Office of International Programs

Brown in France: Paris

At a Glance

City: Paris
Housing: Independent studio apartment or room in French household. 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:  AdvancedFREN 0600/sixth-semester college-level French 
Calendar: Semester or Year
Accepts Non-Brown Students: Yes


Paris is France’s vibrant intersection of politics, fashion, business, arts, and science, boasting some of the most prominent universities, sporting events, opera companies, and museums in the world. The Brown in France Paris program offers direct enrollment at the University of Paris for upper-level students of French in a broad range of disciplines. A credit-bearing pro-seminar focusing on French language, culture, and society, various cultural activities and excursions, and an on-site orientation prepare students for their entry into the French university classroom and facilitates their integration into French society.

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.


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. Tutors are available throughout the year to help students improve their writing, prepare for oral presentations or make sure science basics are adequate.

  • 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. 

Because this is a direct enrollment program, students need to be flexible with their course selections.  An overview of course offerings by department at the University of Paris can be found here.

Program Calendar

Approximate dates are provided based on past programs; students should expect them to vary by year. Please refer to the program calendar (Fall 2017 and Spring 2018) for specific information about program dates.  Note: Students should not make travel plans during the orientation period or the weekend of the regional seminar.

  • Fall semester: early September - early January 
  • Full-year: early September - late May
  • Spring semester: early January - late May


Students may choose to be housed by the program or arrange housing independently. Housing options through the program include living alone in a studio and sharing housing with local residents. The selection process begins with a detailed questionnaire about student housing needs and budget, which students are asked to complete after being admitted into the program.  Each student then has an individual interview with the Associate Director in Paris, either via online video conferencing or in person on the Brown campus.  The housing placement will then be communicated to the student several weeks before departure.  Upon arrival in Paris, students spend the first night in a hotel and move into their permanent living situation the next day.

Eligibility and Requirements

The Brown in France program in Paris is open to Brown and visiting undergraduate students.  

Students must be in good academic standing and have completed FREN 0600/sixth-semester college-level French with a grade of B or higher before beginning their studies in France. Students are required to take at least one course in French the year before departure.

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.

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