

Financial Considerations

Program Fee Summer 2019 (tuition only):

  • 6 points: $8,400
  • 7 points: $9,800
  • 9 Points: $12,600
  • 10 Points: $14,000

Tuition and fees are subject to Board of Trustees approval and may change.

Please see our cost breakdown for detailed information on additional estimated expenses.

Financial aid and scholarships

If you are on financial aid, check to see if it can be applied to studying abroad. In general summer financial aid is not available to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering students, but may be available to School of General Studies students. Non-Columbia students should check with their home schools for funding availability.

Funding Your Summer in Paris

Columbia undergraduate and Barnard students may apply for the following scholarship applicable to this program:
Beesen Global Travel Fellowships

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

Withdrawal PolicY

If you decide to withdraw from the program after it has already started, please be aware of the financial consequences and office policies by clicking here.

Resources for Accepted Students

Fact Sheet

Arts and Architecture, Foreign Language Learning, Humanities
Barnard College, Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, Columbia General Studies, Columbia Graduate Students, Non-Columbia Graduate Students, Non-Columbia Undergraduates
Language of Instruction:

Dates & Deadlines

Application Deadline: 
Friday, March 1, 2019
Admissions Decision Date: 
Friday, March 15, 2019
Program Dates: 
Sunday, June 9, 2019 to Saturday, July 27, 2019
Late applications may be considered. Please contact with inquiries.