Paris: European Civilization

(Taught in French)
Two students standing on opposite sides of a path playfully throw baguettes toward each other.

Program Term:


Language Requirement:



 Michaela Foreman

Application Deadline:


The core element of the College’s francophone European Civilization in Paris program is a three-course “Civilisation Européenne” sequence, compressed into the nine weeks of autumn quarter and devoted to the history of Europe with some emphasis on France.

    The distinctive feature of this sequence, unique among all civilization programs, is that all coursework is conducted in French. In addition to the civilization sequence, program participants take a French language course, pitched at an advanced level and running at a normal pace throughout the quarter. This program thus weds elements from Chicago’s civilization-based and language immersion programs. For the student with sufficient French language preparation (see “Eligibility and Application” below), it represents a valuable opportunity both to study European history and culture intensively and to hone language skills. This civilization program is one of four such sequences in Paris. English-language European Civilization in Paris programs are offered in the summer, autumn, winter, and spring quarters.

    The civilization courses are enhanced by a number of excursions to sites of historic and cultural interest both within and in the vicinity of Paris. The French capital itself offers numerous opportunities to connect readings and lectures with the surviving monuments of France’s history and artistic patrimony, and it is assumed that students will go beyond program-organized outings in exploring this remarkable city.

    Headquarters for the College’s study abroad programs in Paris is the University of Chicago Center in Paris, the University’s research and teaching arm in Europe. Situated in the thirteenth arrondissement, the Center in Paris is part of an ambitious intellectual project along the river Seine, including the Bibliothèque Nationale and a new home for Université Paris Cité. The Center in Paris features classrooms, offices for faculty and graduate students, computer facilities, a small library, and an apartment for the faculty director. For participants in Chicago’s programs, the Center in Paris provides a focus for academic activities, a central meeting place, and a continuing Chicago “presence” within one of the major capitals of Europe.

    Students in the Paris: European Civilization (in French) program are housed in a residence hall within the Cité Internationale Universitaire (Cité). The Cité, a park-like residential complex in the fourteenth arrondissement, is the international student campus in Paris, though French students also live there. Students reside in single rooms with a private bath and have access to Cité facilities, including a library, theater, laundry, and athletic facilities. Students will have access to common kitchens in the residence halls and can purchase inexpensive meals at the Cité’s restaurant universitaire.

    It is important to recognize the cultural context of student housing in France and understand that the amenities of dormitory facilities may vary. Although some of these differences may take some getting used to, remember that cultural differences extend to all aspects of your experience abroad. Having realistic expectations for your term in Paris will help you approach the study abroad experience with a positive attitude.

    Participants in the Paris: European Civilization (in French) program remain registered as full-time students in the College. They take and receive credit for four courses: the three courses in the civilization sequence and the French language class. The civilization sequence meets the College’s civilization requirement. Students who have already met this requirement may use these courses as electives. The civilization courses have also been preapproved for use in the French major or minor, assuming a student is not using them for the civilization requirement (a course cannot “double count” for both Civ and major/minor credit). Their use, partial or total, in a program of study (major) must be approved by the undergraduate chair of the respective department. The language course will normally count as an elective. Course titles, units of credit, and grades are placed on the College transcript.

    Study abroad students pay regular College tuition, a program fee, and a nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee. The tuition and program fee are 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. Precise figures for the European Civilization in Paris (in French) program during the 2024–2025 year are listed below:

    Autumn tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

    Study abroad administrative fee: $675

    Paris Civ in French program fee: $5,960

    Program fee includes:

    Out-of-pocket expenses include:

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

    Previous program participants report spending in the range of $200 to $250 per week on meals and incidentals while on the program, though frugal students may spend less, and others could spend much more. Bear in mind that the cost of living in Paris is relatively high and that, while it is possible to live frugally, it is also possible to run short of money if you are unwary. It is therefore essential that you budget your funds prudently, apportioning your resources so that they last for the duration of the program. If you are planning to travel before or after the program or on weekends, you should budget accordingly.

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

    The European Civilization in Paris (in French) 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 who are beyond their first year in the College. Because all work—lectures, discussions, readings, and assignments—is conducted in French, applicants are expected to have taken, with excellent grades, at least two years of college-level French (French through 20300) as well as French 20500. Students with questions about their French preparation should contact Alice McLean, Director of the French Language Program.

    This minimum prerequisite aside, applicants are strongly encouraged to take French language courses beyond the second-year level; indeed most participants will have had one or more courses at the advanced level. In some cases, an offer of admission to this program is made contingent upon summer language work. While the program stipulates no minimum grade-point average, an applicant’s transcript should demonstrate that they are a serious student who will make the most of this opportunity.

    Because of the considerable demand for the Chicago civilization programs abroad, no student may participate in more than one of these programs. Each application is examined on the basis of the student’s scholastic record and personal statement.

    To discuss the Paris: European Civilization (in French) program and the possibility of participating, please contact Michaela Foreman.