Academics and Advising

I think my most valuable experience was seeing the differences between education in the universities I attended here and Bard which, in retrospect, will certainly allow me to gain more from my final year of undergraduate education and beyond.
Michael Brodek, Bard College

With ongoing academic advising and support, students are directly matriculated in Parisian Universities, certain Grandes Écoles and Institutes, and may also take optional in-house courses. CUPA students have the freedom to curate their curricula from an extensive body of course offerings available at our many partner institutions. They may also engage in independent study projects, if approved by their home university, or develop a more specialized program of study.

Aware of the differences between American and French academic institutions, both in terms of methodology and administration, CUPA serves as an important liaison between students and their professors in Paris. During every step of the academic process, from selecting courses to implementing a study project to obtaining final credit approval, CUPA works closely with students to ensure a rich intellectual experience that is in keeping with their home university’s requirements. Advising takes into account the student’s level of fluency, academic background, special interests, and strengths. Students generally take four courses per semester, each carrying a credit recommendation for a full semester.

Michel Bondurand Mouawad in class

Michel Bondurand Mouawad in class

© Hao Guo

Building a Curriculum

Step 1
Creating a Study Proposal

Prior to their arrival in Paris, students are asked to create a preliminary Study Proposal that takes into account their academic interests and major requirements. To help with the creation of this proposal, CUPA publishes a Course Description Booklet which concisely describes each course taken by CUPA students during the previous academic year. The booklet also includes the most popular courses taken in recent years. Because French universities do not publish course catalogs similar to those of American colleges, this document is instrumental in helping students ascertain the type of courses they will be able to take during their semester or year abroad.

Step 2
Selecting Courses

During Orientation, CUPA provides students with an up-to-date Course Catalog that combines and organizes the course listings from our partner universities. This document greatly simplifies the course selection process for our students, who also have access to course evaluations from past semesters. Because these listings are published very late as compared to American universities and colleges, we are not always able to make them available to students prior to their arrival.

Once a student’s final course selection is established, CUPA completes the formal registration process with each French university or institute.

Step 3
Establishing an Academic Contract

Once students are enrolled in their classes, CUPA establishes direct contact with each professor, in order to make sure that the assigned coursework will justify the credits recommended for transfer. A fiche de liaison pédagogique, or “academic contract” is established for each 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.

Examples of Student Curricula

CUPA students design highly individualized study programs based on specific requirements and interests, including fields such as fine and performing arts, STEM and economics. Below is a list of sample curricula from previous semesters. Do not hesitate to contact the program for more information on specific requests; the examples provided are by no means exhaustive.

Economics and Middle Eastern Studies Major

Harvard University
  • Macroéconomie de l’Europe – Université de Paris 8-Saint-Denis
  • Représentations et réalités de l’Islam en France – CUPA
  • Crises des marchés financiers et finance internationale – Université de Paris 8-Saint-Denis
  • Renforcement en arabe – Université de Paris-Sorbonne

Biology and French Major

Yale University
  • Immunologie – Université Pierre et Marie Curie
  • Histoire de la culture occidentale – Université de Paris-Sorbonne
  • Littérature classique – Université de Paris-Sorbonne
  • Musées : initiation à l’expérience muséale – Université de Paris III-Sorbonne Nouvelle

French Major

Georgetown University
  • Histoire de la pensée économique et sociale aux XIXe et XXe siècles – Université de Paris-Sorbonne
  • Histoire politique de la France au second XXe siècle – Université de Paris-Sorbonne
  • Économie d’entreprise – Université de Paris-Sorbonne
  • Linguistique et critique littéraire – Université de Paris-Sorbonne
  • Problèmes économiques contemporains – Université de Paris-Dauphine

Trombone Performance and French Major

Oberlin College and Conservatory
  • Imaginaires américains contemporains – Université de Paris 8-Saint-Denis
  • Textes et problématiques: Écrire sous l’occupation – Sartre 1940-1944 – Université de Paris 8-Saint-Denis
  • Ethnomusicologie, expérimentation musicale – Université de Paris 8-Saint-Denis
  • Musique et mutations technologiques – Université de Paris 8-Saint-Denis
  • Trombone – Private Instruction

Pyschology Major

Carleton College
  • Littérature classique XVIIe siècle – Université de Paris Ouest – Nanterre-La Défense
  • Représentations et réalités de l’Islam en France – CUPA
  • Génétique du comportement et conduite parentale – Université de Paris Ouest – Nanterre-La Défense
  • Pathologie du système nerveux et spécialisation hémisphérique – Université de Paris Ouest – Nanterre-La Défense

Comparative Literature Major

Princeton University
  • Sémiotique littéraire comparée : littérature et musique, cinéma, peinture, danse – Université Paris-Sorbonne
  • Création des romans selon la nouvelle dramaturgie et structure littéraire – Université Paris 8-Saint-Denis
  • Écrivains critiques d’art, de Diderot à Proust – Université Paris 8-Saint-Denis
  • Éditer les Filles du feu de Nerval – Université Paris 8-Saint-Denis
  • Principes fondamentaux du scénario – Université Paris 8-Saint-Denis

History Major

Oberlin College
  • Les gauches européennes : révolution, contre-révolution, anti-révolution – École Normale Supérieure
  • Histoire sociale contemporaine : Immigration et grandes migrations – Université de Paris Ouest – Nanterre-La Défense
  • Les régimes autoritaires et totalitaires – Université de Paris Ouest – Nanterre-La Défense
  • Introduction à l’histoire des femmes et du genre au XIXe siècle – Université de Paris 8-Saint-Denis

Art History Major

Oberlin College
  • Iconographie Médiévale – Université de Paris Ouest – Nanterre-La Défense
  • Approche des grands programmes édilitaires médiévaux – Université de Paris Ouest – Nanterre-La Défense
  • Actualités de la recherche en histoire de l’art médiéval – Université de Paris Ouest – Nanterre-La Défense
  • La liturgie médiévale occidentale et ses rituels – École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
  • Histoire de l’enluminure du Moyen Âge à la Renaissance – Institut National du Patrimoine

Grades, Credits and Transcripts

Grades and Credits

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). 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. 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.

The School of Record Transcript must be request before the dates listed below. No exceptions can be allowed.

June 30th for fall or year applicants
December 1st for spring applicants

To apply for a School of Record Transcript students must contact the CUPA office in the US to receive the request forms.

  • 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.