With ongoing academic advising and support, students select from the extensive course offerings available at Parisian partner higher-education institutions, in which they are directly matriculated. They may also choose to take one or two optional in-house courses, or engage in independent study projects, if approved by their home university.
Academic advising takes into account the student’s level of fluency, academic background, and special interests. Students generally take four courses per semester, each carrying a credit recommendation for a full semester. In order to facilitate course selection, offerings are organized into bulletins and supplemented with descriptions and evaluations of courses taken by previous CUPA students.
Final course selection takes place during Orientation, when students have the opportunity to explore the different universities, sit in on classes and build their final schedule, but prospective and accepted students are encouraged to contact the program if they have a special interest or project for their semester/year abroad.
Once students are enrolled in their classes, CUPA establishes direct contact with each professor, in order to make sure that the quantity and quality of assigned work will justify the credits recommended for transfer. A fiche de liaison pédagogique, or “academic contract”, is agreed upon and details the workload for the course.
Students are then required to design their own Study Project, a self-designed syllabus detailing all readings, research and coursework to be done over the semester. French university professors expect their students to be quite autonomous, and the Study Project, along with the academic contract, provide CUPA students with the necessary amount of structure for each course.
Methodology, Tutoring and French Language Support
Through direct matriculation, students experience an entirely different, strongly research-oriented, way of learning. Completing coursework is contingent upon the student’s mastery of the French Methodology. This radically different approach to academics provides students with a new perspective and allows them to discover another, more autonomous way of studying, that will prove especially valuable to those who wish to undertake Graduate studies.
A key part of the Orientation program is an initial approach to the “methodology” of writing in the form and style required by the French university system. On-going support is then furnished throughout the semester or year, in the form of weekly office hours. Individualized support is also provided for students whenever necessary.
French langage support is maintained throughout the semester, through individualized language tutoring, allowing students who desire to do so to progress at their own pace and insist on the specific points that they still need to improve, whether oral or written.
Grades and Credit
Grades are recorded on students’ transcripts as they appear on the evaluation forms completed by professors. While CUPA assures that coursework is sufficient to justify the transfer of credits, each student is responsible for knowing the transfer policy of the home university. A School of Record transcript is available upon request.
Students generally take four courses per semester, each course carrying a credit recommendation for a full semester. Grades are recorded on students’ transcripts exactly as they appear on the evaluation forms completed by professors (French number grades or their conversion into equivalent letter grades). CUPA transcripts are accepted by most US institutions. However, should the need arise, a School of Record transcript is available upon request.
School of Record Transcript
The following information applies only to students whose home institution requires a “School of Record Transcript” from an accredited, degree-granting institution in the United States in order to transfer credits from Paris toward their degree.
Instructions for Students applying for a School of Record Transcript: students must contact the CUPA office in the US to get the forms necessary for a School of Record Transcript before June 30th (Fall/Year abroad) or December 1st (Spring abroad). No exceptions can be allowed.
- The student must be enrolled in a full course-load with CUPA, 4 courses per semester; each course will be worth 4 credits.
- The student is responsible for checking both with Spelman College , which will issue transcripts and with his/her home institution concerning credit eligibility for any exceptional coursework, such as: independent study, internships, student teaching, art studios, etc.