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Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction:
Language Requirement:
4 semesters of language, or equivalent (Intermediate sequence)
Program Type: Columbia Administered Program
Program Advisor:
Thomas Spencer:
Eligibility - Home School: Barnard College, Columbia College, Columbia General Studies, Columbia SEAS, Visiting Students - Undergraduate Discipline: Arts and Architecture, Humanities, Social Sciences, STEM
Program Description:

Overview - Columbia in Paris, Reid Hall

Drawing upon the resources of the city, the program helps students gain both the knowledge and the confidence necessary to live and communicate in a French-speaking environment. It challenges students to step outside the boundaries of a traditional French language program and use French as a means to further their understanding of their own areas of study. It is also appropriate for students who wish to broaden their understanding of France's sociocultural heritage, its position in the European community and the Francophone world, and its role in global politics and international relations.

The fall semester program runs September to mid-December, spring from early January to the end of May and the academic year program runs from September to the end of May.



  • Must be a currently enrolled undergraduate student and in good academic standing
  • Must have completed at least two years of college-level French or the equivalent. Continued French language preparation is strongly encouraged.
  • 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.
You might want to consider applying to the Summer French Studies program in order to meet the eligibility requirements for the fall, spring, or academic year program.

Reid Hall

The home base of Columbia University in Paris is the Columbia Global Center|Europe located at Reid Hall, a building owned and administered by Columbia. It also serves as an educational center for other American universities and for scholars from around the world. Its long and distinguished past of intellectual, artistic, and cultural exchange has made it significant to the relationship between France and the United States for over a century.

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

Art or Music Humanities in Paris at Reid Hall

Do part of Columbia’s Core Curriculum in Paris at Reid Hall, Columbia’s Global Center in Europe! Since Spring 2015, Columbia students have been able to enroll in Art or Music Humanities in Paris, and coursework will 
Louveinclude special activities that take advantage of the amazing artistic opportunities in Paris, a cultural capital of the world.

Read about Alexi Thomas' (CC’16) experience taking Art Hum while in Paris!

In order to apply, students must meet all eligibility requirements for the Columbia in Paris program, including language and regional requirements. Art or Music Humanities can replace one elective course on the Columbia in Paris program. If Art and Music Humanities are both offered in a semester, students may only take one of the two. 

Students interested in taking Art and Music Humanities together in Paris, should consider applying to the summer Art Humanities and Music Humanities in Paris program.  


Spring 2015 Art Humanities: Ioannis Mylonopoulos
  Music Humanities: Elaine Sisman 
Fall 2015 Art Humanities: Holger Klein
Spring 2016 Art Humanities: Holger Klein
  Music Humanities: Walter Frisch
Fall 2016 Music Humanities: Giuseppe Gerbino
Spring 2017 Art Humanities: Matthew McKelway


All students take a total of 5 courses which combine advanced language training with electives the arts, sciences, social sciences and humanities. Depending on French level and academic background, students may pursue classes that contribute towards requirements at their home school in a variety of disciplines. The program is designed to be flexible so that students can determine their own balance of program involvement and immersion within the French system. 

The goal of the Columbia in Paris language program is to help students in three areas:

  • French language in context, as it is used in daily life in Paris
  • Academic French for written and oral assignments
  • Preparation for the TCF, a personal assessment of French language skills that is recognized in 39 countries.
Each area requires different skills. To help students master these skills appropriate to their level of French, the program begins by an individualized language assessment in order to place students in the most appropriate courses.

The Evaluation Test: During the orientation, each student is tested collectively in reading and listening skills, and individually in written and oral comprehension. The individual testing includes a meeting with the prospective professor in order to discuss personal expectations and goals. The evaluation test is used to place students into the correct level of language training for the semester.  Students who place below the threshold required to be autonomous at the French universities (Levels I and II), are required to take two language courses as described below. Students with more advanced language skills (Levels iii and IV) only take Academic Writing.  In very exceptional circumstances, some students may place out of all required language classes.

Course descriptions and scheduling

The Language Practicum course – This course, taken by students who place into Level  I or II, is a language course at the intermediate and upper intermediate to advanced level and deepens the linguistic skills needed for life in France as a student.  It meets twice a week for five hours over 12 weeks. The course finishes before the final work for other classes becomes due. The course content is different for each level.

The Academic Writing course – The course is mandatory for every student, but differs in schedule for students in Levels I and II and those Levels III and IV.  For Levels I and II, the course introduces students to some of the major differences between the French and American ways of approaching academic analysis and production.  This intensive introduction finishes after the first 3 weeks of the semester and students continue to practice the material in the Language Practicum as needed.  For students in Levels III and IV, the course is divided into five classes per week for the first three weeks, then two classes twice per week over the next 3 weeks. The course finishes mid-semester, allowing students to pursue their academic work with the 4 additional electives.

Additional language support

Tutoring -- Students enrolled in French University courses benefit from the help of two individual and qualified tutors: one specializing in the academic methodology of the subject being studied in the university, and another one in language. Each tutoring program is four hours total, divided up into sessions of half an hour or more.

The Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF) -- All students prepare for the TCF during the Practicum or during the Advanced Language Workshops. The TCF takes place after Academic Writing has finished. 

Please note that French university courses are rarely available ahead of time and so pre-planning exact courses can be difficult. For students in the sciences, please contact Lindsey Schram ( or Thomas Spencer ( if you have specific courses you need to take.  All students register for classes in Paris.


Reid Hall Courses

For subject areas and current course offerings, please visit the Columbia in Paris - Paris website and look under Etudes a Reid Hall for available course descriptions and syllabi.


eid Hall Elective Courses

Taught by French faculty in French specifically for program students, these courses focus on topics not available in the French university system. Writers, government leaders, and scholars are invited as guest speakers and several courses take place in the city itself, in museums, and around monuments.The following is a list of courses which may be offered. The final course list is confirmed upon arrival in Paris. 
  • Art History H3682. Issues in Nineteenth-Century French Painting
  • Art History H3715. Art in Paris, 1900-1965
  • Art History H3960. Castles and Landscape Architecture in Paris and the Ile de FranceArt History H3960. Castles and Landscape Architecture in Paris and the Ile de France
  • French Studies H3994. Paris in Context: Courses using the city to examine different artistic, political, historical, and sociological themes
  • History H3240. Political Life in France
  • Women Studies H3550. Women & Society – The Sex-Trade economy.

French University Courses

At least one elective course must be a French university course, although some schools may require that students take at least 2 courses at the French universities. At the orientation and during the practicum, students are provided with a selection of courses available at the following institutions with which Columbia University has formal inter-university exchange agreements.

All courses taken in the French university system fall under the following course numbers: French H3991 or H3992. Supervised Study in French University System. The subject area depends on which department offers the course. Point values per course vary but each course is generally worth 3 points. All French university course titles, point values, and grades are translated into U.S. terms. For subject areas and current course offerings, please visit the Columbia in Paris - Paris website and look under Etudes a l'universite for available course descriptions and syllabi. Students receive individual advising tailored to their interests, linguistic and academic background, and aspirations for their time in Paris.

Institut d'Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po): The program offers a limited number of opportunities to enroll in classes at Sciences Po. Enrollment at Sciences Po is reserved for students who major or concentrate in Political Science or International Relations, who intend to take courses in their major while in Paris. Depending on availability, students with other majors who show a strong engagement with fields strongly represented at Sciences Po may be considered for enrollment. Students are restricted to taking courses offered in French and within their major fields of study. Admission to the Columbia in Paris Program does not guarantee admission to Sciences Po and students who wish to be considered must undertake an additional application process upon admission to the Columbia in Paris Program. Students who are not admitted to Sciences Po have the opportunity to take challenging courses in related disciplines at the other universities and through the program's own offerings.

University of Paris I (Panthéon Sorbonne): Courses in art history, archaeology, anthropology, history, economics, philosophy, geography, international relations, and film. Studio arts courses may be available to visual arts/fine arts majors through an application process with portfolio. Courses at Paris I are rigorous, but students with a high level of French proficiency and motivation tend to be successful.

University of Paris IV (Sorbonne): Courses in art history, history, comparative and French literature, philosophy, and cultural geography (including urban studies). Paris IV (La Sorbonne) is the oldest Parisian university with a strong history and tradition.

University of Paris VII (Denis Diderot): Courses in anthropology, economics, film studies, history, literature, philosophy, sociology, gender studies, biology, physics, mathematics, and chemistry. Paris VII is known for having strong departments in the sciences, social sciences and humanities.

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Special Opportunities

Directed Research

French H3997 or H3998. Directed Research in France. 4-6 points

Highly-motivated students who enjoy working independently will find this option challenging and rewarding. Under the supervision of a French scholar they explore a specific topic in depth and acquire both the methodological and analytical skills necessary for academic research.Students can also select to do a translation or French creative writing project. Students meet with their mentor weekly and complete a mémoire, a research paper of at least 25 pages, for the semester. While all the research is conducted in French, students may write their mémoire in English if they do not want French credit for their work.

Directed Research Testimonials 2014 2015-1.pdf

Students have recently completed mémoires on the following topics:

  • L'éducation sexuelle en France, 1968-2014
  • Global South Conditions in the Global North. The "Roma Issue" in France
  • Vlaminck et sa place dans l'histoire
  • Benjamin Millepied, George Balanchine : deux stars de la danse à deux époques différentes. Quelles influences respectives dans la politique culturelle de la danse classique ?
  • Ni Putes ni Soumises: Maghrebine Women and the Banlieues in Faïza Guène's Kiffe Kiffe Demain and Abdellatif Kechiche's La Graine et le Mulet
  • Paris, ville égyptienne
  • Au-delà de Babel, ou la tâche de l'auto-traducteur: la cas de Samuel Beckett
  • Le Corbusier et l'effet Berlin : du disciple au prophète
  • L'art brut et la face cachée de l'art contemporain
  • Le guide illustré des fromages français pour les débutants enthousiastes
  • Les constructions de l'Autre Africain dans les expositions au Musée National de l'Art Moderne à Paris
  • Le rapprochement entre la gauche et la droite en France : le clivage gauche-droite a-t-il encore un sens ?
  • Les Béguines du sud de la France
  • Perec, espace et montage
  • Hip Hop, une langue globale
  • Visions Across the Gates: The Tympanum of Saint Foy at Conques and Perspectives on the Afterlife
  • Saint-Martin-des-Champs and the Origins of the Gothic Style
  • Les livres d'heures

Research Internship at the Pasteur Institute

Science students have the unique opportunity to work with a ground-breaking research team at the Institut Pasteur in the laboratory of "Biochimie et Biophysique des Macromolecules", headed by Deshmukh N. Gopaul. Students are expected to work on experiments and assist researchers with their work. They present their findings in both oral and written reports.

Visual Arts at Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne

Visual Arts majors at Columbia can apply to study studio arts at Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. This program allows students to participate in the Reid Hall program and take a full slate of arts courses in the L'U.F.R des Arts plastiques et Sciences de l'Art.

Once admitted to the Columbia in Paris program, candidates will submit a portfolio of their art work. Nominated students will have their candidacy reviewed by the faculty at Paris I for final approval. Students on this program are participants in the Reid Hall program. They take the required French Language Practicum I or II and may take Academic Writing in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The remainder of their coursework will involve studio art and courses in art theory in the Visual Arts department of Paris I.

 For more information about this opportunity, please contact Thomas Spencer at

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


Academic Calendar

Fall 2016

Arrival/Move-in August 27
Mandatory orientation August 29-September 2
Sciences Po courses begin August 29
Academic Writing and Practicum start September 5
Paris VII courses start September 5
Paris I courses start September 12
Paris IV courses start September 19
Columbia in Paris content courses start September 26
Academic Writing ends October 13
Final registration and deadline to drop courses October 24
No Columbia in Paris courses October 31
All Saint's Day (National holiday: no classes) November 1
U Penn P/F deadline November 4
Armistice Day (National holiday: no classes) November 11
Columbia/Barnard/Visiting  P/F deadline November 17
Thanksgiving: No Columbia in Paris courses November 11
Practicum ends November 28
TCF Exam, Group 1 December 1
Sciences Po courses end December 3
TCF Exam, Group 2 December 8
Columbia in Paris courses end December 16
Paris I, IV, VII courses end December 17 **

Spring 2017

Last day to arrive in Paris January 7
Mandatory orientation January 9-13
Academic Writing and Practicum begin January 16
Paris VII courses begin January 16
Paris I courses begin January 17
Sciences Po courses begin January 21
Paris IV courses begin January 23
Columbia in Paris courses begin February 6
Spring break (Columbia in Paris, Paris I, IV, VII) April 10-14
Easter Monday (National holiday: no classes) April 17
Paris I courses end April 22
May Day/Workers' Day (National holiday: no classes) May 1
Paris IV and VII courses end May 6
Liberation Day (National holiday: no classes) May 8
Columbia in Paris courses end May 19
Move out of homestays May 20**

** Please note: your final schedule will not be determined until you are in Paris. Courses at the French universities may end later than the end date for Columbia in Paris courses. While alternate test-taking times can sometimes be arranged, students may need to be flexible in order to accommodate certain classes.

Faculty and Staff

Most faculty teaching in the Columbia in Paris Program are members of the faculties of various branches of the French university system, research fellows at the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) or the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), and/or writers/artists and critics. Please see the Columbia in Paris French site for details:

The administrative staff can be seen on the same site:

Activities and Trips

To complement the academic experience, the program organizes cultural activities and excursions in and around Paris. Activities have included:

  • 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
  • internships with local organizations
Please see the Columbia in Paris French site for a list of the current semester's activities:

Grade Reports and Transcripts

Grades are frequently not received from your French University professor(s) until mid-February if you studied at Reid Hall for the fall semester and early September for the spring semester. Once received, the grades are converted to the American grading system and processed as described below.

Columbia/Barnard students: Your grades will appear on your transcript in the same way that your grades appear for courses taken at Columbia/Barnard. Your grades from Reid Hall are calculated into your GPA. 

Penn students: Your grades will be forwarded to Penn’s Office of International Programs directly from Reid Hall. The Penn registrar is then responsible for entering your grades directly into your home school record. Your grades from Reid Hall are calculated into your GPA. 

Visiting students: Your grades are entered directly into Columbia's registration system. As grades are entered, you will receive an email at your Columbia email address. You may request a transcript directly from the Columbia registrar at any time once grades are entered. Be sure to request a final transcript once all of your course grades have been received. You will receive complete instructions on this process with your acceptance materials. 

To request transcripts at a future date, please follow the Columbia Registrar’s instructions:

There are no fees for additional transcripts.


The program understands that housing is one of the most important elements of a student’s time abroad. Participants should carefully think through goals for being abroad and choose the option most appropriate for their goals, budget and personality.  When making a decision, students should consider aspects of their experience such as linguistic and cultural immersion, the chance to experience life with a French family, ability to adjust to a new family situation, level of independence, and the desire to live in a particular area of Paris.

Columbia works with Host Families in Paris (HFP), a private housing service that places program students into lodgings located in a variety of neighborhoods throughout the city of Paris. Students should expect to commute between 30-45 minutes to Reid Hall, which is an average commute for Parisians. Students will be asked to complete a questionnaire about their housing preferences after being admitted to the program.

Program Options
1. Living with a Host Family

About 85% of program students choose to live with a host family in order to experience firsthand the daily rhythm of French life, learn about Paris from an insider's perspective, and be immersed in a living situation that encourages conversations in French rather than English. Hosts may consist of a single person, a couple who may or may not have children, a widow/widower, a single parent with children, or traditional nuclear families (though traditional nuclear families are not a commonly available in the Parisian homestay network). However, the following are true of all housing placements:

  • Students are provided with their own bedroom
  • Kitchen and bathroom facilities are normally available without restriction
  • Internet is always available

A daily European breakfast is included in the stay and students may choose up to five dinners a week. While the housing coordinator makes a concerted effort to match student and host, the extent and quality of the relationship between the host and the student will vary depending on personalities and lifestyles. 
Living in a homestay is frequently the best way to increase linguistic and cultural understanding of French language, society and culture and feedback on the homestay program is predominantly positive. Nevertheless, if you choose a homestay, it is very important that you be flexible about the location of the housing. While most housing is within the peripherique or the very near suburbs, housing in the arrondissements close to Reid Hall is rare.  Many students have commented that while the idea of commuting can be a bit intimidating, living in different arrondissements frequently allows them to experience a more authentic Parisian lifestyle and more opportunities to practice their French.
The costs for the homestay range from about 700 € -1000 € depending on the number of evening meals taken with the hosts.

2. Student Residences

Some rooms in French student residences may be available on a case-by-case basis. Students will have the option to select this when choosing housing, but must be flexible and willing to be placed in a homestay that allows more independence. This option may be good for students who want independence, but don’t feel ready to search for their own housing and who are flexible enough to try a homestay if necessary.  

Finding Your Own Housing

Most students will choose program-arranged housing because it is easier and the benefits are so pronounced. However, some students may prefer to arrange their own housing because they have family in Paris with whom they can live, would like to experience independent living, or would like to guarantee proximity to the program site. Please note that short-term furnished housing is frequently expensive and can often require a local person to provide a financial guarantee, and in some cases, includes hefty broker's fees. The most expensive housing is within walking distance of Reid Hall and other centrally located neighborhoods. Less expensive options might be available in the outer neighborhoods of Paris. If you are on a tight budget and would like to find your own housing, you should start early and try to arrive a bit early to the program so that you have adequate time to find a place and get settled.  In most cases, students hoping to live in a studio, should budget at least 900 €/month and additional amounts for utilities and any deposits. Apartments in trendy and touristic areas of Paris will cost significantly more in most cases. Students choosing this option should think very carefully about whether or not they are ready to live on their own and be responsible for all aspects of their housing life while in Paris.

It is important to know that while there will be some tips and guidelines in the Handbook, the program does not provide support for students who wish to find their own housing. Students choosing to do so will be expected to:

  • negotiate the terms of living and payment including the setting up of utilities etc.
  • obtain any documents relevant to visa guidelines
  • resolve any issues related to the housing situation
  • provide the full contact information of residence to the Reid Hall staff
  • secure the approval of your home school study abroad adviser on the Non-Program Housing Form and complete the housing waiver
  • be completely responsible for all living arrangements and any issues that might arise
Please note that apartment shares with French students can be rewarding, but they are generally quite difficult to find without an existing network in Paris. The program discourages apartment shares with English speakers as doing so will inhibit the practice of French and growth in the language for most students.  Students will need clearance from their homeschool to opt for independent living. 


For tuition, housing costs, and estimated living expenses, please see the following page and click on the appropriate term in the "Budget Sheet" section near the top of the page:

Financial Aid and Other Funding

If you are on financial aid, check to see if it can be applied to your study abroad.

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

This program is offered through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, and is administered by the Institute of International Education. These grants to study abroad provide assistance to undergraduates who are current recipients of federal student financial aid and Pell grant eligible.

Other Resources

Withdrawal & Refund Policy

A student in good academic standing who is not subject to discipline may be permitted to withdraw at any time. Withdrawal is defined as the dropping of one's entire program in a given term as opposed to dropping a portion of one's program.

Any student withdrawing must notify the Academic Director in Paris in writing; failure to attend classes or notification to instructors does not constitute formal withdrawal and will result in failing grades in all courses. Any adjustment of the tuition that the student has paid is calculated from the date on which the Academic Director receives the student's written notification.

Only tuition is refunded. Fees (application, transcript, housing, etc.) are never refunded, either in full or in part. All students who withdraw will be charged a $75.00 withdrawal fee.

For fall and spring semesters, the refund schedule is as follows:

Withdrawals processed will be refunded
1st week 100%
2nd week 90%
3rd week 80%
4th week 80%
5th week 70%
6th week 60%
7th week 60%
8th week 50%
9th week 40%
after 9th week 0%

Student Experiences

Program Blog

To learn more about the program and to learn what students are doing while they are in Paris, check out the program blog.

Student Comments

I would (and have) recommended this program because of the flexibility and range of options it gives to students. I liked the types of courses offered at Reid Hall because they were taught by French professors without the intimidation of a French university. I also liked the range of housing options available.



STUDY ABROAD!!!! I know it is (horribly) cliched to say it, but it is amazing and life-changing. I became so much more independent while I was abroad. Take advantage of Paris' museums, sights, etc. Eat out, even though it is expensive. Keep an open mind to everything. Travel a lot!!!!! It is worth the money. Do not be discouraged by the first few weeks. When I first got there I felt this huge pressure to be having an amazing time immediately, but I wasn't really. Understand that it may be difficult at first (it was for me...), but in the end, you really will look back on it as one of the best experiences of your life (at least I do). Seriously, study abroad. It's great. Personally, I also thought Paris was the perfect city to do it in. It exposes you to a new language and culture, the food is incredible, it is easy to travel out of, and it has a great city atmosphere with a lot of cultural opportunities.


A homestay is really the only way to be submerged in the culture - if you live by yourself or live with another American, chances are you're going to speak English instead of the native language. Also, it's amazing to learn about the culture by living with other natives - you learn the nuances and you have more in-depth conversations and interactions. In all, it takes you out of your comfort zone and you learn a lot about yourself and about others.


Paris is finally warmer, and I am slowing finishing up finals and classes. Sciences Po ends the latest, so I won't have my final for that class until June 20th. My French has gotten so much better that I am almost ready to consider myself fluent, which is such an exciting feeling. At first, classes (especially at Sciences Po) were extremely difficult and I felt like I could never follow anything the professor was saying, but now I feel that my comprehension level has gone up tremendously. I definitely have a sense of great accomplishment after having improved my French so much, learned some political science (in French!) and started to feel like a Parisian


Contact Information

New York Office

Office of Global Programs
606 Kent
Columbia University
1140 Amsterdam, Mail Code 3948
New York, NY 10027
Fax: 212-854-5164

In the event of an emergency after office hours, please contact Columbia University Emergency at 212-854-5555 or Columbia University Security at 212-854-2796.

If you are unsure about which office to call, contact the New York office first.

University of Pennsylvania Office (Penn Students Only)

Office of International Programs
3701 Chestnut Street, Suite 1W
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6275
Fax: 215-573-9587

Columbia Dates & Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline/Columbia Clearance Deadline Decision Date & Deadline Note Start Date End Date
Spring 2017 10/05/2016
10/14/2016 01/07/2017 05/20/2017
NOTE: Students may need to stay in Paris longer than the end date of the program depending on the courses they are taking at the French universities.
Academic Year 2017-2018 03/15/2017 04/01/2017 TBA TBA
Fall 2017 03/15/2017 04/15/2017 TBA TBA
Spring 2018 10/15/2017 10/15/2017 TBA TBA

Indicates that deadline has passed