As a French major, it is essential to study abroad in order to fully immerse yourself in the language and culture you are studying. Furthermore, after graduating, you are likely to be competing in a job market with native French speakers, so you will need to have the level of fluency that only living abroad can provide.

Study abroad options for the French major include opportunities for intensive language study, as well as courses taught in English, focusing on aspects of French culture and society. Whether you choose to spend a year in Paris or some other Francophone locale, there are plenty of ways for you to earn credit towards your degree while abroad!

As a French major, the time for you to study abroad will depend on your level of French proficiency when you begin studying at the University of Iowa. It would be possible to do some study abroad programs after only one semester of French. For most programs, however, you will need to have completed at least three semesters of French before you go abroad.

The Study Abroad director of the French Studies program, Rosemarie Scullion, suggests that you study abroad as early as possible so that you don’t end up repeating the same courses abroad that you have already taken here (because each course you take can only count once towards the major). Make sure to meet with Michel to discuss this before you go abroad!

The undergraduate French Major may be completed with an emphasis in one of the following four tracks: Language, Literature and Culture, French and Arabic, or Teaching. For detailed descriptions of each track and its requirements, please refer to the French Department website.

Keep in mind that the last two courses for the French major must be completed at the University of Iowa, as must any course over the 150-level. All transfer work for application to the major will be evaluated on an individual basis by the faculty in charge of Study Abroad.

For the French Minor, up to 12 out of 15 credit hours can be completed abroad as non-UI credit. Some study abroad programs, such as the USAC program in Pau and the Study in Montpellier program, count as UI credit!

Your level of fluency in French will have a lot of influence on which study abroad programs will be possible for you.

Be sure to consult with the French Department's Director of Study Abroad, Rosemarie Scullion, before enrolling in courses abroad.

After reading through this MAP, make sure to check out our Steps to Studying Abroad page to learn about our Discover Study Abroad sessions and how to start planning your time abroad. Ideally, you should begin to plan your study abroad experience at least two semesters in advance of your departure date.

All students who study abroad must be in good academic and disciplinary standing. Each program listed has coursework taught in English unless otherwise stated. In addition, each program has specific eligibility requirements that may include GPA, prerequisites, and/or class standing. Please see the specific program page on the Study Abroad website at



USAC Studies in Pau
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Summer

USAC Pau supports intensive French language learning and is a good fit for students who have declared a French major or minor. The program is open to those beginning their study of French, as well as intermediate and advanced students. USAC Pau language classes cover First Year French I through Fourth Year French II. Semester students are expected to complete a minimum of 12 s.h. of French language classes. Summer session students are required to take a French language or literature course depending on the session chosen. USAC Pau also has French and European Studies courses including Business French, French for Health Professions, European Cinema, Language and Cinema, and Perspectives on Contemporary France.

Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Summer

USAC Lyon supports intensive French language learning and is a good fit for students who have declared a French major or minor. Students must have completed 2 semesters of college-level French to participate in this program. USAC Lyon language classes cover Second Year French I through Fourth Year French II. Semester students are expected to complete a minimum of 9 s.h. of French language classes. Summer session students are required to take a one-credit French conversation course at the appropriate level. USAC Lyon also has French and European studies courses including LGBTQ+ France: Cultural and Literary Perspectives, French International Relations Since 1945, Understanding the French Bande Dessinee, Survey of French Literature I, Islam in France: Multiculturalism and the Media, Government and Politics in France and Europe, and Francophone Women Writers.

CIEE Paris Critical Studies Program
Fall, Spring, Academic Year

This program is open to students with advanced French language skills (minimum of four semesters of college-level French). 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. Students complete required CIEE Center courses and enroll in local university courses either at Université de Paris or Université Sorbonne Nouvelle. CIEE courses include Writing Workshop I and II; Paris Collage; Histoire, Culture, Architecture; and Cultures Francophones à travers la Littérature et le Cinéma.

CIEE Rennes Liberal Arts Program
Fall, Spring, Academic Year

CIEE Rennes Liberal Arts program is a good fit for intermediate to advanced level French students who want to take their language skills further while learning about French culture and society. Students are required to have 3.0 GPA in French coursework and a minimum of four semesters of college-level French. Students begin with a two-week language and culture course with CIEE. Then they will be placed into a prescribed set of courses at the Centre International Rennais d’Etude du Francais pour Etrangers (CIREFE) at Université Rennes II. Most levels will require these courses: French Language, From Listening Comprehension to Written Expression, From Written Expression to Oral Expression, Oral Expression, and French Civilization and Culture. Elective courses include History of France, France in the World During the 20th Century, French for Business, History of Modern Art, and Features of the French Economy.

Study Abroad in Montpellier
Montpellier Summer Language Program
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Summer

Based at the University of Minnesota’s program center in Montpellier, this program provides a strong foundation of French language (beginning to advanced levels) and culture electives. Depending on the student’s language level, they may also be able to take classes at University Paul Valéry or the University of Montpellier. The beginners’ track is available only during the summer session; semester and academic year students participate in the intermediate or advanced tracks. There are English and French electives available for intermediate and advanced students including Cross-Cultural Psychology; Contemporary French Civilization; Global Business; Industry: France at the Crossroads; Medieval French Literature: Mysteries, Marvels, and Monsters; and History of French Cinema.