Brown in France: Paris

At a Glance

Cities: Paris
Housing: Independent studio apartment or homestay. Students may choose to be housed by the program or make arrangements independently
Partner: Various from Paris universities and institutes (see below). All disciplines available.
Language Requirement: Six semesters of college French (at Brown FREN0600) 
Calendar: Semester or Year
Accepts Non-Brown Students: Yes


The Sorbonne, founded in 1257 and the second oldest university in Europe, has evolved into fifteen different universities, including the following which are open to Brown program participants.

  • Paris I emphasizes visual arts, art history, economics, history, and political science;
  • Paris IV offers a traditional approach to the humanities, art and classical studies; 
  • Paris VI has departments and research labs in formal, natural and physical sciences;
  • Paris VIII offers a wide range of courses in the humanities and social sciences, often from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The course load each semester consists of four to six (typically five) university courses plus one mandatory Brown pro-seminar, launched during orientation and continuing on an individual basis throughout the semester. Students need to obtain 27-30 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits, 6 of which are carried by the pro-seminar. For the remaining 21-24, they enroll in the university or universities which best meet(s) their academic needs. It is possible to combine study at two Paris universities at the same time, and enrollment at specialized schools, like l'École spéciale d'architecture (for architecture classes) or l'Institut catholique de Paris (for religious studies) is also possible. Tutors are available throughout the year to help students improve their writing, prepare for oral presentations or make sure science basics are adequate.

Academic Calendar
Approximate dates are provided based on past programs; students should expect them to vary by year.  Please refer to the program calendar for more specific information about program dates. 

  • Fall semester: 3rd week in August - 3rd week in December OR mid January (depending on institution).
  • Full-year: 3rd week in August - end of May.
  • Spring semester: beginning of January - end of May. 


Students may choose to be housed by the program or do it independently. Two options are offered through the program: living alone in a studio and sharing housing with local residents. The selection process is carefully monitored by the administrative director who interviews students before arrival by video conference and pre-selects an adequate option or options in keeping with their wishes and budget. Upon arrival students live in a hotel for up to one week after which they are required to move into their permanent living situation.

Cultural Activities

The program includes monthly social gatherings and cultural events (such as an opera performance, museum visits, concerts, or ballet). A three-day group excursion (with the Brown in Lyon students) to a historically or culturally important region is also scheduled each semester as well as a solo discovery week-end during which students are hosted by a family in a different region of France. Within the framework of the pro-seminar each student designs an individual project of their choice and making, whose objective is to help them better understand French society. The projects are monitored by the Resident Director.

Application Instructions

Apply by the deadline using Brown's online application system via the "apply now" and "return to application" buttons on the right side of this page.  Applications typically require faculty recommendations so it is important to begin the process early.