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Offered through the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE), the Critical Studies program in Paris is co-sponsored with UW-Madison. Participants study and live in Paris, one of the world's most intriguing cities and one of the leading destinations for travelers and scholars from across the globe.
Students that participate on this program will find an unique two-track study abroad program which helps to concentrate your studies. The Critical Studies track offers you a range of courses in the fields of cinema and visual studies, text and language, intellectual history and critique. The Francophone studies track allows you to achieve a clear understanding of the political, social, and cultural complexity that characterizes contemporary France.
All courses are conducted exclusively in French and are aimed at developing your ability not just to write and speak, but to think in French.
Unique among U.S. programs in Paris, the CIEE Paris Center offers a high degree of autonomy to students. Located near the Arc de Triomphe on Paris' Right Bank, the CIEE Paris Center offers students a unique opportunity to participate in the vibrant world of contemporary France.
Paris, a metropolitan area of approximately 10 million, offers limitless cultural and historic resources. Its buildings and monuments represent more than 2,000 years of history. Its museums, theaters, and libraries are among the finest in the world. Paris is a major world metropolis. The Seine River traverses the city; its waterways, quays, and bridges are major thoroughfares, and also ways to see the city's most famous monuments, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre museum, and the Notre Dame cathedral. The city is known for its cafes (one for every 200 inhabitants); its parks (Bois de Boulougne, Jardin de Luxembourg, Bois de Vincennes); its street life and markets; and as a center for culture, art, fashion, gastronomy, and intellectual life.
Getting to Your Program
Students arrange their own travel to and from Paris but are given guidelines for arrival dates and times.
A student visa is required for participants prior to departure. CIEE provides visa instructions. A passport valid for at least six months beyond the end of the program is also required.
A required orientation session held before departure at UW-Madison helps students prepare for studying abroad. Topics covered include academic, financial, administrative, cultural, and site-specific issues. In Paris, the mandatory orientation program lasts three days. The orientation is designed to introduce students to the country, the culture, and the academic program, and to provide practical information about living in Paris. Daily sessions are devoted to safety, and security, academics, practical matters, and cultural differences. Walking tours orient students to different neighborhoods in Paris.
Orientation housing, as well as permanent housing during the semester, is included in the program fee. The standard housing placement is in a studio or flat-sharing situation with a French person. The Paris center attempts to find housing situations for students that emphasize independence and student life in Paris.
Breakfast and some other meals, including a welcome dinner, are provided during the orientation period. Meals during the semester are not included in the program fee and are the responsibility of the student.
Excursions and Activities
Extracurricular activities and group excursions are organized throughout the semester and are included in the program cost. CIEE resident staff organizes local outings to cultural activities in Paris, such as special exhibits, film festivals, and lectures. Day trips to sites close to Paris such as Chartres and its cathedral, the chateau in Vaux-le-Vicomte, Reims, or Monet's home and garden in Giverny, are also organized for all CIEE students. Weekend trips have taken students to the Loire Valley, Normandy, Burgundy and Brittany.
All participants in IAP programs are enrolled in health insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) and the cost of the insurance coverage is included in program fees. CIEE also has arranged for some health/accident insurance and evacuation insurance.
CIEE Resident Director
Use the links below to find out more information on academics, daily life and student impressions for this program.CIEE Paris Critical and Francophone Studies Academic Notes
(Spring - 2013-14)
Returned Student Network
to contact a returned student.
"The program was not what I originally expected - it was better! The classes were interesting, well taught, and challenging."
Read about current & past students' adventures.
How to Apply
First complete the IAP Online Application. UW Affiliate programs may require you to apply directly to the affiliate either simultaneously during the IAP application process OR after you have received a preliminary admissions decision from IAP. After you have completed the IAP Online Application, the following forms will become available to you through the application portal. Be sure to read the instructions carefully for information on when to apply to the affiliate.
CIEE Online Application
Unofficial Transcript (Student Record)
Unofficial Transcript - OPTIONAL - Additional File
Forms are subject to change. Complete the forms according to the checklist provided to you in the online application portal.
After the Deadline
IAP will review your application and make a preliminary admissions decision. You will be notified of the admissions decision via email. The affiliate university or organization will make the final admissions decision.
During the academic pre-session, all study abroad students take the intensive French writing and research program. Each student also meets with the professor once a week for a half-hour private tutorial.
During the remainder of the semester, participants are required to take a minimum of four courses: the two required CIEE courses, and two electives, one of which must be a Université de Paris course. Students are highly encouraged to take both of their elective classes at the Université de Paris.
Academic year students must take a minimum of five courses in the spring semester. All-year students in the Paris Critical and Francophone Studies program are highly encouraged to take all of their classes at the Université de Paris during their second semester.
The Critical Studies track offers study abroad students a range of courses in the fields of cinema and visual studies, text and language, and intellectual history and critique. All courses are conducted exclusively in French and devoted to widening a student’s ability not just to write and speak, but to think in French. By mastering the rhetorical twists and turns of this foreign language, students gain a finer understanding of the texts, films, discourses, and ideas that they encounter both in the classroom and in the hive of debate and creation that is Paris. Students are directed toward courses that focus on the important role signs and representations play in how thought and meaning are created, on the place of fiction in fact, and on the place of force and fantasy in philosophy.
This study abroad program should be seen as a springboard, helping students define their own theoretical project and offering the critical tools needed to succeed in Université de Paris courses. The perspective we strive to offer has helped former students better define their own academic life, with a number of them continuing their studies in critical theory, cinema and visual studies, comparative literature, and French on a graduate level, both in the U.S. and France.
The Francophone studies track allows students to achieve a clear understanding of the political, social, and cultural complexity that characterizes contemporary France. This includes diversity, multiculturalism, cultural mixing (métissage), and "national identity," as well as religious diversity and secularism (laicité). Students will analyze culture—art, architecture, literature, popular culture, film—in a social context in order to characterize their own experience in cultural terms. Students will communicate with peers about cultural differences and come to understand the French educational system.
Both tracks require students to take a least one university course at the Université de Paris Diderot or Sorbonne Nouvelle.
Program Web Page(s)
Use the links below to see a list of courses that students have taken on this program before and the UW equivalents. Note: this list only includes pre-approved courses for your program and may not be an exhaustive list of courses or departments. You will get instructions on the course equivalent process after acceptance.
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