Study Abroad in Paris, France

Study Abroad in Paris: Courses

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All courses are subject to change at the discretion of the Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne. For the most current course listings, please contact the AIFS Admissions Officer. Please note that the CCFS issues ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits. The number of class hours and ECTS credits will be shown on the transcript to allow each student’s home institution the ultimate decision in the awarding of U.S. credit. Recommended U.S. credits are shown in parentheses.

Language levels are defined according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and will be listed on your transcript on completion of the program.

Optional Early Start: Intensive French Language and Culture Preparation in Cannes

The Early Start Option is 2 weeks in length and takes place in Cannes prior to the start of the Fall Quarter and the Spring Semester in Paris. All levels of French are available.

Beginner French 100/A1 (2)
Elementary French 150/A2 (2)
Intermediate French 200/B1 (2)
Advanced French 300/B2 (2)
Superior French 400/C1 (2)
Experienced French 450/C2 (2)

French Language and Culture Program - Semester Courses

French Language Courses (Required)

Students are placed into the appropriate level of French according to an online placement test taken prior to departure from the U.S. or according to their placement in Cannes if they participated in the Early Start Program.

Students are advised to obtain pre-approval from their home institution for several different levels of French to ensure that they receive credit for the course that they test into.

French 101 (10) | Beginner French + Phonetics

First year cours pratique in French grammar and writing practice for beginners and students with up to two years of college French.

French 151 (10) | Elementary French + Phonetics

This course reviews basic grammar and further studies the foundations of the French language. Many complex grammar points are considered, giving students a solid background in the language.

French 201 (10) | Intermediate French + Phonetics

Classes cover vocabulary, grammar, composition and textual analysis. Students work on describing their feelings, on giving explanations, justifications and opinions. Events in the past and future are recounted with ease. French literature is introduced.

French 251 (10) | Upper Intermediate French + Phonetics

Students taking this class work with professional documents and correspondence enabling them to tackle more complex themes while developing their analytical skills. They learn to advise, to debate and present a logical argumentation. French literature is studied and placed in its socio-historical context.

French 301 (10) | Advanced French + Phonetics

Reviewing and perfecting vocabulary, grammar, composition and textual analysis. Taken in conjunction with a phonetics class.

French 401 (10) | Superior French + Phonetics

Perfecting techniques already learned and acquiring a more sophisticated written and spoken style. Taken in conjunction with a phonetics class.

Phonetics Laboratory
The French language course is always taught in conjunction with a Phonetic French course, the purpose of which is to give students a working knowledge of the language for everyday needs. Students are grouped together according to their French language level and according to common difficulties in pronunciation. Emphasis is on articulation at Beginner, Elementary and Intermediate levels. At Advanced level, students work on rhythm, continuity and intonation. On average, semester and quarter students take 5 hours of phonetics per week for 6 weeks for a total of 30 hours.

Electives Taught in English

Art History/Cultural Studies 320 (3) spring only  | History of Paris through its Architecture and Painting (13th-19th century) 

Through visits to important museums and architectural sites, students discover the key moments in French history, gaining not only a deeper understanding of the country but also a more intimate knowledge of its capital city and the cultural treasures it houses. 

Fine Arts 310 (3) fall only  | French Painting from the 17th to the 19th Century: from Classicism to the Impressionists 

The course enables students to understand the evolution of French art from the 17th to the 19th centuries, placing both artists and their works in their historical, social, financial and political context. 

History/Cultural Studies 330 (3) fall only  | Franco-American Relations from Historical, Literary and Artistic Perspectives 

From their first contact to the present, the peoples of America and France have enjoyed close ties, be they political, artistic or literary. This course encourages students to explore these ties, considering how the people of each nation have influenced one another over the centuries, to produce some of the greatest works of music, literature and thought of modern times. 

History/Sociology 350 (3) spring only  | Multiculturalism and Modern France 

What does it mean to be French? This is the key question raised in this class, the question of French “identity”. Through examination of migration and colonization, combined with visits to relevant museums, students consider the various cultures that coexist in today’s France, examining the challenges and issues that this “multiculturalism” poses for the modern French state. 

Literature/Cultural Studies 340 (3) fall/spring  | French Literature, and Civilization 

Explores the various intellectual, historical, political and social trends in France as well as artistic currents and movements from the beginning of the 19th century through World War One; the mutual influences and interdependence between poetry, music, painting and literature in general will be studied as one of the important features of this period. 

Electives Taught in French

Elective courses are open to all French levels but are recommended for Elementary level and above. This is a selection of elective lecture courses offered in the past.

With their home university’s approval students can select and combine 3 lectures in French from those listed and transfer this as a French History and Culture course for 3 credits.

Art History 002 (1)  (open to all levels) | Histoire de l’Art Français/French Art History 

From the 17th to the 20th centuries, a number of significant artistic movements, including Impressionism, Cubism and Surrealism, have made their mark on the history of art in Europe. Through examination of at least one major work each session, this course enables students to understand the evolution of these movements and their relationship to one another.

Students are encouraged to visit museums such as the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, in order to see the works for themselves and further explore the artists and periods discussed in class. 

Art History 015 (1) fall only  (open to all levels) | Histoire de l’Art en France: du Moyen-Age au 17è siècle / History of Art in France: from the Middle-Age to the 17th century 

From the Roman period to the early 18th century, the History of French Art is here examined through its monuments and paintings, including the Louvre, Notre-Dame Cathedral as well as works of Poussin and Greuze. 

Cultural Studies 003 (1) (open to Elementary and Intermediate levels for fall, open to all levels for spring) | La Gastronomie Française/French Gastronomy 

Food is an integral part of French life around which so many domestic, professional and national events revolve. From Its origins to its role in contemporary society, French gastronomy is here considered as a key economic force as well as a source of national pride. 

Cultural Studies 005 (1) (open to all levels) | Poésie et Chanson/Poetry and Song 

The course considers the relationship between poetry and song, examining not only their affinity but also the hybrid styles that modern cities have helped to evolve. At the end of the course, through direct contact with performers/authors, students will have live experience of the media studied. 

Cultural Studies 013 (1) spring only (open to Elementary and Intermediate levels) | Panorama des Habitudes et des Traditions Françaises/Panorama of French Habits and Traditions 

This course focuses on French tradition and folklore, considering the Republic in terms of its citizens and Institutions, its food and great artists. Whilst work and school are significant topics, so too are holidays and leisure. 

French Culture 012 (1) spring only (open to Beginner level) | Découvrir la Culture Française/Discovering French culture 

Covering geography, politics, gastronomy and the media, this journey into the heart of French culture lifts the lid on a nation that is known as much for its revolutionary fervor as for its enjoyment of wine and cheese, revealing a both complex and fascinating national identity. 

French Eco-Soc 011 (1) spring only  (open to Elementary and Intermediate levels) | Actualités Économiques et Sociales: Clés pour Comprendre la France/ Economic and Social Current Affairs: Keys for Understanding France 

Through consideration of key aspects of French life such as religion, language, education and work, this course aims to familiarize students with the economic and social reality in France. 

French Language 014 (1) fall only (open to Upper Intermediate, Advanced and Superior levels) | La Petite et la Grande Histoire de la Langue Française/The Little and Large Story of the French Language 

Tracing the history of the language, this course examines the development of French from its early origins to modern day usage. 

French Literature 016 (1) fall only (open to Upper Intermediate, Advanced and Superior levels) | Autobiographie - Autofiction/Autobiography - Auto-fiction 

This course outlines literature from Proust to Modiano, including many of the great names of the 20th century. Particular attention is paid to ways in which personal stories interact with collective memory and history. 

French Politics 009 (1) spring only (open to Upper Intermediate, Advanced and Superior levels) | Vie Politique Française, Histoire et Actualité/French Political Life: History and Current Affairs 

This course follows a chronological path through the consecutive governments of the 5th Republic. It examines the social, media and institutional stakes of French political life, enabling students to understand the most important questions facing modern France and its politicians today. 

French Fashion and Society 017 (1) fall only  (open to all levels) | Mode et Société/Fashion and Society 

French fashion is well known throughout the world, a fact this course seeks to explain. Through discussion of designer labels and the textile industry as a whole, students consider how fashion and French society are so closely tied. 

History 004 (1) (open to Upper Intermediate, Advanced and Superior levels) | Le Château de Versailles/The Palace of Versailles 

Versailles is amongst the most significant monuments in France. Visitors have for centuries been impressed by the building as well as the institution and it is through examination of these visitors’ reactions to the palace that students gain an understanding of its role during both the Ancient Régime and under subsequent political systems. 

History/Architecture 018 (1) fall only  (open to Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate levels) | Un Autre Regard sur Paris: Paris Animal/A Different Look at Paris: Animal Paris 

From the outset, Paris has had associations with all sorts of creatures, from snails to rats. In studying this course, students examine the multitude of animal references that abound in French literature, art and history, journeying from literature and architecture to modern-day ecology. 

Literature/Art History 006 (1) (open to Advanced and Superior levels for fall, open to Intermediate and Advanced levels for spring) | Portraits d’auteurs, portrait d’époque, du 19è siècle à nos jours/Author Portraits, Period Portraits, from the 19th century to Today 

What do art and literature have to do with history? This course aims to answer that question through analysis of key literary and artistic figures who marked their generation. 

Media Studies 008 (1) fall only (open to Upper Intermediate, Advanced and Superior levels) | Médias, Communication et Publicité en France/Media, Communication and Advertising in France 

This course takes a comprehensive look at French media, examining the press, cinema, television and advertising, paying particular attention to the role each plays in contemporary France. 

Theater Studies 007 (1) spring only (open to Upper Intermediate, Advanced and Superior levels) | La Femme dans Le Théâtre Français du 17è Siècle/Women in French Theater of the 17th century 

In the 17th century France theater boomed. Great writers such as Racine, Corneille and Molière wrote plays that were widely performed to popular acclaim. This course considers the portrayal of women in these works, Illustrating the complex variety of roles that women were seen to fulfill in society as a whole. 

Courses Taught by Other Institutions

For additional fees Fall semester and Spring semester students may substitute one of their elective courses at the CCFS for one of the courses listed below. Students receive transcripts or certificates authenticating work completed.

These institutions vary in accreditation status. Students should confirm the status of credit transfer with their home institutions.

The Institut de Langue et de Culture Françaises is a department of the Catholic University of Paris. It is a private institution recognized by the French Ministry of Higher Education. The transcript labeled ILCF, Institut Catholique de Paris lists the course title, class hours and the grade.

The Schola Cantorum is a private music school in Paris.

Institut de Langue et de Culture Françaises (ILCF)

Fine Arts 307 (3)  | Fashion in France 18th-21st century 

Links between fashion and artistic, cultural and socio-political contexts across French history are explored and the lasting dominance of Paris in the world of fashion is examined. Students become familiar with the historical evolution of the luxury fashion industry and will be able to appreciate how fashion and accessories have been used to express a variety of different identities over time. Students pay some entrance fees for museums and exhibitions. Taught in English. Enrollment is limited. 

Schola Cantorum

Music, Ballet, Theater 307 fall/spring (1-3)  | Instrument Study, Lyrics, Ballet 

Placement is by examination, except for beginners. Instruction in French is at the student’s expense. Credit granted depends on the work produced and hours spent at the Schola. Instruments (except piano) are not provided. Students must pay a supplement depending on number of hours of instruction taken. Sessions are 30, 45 or 60 minutes. An additional deposit is required to be paid prior to arrival in Paris to register for classes at the Schola Cantorum. Please contact your AIFS Admissions Officer right away if you are interested.