École Polytechnique Exchange Program

view of École Polytechnique campus from above

Program Term:

Autumn Academic Year

Language Requirement:



 Kylie Poulin Zahora

Application Deadline:


The College’s direct enrollment program at École Polytechnique affords qualified Chicago students an opportunity to study at the leading science and technology institution in France.

    Founded in 1794, École Polytechnique, also known as l’X, is one of the most prestigious grandes écoles in France and France’s leading institution in science and technology. Since its founding, the university has borne a long tradition of scientific excellence and its researchers, professors, and alumni have been recipients of Nobel Prizes and Field Medals, among other awards and distinctions.

    Exchange participants will enroll as visiting students in Polytechnique’s Bachelor of Science program, a three-year multidisciplinary venture taught entirely in English with three distinct academic specializations: Mathematics and Economics, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Mathematics and Physics. As such, the multidisciplinary scientific curriculum focuses heavily on mathematics, computer science, economics, and physics, with additional courses available in foreign languages, biology, chemistry, humanities, and physical education. With English as a common language of instruction, École Polytechnique’s Bachelor Program student body features 80% international students representing nearly 40 nationalities.

    Participants in this program are registered as visiting students at École Polytechnique and have access to a full range of courses in the Bachelor Program. Students normally focus on courses in their major or minor subject(s) but may pursue courses outside of their major with appropriate academic prerequisites. As full-time students, participants will reside on École Polytechnique’s campus in Palaiseau, France (25km southwest of Paris) and enjoy access to Polytechnique’s facilities, clubs, and student services.

    Participants in the École Polytechnique exchange have the option to reside in on-campus housing for Bachelor students, subject to availability. Polytechnique provides students with individual dorm rooms of 18 square meters, furnished with a bed, a desk, a cupboard, and a private bathroom. All rooms have access to Internet. Students share a common kitchen, where they can cook and prepare their own food with others, or they can choose to eat in the campus cafeteria or restaurant. Students are responsible for paying the cost of on-campus housing directly to Polytechnique. If necessary, the host institution will also offer information related to local housing options.

    UChicago students at Polytechnique will enroll in a full-time course load. Students will select courses and set up a learning agreement online upon registration at Polytechnique. Students must choose a minimum of 20 ECTS credits, or 4 courses, per term including a minimum of 3 science courses.

    Participants in the École Polytechnique Exchange Program remain registered as full-time students in the College. You will receive full credit for your work at Polytechnique toward your Chicago degree, allowing up to 1200 units for year-long students. Course titles, units of credit, and grades are placed on the College transcript. Since the use of these credits in a specific degree program is variable, you should consult with your academic adviser and undergraduate program chair to determine the exact distribution of credits.

    Participants should review Study Abroad’s Direct Enrollment Credit Guide for a detailed overview of the credit process.

    The École Polytechnique Exchange Program participants pay regular College tuition and a nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee. The tuition is paid in conformity with the home campus payment schedule, and the nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee is submitted when accepting a place in a program. Students pay living expenses, including housing, food, books, travel, and incidentals while in France. Precise figures for the École Polytechnique Exchange Program for the 2024–2025 year are listed below:

    Autumn or Academic Year tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

    Study abroad administrative fee: $675

    Out-of-pocket expenses include:

    • round-trip airfare to and from the program site
    • passport/visa fees
    • transportation on site
    • accommodation
    • meals
    • course materials
    • personal entertainment and travel
    • communications (most students bring or buy a cell phone)
    • health insurance and upfront payments for care
    • other miscellaneous expenses

    Study abroad students retain their financial aid eligibility. For more information about financial aid resources, please see our Tuition, Fees, and Funding section.

    The École Polytechnique Exchange Program is open to University of Chicago undergraduate students only. Applications from outside the University are not accepted.

    The program is designed for undergraduates in good academic and disciplinary standing. For most students the third or fourth year is the most appropriate time to participate in this program and the program requires serious and advanced preparation in mathematics. While it will be most attractive to Economics, Physics, Mathematics, and Computer Science majors, students not majoring in these fields but who have a strong interest or background in these fields are encouraged to contact Kylie Poulin Zahora to discuss the fit of the program. Because all courses in the École Polytechnique Bachelor program are in English, there is no language requirement. However, serious basic knowledge of French or participation in a language class is recommended to enhance your overall experience living in France.

    While the program specifies no minimum overall grade-point average, the admissions process is competitive, and you will be expected to present a transcript showing solid and sustained work in your major courses and mathematics. In general, this is a challenging program, which assumes a high level of academic achievement, independence, and resourcefulness.

    Interested students must apply for this program through the University of Chicago Study Abroad Application Portal. Those who are selected for nomination will be instructed to then complete application forms specific to École Polytechnique. The College sends its nominations to the host university, which reserves the right of final decision.

    Students wishing to apply to this program must meet with Kylie Poulin Zahora, Associate Director of Study Abroad, prior to submitting their application.

    To discuss the École Polytechnique Exchange Program and the possibility of participating, please contact Kylie Poulin Zahora.