Paris: Russian Civilization

The group poses for a photo in front of a large painting.

Program Term:


Language Requirement:



 Kylie Poulin

Application Deadline:


The College-sponsored Russian Civilization in Paris program provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to explore the history and culture of Russia and Eastern Europe, with an emphasis on the region’s rich cultural ties with France.

    Having been a magnet for Russians and Eastern Europeans throughout their history, Paris is the site of the first dated handwriting in Russian and has remained a locus for émigré thought from the French Revolution to the present day. The program recognizes and celebrates the long-standing role of Paris as a destination for a steady stream of Russian and other Eastern European artists, writers, musicians, statesmen, and scientists, individuals who formed vibrant communities in the French capital, enriching and being enriched by the intellectual scene therein. Drawing on the University’s strengths in the area of Russian and East European Studies, Russian Civilization in Paris provides a valuable and attractive platform for students to begin their study of Russian cultural history at the very sites where it took shape.

    Program participants take two “Russian Civilization in Paris” courses and a third course, topically connected to Russian and Eastern European studies, each compressed into three weeks and taught in succession by Chicago faculty. Whenever possible, the third course will grant credit in the arts core. If not counted toward the core requirements, all three courses can be used toward the major or minor programs in Russian and East European Studies. In addition to these three courses, students take a French language course running at a normal pace throughout the program. As with all programs at the University of Chicago’s Center in Paris, the Russian Civilization in Paris Program is enhanced by a number of excursions, museum visits, and film viewings within or in the vicinity of Paris.

    A particular highlight of this program is an extended excursion to Moscow, St. Petersburg, or another Russian-speaking 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 de Paris (formerly Université Denis Diderot - Paris VII). 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 Russian Civilization in Paris 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 Russian Civilization in Paris program remain registered as full-time students in the College. They take and receive credit for four courses: three civilization courses and the French language class. The civilization courses may be used toward the College’s civilization requirement. If not counted toward the core requirements, all three courses can be used toward the major or minor programs in Russian and East European Studies, or as electives. Their use, partial or total, in any other 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 Russian Civilization in Paris program during the 2023–2024 year are listed below:

    Spring tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

    Study abroad administrative fee: $675

    Russian Civ in Paris program fee: $5,460

    Program fee includes:

    Out-of-pocket expenses include:

    • round-trip airfare to and from the program site
    • 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 Paris 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 Russian Civilization in Paris 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. 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 the civilization and arts courses are taught in English, there is no language prerequisite, although students are encouraged to take French on campus before the program begins.

    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. If you are interested in applying for this program please fill out the online application.

    To discuss the Paris: Russian Civilization program and the possibility of participating, please contact Kylie Poulin.