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CIEE Paris Critical Studies Program

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring, Academic Year


Paris, France




Overall GPA 3.0; 5 semesters of college-level French or equivalent (more is strongly advised); prior coursework in relevant fields.

Application Due:

10/20 for Spring
3/15 for Fall and Academic Year

Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

The Critical & Francophone Studies Program allows students to engage with the French intellectual tradition in the analysis of cinema, the arts, writing and culture (the Critical studies track), or in examining the issues of diversity, cultural mixing, and national identity that characterize the contemporary French world (the Francophone track.) The language of instruction is French, and the pre-session includes a preparatory intensive French writing and research course. The Paris Center for Critical Studies maintains strong relationships with the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3 and Diderot Université de Paris 7. Students enroll in a combination of special program courses and regular university courses. This program is administered by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) on behalf of a consortium of which The University of Iowa is a member. Participants join a group of students from other U.S. colleges and universities. UI students earn resident credit on this program.

The program is appropriate for students who have the requisite language proficiency and are interested in literary criticism, modern philosophy, history, gender studies, film studies, the visual and performing arts, and French and Francophone literatures.

Academic Program

This program is best suited for students who are self-motivated and able to take responsibility for their own learning, able to set their own reading and study schedules. Students typically earn 16 sh each semester.

The academic pre-session consists of an intensive language course meeting four hours daily with weekly private half-hour tutorials. It is designed to introduce you to the writing, research and argumentative skills that will allow you to be successful in the French academic system.

During the regular semester, CIEE core and content classes are taught in French to CIEE program students. Regular university courses are with French students. CIEE content classes are taught by individuals from the Parisian intellectual scene who are active researchers and figures in the fields of cinema, visual arts, textual analysis, and critical theory.

The semester course load includes two required classes, the Writing Workshop and Theory and Method in Critical Studies, and two or more from a combination of CIEE classes at the Center and classes at the University of Paris. The Writing Workshop is designed to help develop strong writing skills and the ability to articulate ideas and present a strong argument — qualities already well-developed in the typical French university student. Academic year students take the two required CIEE classes in the fall and may opt to continue the Writing Workshop in the spring.

For students in the Critical Studies Track, the Structured Seminar in Philosophy course offers the truly unique opportunity to follow specialized seminars with leading French intellectuals at the Collège International de Philosophie by proposing a research project that articulates and coordinates their attendance in the seminars.

For More Information

Students are required to meet with the program adviser in the UI Study Abroad office before initiating an application. Program details are found at this CIEE webpage.

The Paris Center for Critical Studies & University of Paris

The Paris Center is newly located in the lively Sentier neighborhood in the 2nd arrondissement, less than a minute away from the passages and cinemas of the Grand Boulevards, a 10-minute walk from the Palais Royal, and a 15-minute walk from the Opera Garnier. The Sorbonne Nouvelle is a 20-minute bus ride away.

Following reforms in the 1970s, the former University of Paris was split and then re-formed into 13 interdisciplinary universities. Three of these kept the Sorbonne name as part of their official title: Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III), and the Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris I). Most of the thirteen no longer occupy the historic Sorbonne building in the Latin Quarter, and the four that do were also given other premises elsewhere in the city.

Courses at Paris III taken by program students are typically taught in the Censier buildings, easily accessible by metro from any point in the city. Universite de Paris Diderot is the other school frequently attended by program students, and likewise attainable by metro.

A more recent reorganization in conjunction with measures of standardization throughout the European Union has modified the academic calendar such that classes at the University of Paris run from early October to mid-December and mid-January to May.

Living Arrangements

Housing is included in the program fee. Students are placed in either a small furnished studio or a furnished room where they share kitchen, bath and living areas with a French roommate.

Breakfast and some other group meals are provided during the three day orientation period. Meals during the semester are the student’s responsibility.

Travel Arrangements

Students make their own travel arrangements to arrive in Paris by a designated date. Specific information will be provided in post-acceptance materials from CIEE .


Overall GPA 3.0; 5 semesters of college-level French or equivalent (more is strongly advised); prior coursework in some of the following fields: philosophy, semiotics, film studies, visual studies, gender studies, cultural studies, French literature, Comparative literature; demonstrated interest in critical theory.


The Program Fee is charged on the U Bill and covers tuition, housing, breakfasts and one dinner per week, group excursions, orientation and other support services, an iNext travel card that provides insurance and other travel benefits, and the UI administrative fee.

The semester fee for Fall 2013 was $18,884 for students that are Iowa residents and $20,480 for non-residents. Additional costs include round-trip airfare, visa-related costs, most meals, books and supplies, and personal expenses.

The Iowa Regents mandatory International CISI insurance will also be collected on the U bill.

How to Apply

Before starting an application for this program, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to discuss their program selection and receive information about supplemental materials that are required for an application. Appointments can be set up in person at 1111 UCC or over the phone at 319-335-0353. Applications are considered on a rolling basis and early application is advisable.

After meeting with your advisor, click here to begin the UI application.

Application Deadline

Application deadlines are October20 for the spring semester and March 15 for the fall and academic year programs.

Acceptance Packet

To read and retain for your own records:

Withdrawal policy

After applying for a Study Abroad Program, notice of withdrawal must be made in writing to University of Iowa Study Abroad. The date on which the letter or e-mail message is received is the date by which your costs will be calculated. If for any reason you withdraw after the confirmation deadline and before or during the course of the program, the amount/percentage shown in the following chart represents what you will be required to pay to the University of Iowa.

Date of Withdrawal Student Financial Responsibility
After Confirmation of Participation is signed Administrative fee: $400
Portion of program fee: As determined by the program contract with CIEE
After Program Start Date Administrative fee: 100%
Portion of program fee: As determined by the program contract with CIEE

Consult with your Study Abroad advisor for any clarification about fees and billing. Note that when you withdraw from a program, any money already paid directly to a program provider and/or a host university will potentially be forfeited. Check with your specific provider/host university for details. Additional penalties for cancellation of airline tickets may also apply. Check with your airline for further details.

Orientation Information

Following acceptance, students receive arrival and other information from the Portland office, as well as a Program Handbook with comprehensive student information for France.

All students attend a general TIPS orientation for UI Students Studying Abroad. Additional small group meetings address specific topics, as well as billing and credit procedures at Iowa.

CIEE also conducts online orientations for its students.