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

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.

Nicolas Baudouin teaching CUPA's Art History course at the Musée Gustave Moreau

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 provides a list of course offerings from past semesters (see below) which concisely describes each course taken by CUPA students during the previous academic year.

Because French universities do not publish course catalogs similar to those of American colleges, this document is instrumental in helping students ascertain the type of courses they will be able to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.
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.

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

Psychology 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.