Grenoble French Studies Program

The program lets students live and study in a university town in a spectacular alpine setting. The program has two levels—Level 1: Intensive French Language, for students at the intermediate level; and Level 2: Advanced University Studies, for students already proficient in French. In addition to courses, the program offers field trips to acquaint students with other significant and historic French cities.

Students may enroll in the Grenoble program in the fall or spring semesters. However, students are encouraged to study abroad for an entire academic year. Program participants can continue in Grenoble or enroll in the Paris Internship Program the following semester after successful completion of the program in Grenoble. Students considering this option should complete the application process for both programs before departing for Grenoble.

Program Curriculum

Level I: Intensive French Language

Level I offers an intensive French language curriculum at the university’s Centre Universitaire d’Études Françaises (CUEF), which is among the best French language instruction centers in France. Students are placed in a sequence of three language courses based on previous coursework and a placement exam. The language courses use audiovisual instruction and intensive drilling to improve speaking, writing, and reading skills, and allow students to complete three semesters of French language courses in three months. Students also take a course in the development of French civilization and culture taught by the director, for which they conduct ethnographic research projects.

Students in Level I must enroll in the following course:

CAS LF 261: French Civilization (4)

Seminar exploring French culture and civilization. Course materials include periodical literature in English and French, a French history book, and current French news or programs on society and politics. Field trips required. Throughout the semester, students are required to do an ethnographic study on French civilization. Scheibling. Syllabus

Students enroll in three courses from the list below:

CAS LF 211: Third-Semester French (4)

(Prerequisite: two semesters of college-level French, or placement exam results.) Reinforces and extends skills in grammar and conversation. Literary readings with discussions in class. Taught in French. CUEF faculty.

CAS LF 212: Fourth-Semester French (4)

(Prerequisite: three semesters of college-level French, or placement exam results.) Continuation of CAS LF 211. Grammar review, conversation, and composition. Selections from contemporary literature with discussions in class. Taught in French. CUEF faculty.

CAS LF 303: French Composition & Conversation I (4)

(Prerequisite: four semesters of college-level French, or placement exam results.) Development of sophistication in handling the spoken and written language in social and academic situations. Grammar review, writing, pronunciation, comprehension, conversation, and vocabulary building. Taught in French. CUEF faculty.

CAS LF 304: French Composition & Conversation II (4)

(Prerequisite: five semesters of college-level French, or placement exam results.) Continuation of CAS LF 303. Grammar review, writing, pronunciation, comprehension, conversation, and vocabulary building. Taught in French. CUEF faculty.

CAS LF 306: Advanced Oral Expression (4)

(Prerequisite: six semesters of college-level French, or placement exam results.) Special attention is given to corrective phonetics. Readings of poetic and dramatic texts with emphasis on diction. Transcription based on International Phonetic Alphabet. CUEF faculty.

Level II: Advanced University Studies

Level II offers advanced students the opportunity to enroll directly in the Université de Grenoble. Eligibility for coursework at the university is determined by a placement exam administered in Grenoble. Qualified students select four upper-level academic courses from offerings in the Faculté des Langues, Lettres et Communication (Université Stendhal), the Faculté des Sciences Sociales (Université Pierre Mendès), the CUEF, or a combination thereof. Students choose from a variety of subjects such as art history, French literature, cinema, economics, political science, international relations, psychology, and more. In addition, all Level II students take a semester-long, advanced four-credit course, Travaux Pratiques, in written and oral French through the CUEF, and complete an ethnographic research project.

Students in Level II enroll in one of the following courses:

CAS FR 303: Travaux Pratiques I (4 credits)

This advanced course in written and oral modern French meets for six hours a week. Students take an exam at the beginning of the semester and are placed in sections appropriate to their language skills. Coursework includes conversation, oral expression, reading of texts, vocabulary and grammar exercises, use of language labs, compositions, and a final exam. CUEF Faculty.

CAS FR 304: Travaux Pratiques II (4)

Advanced course in written and oral French meets eight hours (at the advanced level) to ten hours (at the intermediate level) per week. Students take a placement exam at the beginning of the semester and are placed in the appropriate section. Coursework includes conversation, reading, composition, vocabulary, and grammar exercises, a written ethnographic study on French civilization, and a final exam. CUEF faculty.

Students choose four, three-credit courses from CUEF or Université de Grenoble course offerings. Some are offered only at the intermediate level, some at advanced, and some are combined for both groups.

CUEF Courses

CAS FR 305: Translation
CAS FR 340/345: Culture Courses
  • French History
  • French Politics and Economics
  • France and Europe
  • French Civilization and Culture
  • French Cinema
CAS FR 400/402: Literature Courses
  • 20th-Century French Literature
  • Francophone Literature

Université de Grenoble Courses

Actual course offerings are not posted until just before the semester begins. What follows is a list of courses that students have taken in recent semesters. This list is not complete, and the courses described may not be offered each semester. All final course registration takes place in Grenoble.

Art History
  • The Classical Period
  • Contemporary Art History
  • Fauvism and Cubism
  • History of Europe: 1945–Present
  • Third World History: French Colonies
  • History of Italy
  • History of Globalization
  • Phonetics
  • Stylistics
  • Syntax

Courses are offered in all periods and genres of French literature.


History of Philosophical Ideas

CAS IP101: The Global Learning Experience (1 credit)

All program participants have the opportunity to make the most of their semester abroad with The Global Learning Experience, a self-paced, Pass/Fail course with brief readings and experiential assignments that accompany them while living and studying in a country and culture different from their own. Students post their work, experiences and observations to an online platform to trace and articulate their achievements abroad from an academic, personal and professional standpoint. The course links students with the faculty instructors as well as peers studying on other BU Study Abroad programs around the world. Students earn one credit in addition to the total program credits mentioned below at no additional cost.

Program Details

  • Level I: Minimum of two to four semesters of college-level French language or the equivalent
  • Level II: Minimum of five semesters of college-level French language or the equivalent
  • Admissions requirements for all programs
Program Dates
  • Fall Semester:
    • Level I: early September to early December
      • Level II: early September to mid December
      • Spring Semester:
        • Level I: late January to late April
        • Level II: early January to mid May
      • Upon successful completion of the program, students earn sixteen Boston University credits. Students must enroll for a total of sixteen credits.
      • Boston University arranges accommodations with French host families for students to facilitate their language acquisition and to integrate them into everyday French life. All students are provided with accommodations in French households throughout the city. Households chosen to participate in the program represent a wide range of incomes and situations, from an elderly woman living alone to a couple living in the city to a suburban family with several young children.
      Application Deadlines
      • Fall Semester: March 15 
      • Spring Semester: October 1

      Download a description of the Grenoble French Studies Program.

      Program Faculty & Staff

      The Boston University Grenoble programs are administered by staff in both our Boston and Grenoble offices. In Boston, a program manager handles the admissions and pre-departure procedures, and maintains contact with students prior to their arrival in Grenoble. The Boston office also houses administrative personnel who are responsible for everyday operations. In Grenoble, the staff comprises a resident director and administrative, academic, and housing personnel.