University Courses

Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La DéfensePhoto: © Service Communication - Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense

Creating a valuable and meaningful Paris experience will require selecting courses that truly fit your academic goals and study abroad expectations.

In APA Paris' programs, you can choose from a range of courses in any major offered by our 11 Paris partner institutions and from our special selection of in-house elective courses which cover French politics and art history. Since French universities publish their course list a month before the semester begins, APA will handle class registration during orientation on the students' behalf.

All courses offered have been carefully selected by our team based on key factors including interest value, faculty qualifications, and evaluations from previous students. No matter which program you choose, you will attend class alongside your French peers.

Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint DenisPhoto: © Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis

Course Selection

Students build their class schedule from a combination of the following:

Courses at our University of Paris partner institutions


Course Catalogs

Provided as a sample, the following course catalogs include a list of classes that were available in recent past semesters. It is possible and common to take classes at multiple universities.

If you do not see your major listed, email us at and we can provide you with a list of course options. If you are looking for a specific course, we kindly ask that you send us the link to the course description on your home institution's website so that we may find the closest match.

Anthropology » Fall 2017 | Spring 2017

Art History » Fall 2017 | Spring 2017

Classical Humanities » 2016-2017

Communications » Fall 2017 | Spring 2017

Comparative Literature » Fall 2017 | Spring 2017

Economics » Fall 2016 | Spring 2017

Education » 2016-2017

Film & Theater Studies » Fall 2017 | Spring 2017

French Literature » Fall 2016 | Spring 2017

Gender Studies » 2016-2017

General Literature » Fall 2017 | Spring 2017

Geography » Fall 2017 | Spring 2017

History » Fall 2017 | Spring 2017

Linguistics » 2016-2017

Musicology » 2016-2017

Philosophy » Fall 2017 | Spring 2017

Political Science » Fall 2017 | Spring 2017

Psychology » Fall 2017 | Spring 2017

Religion » 2016-2017

Science & Technology »

Sociology » Fall 2017 | Spring 2017

Our two in-house electives

XAPA Paris Art History Class

In-House Courses

Of the four courses you’ll choose for your semester, most of which are taken at our affiliate Paris institutions, one or two of them can be replaced by one of our own in-house courses.

Course material will differ slightly based on the Intermediate and Advanced programs.

1 - Political Challenges in Contemporary France

There are so many hot topics in French social and political culture, from employment and economic issues to immigration. This course gives you a chance to dive right into the pressing issues of today. Learn about them, debate them, and enrich yourself with a new dimension of political insight. The course is taught by a Political Science professor and the advanced program course includes a one-day study tour to Brussels.

2 - French Painting and Sculpture

This art history class covers two key periods in France: 19th century (fall semester) and 20th century (spring semester). The class meets twice a week and includes 12 sessions in which students get to study the works of art up close in a museum setting. The advanced program course also includes a two-day study tour each semester:

- Fall: London- Examine the parallels between French and English Impressionism

- Spring: Barcelona- Explore 20th century Spanish artists including Picasso, Miró, Dali, and Gaudi

Optional (Advanced Program): replace one class with an independent study or research


APA encourages students to pursue subjects that are not always found in a course catalog. Two options exist for advanced program students to seek an individual approach to a topic and explore it further. These are:

1 - Independent Study

Independent study is intended to be an extension, or “spin-off,” of an existing course. It provides the student with an opportunity to pursue and research a subject in-depth, and in a more independent manner than would be possible in a traditional course.

2 - Research

Use this time in order to complete research necessary for your senior thesis. Past research topics have included analyzing Maghrebin immigration patterns and exploring the use of slam poetry to process traumatizing events.

APA guarantees that they will find the most suitable faculty advisor to survey the student's work.

In order to participate in an independent study or research, students must receive approval from their home institution prior to going abroad.

Will I take a French class?


APA believes that learning a language should not take a one-size-fits-all approach. So many factors play a part: did you take French before college? For how many years? What was your teacher like? What teaching methods did they use? Do you already speak a foreign language?

Rather than require students to take a typical semester-long French class, APA has developed a Customized Language Support (CLS) program to build on each individual student's language foundation. All students will meet weekly individually or in pairs with a language professor for 30-45 minutes and separately one-on-one with a teaching assistant for one hour to work on specific weaknesses, oral expression, and written assignments. The CLS will differ slightly based on your program:

Intermediate Program: At the beginning of the semester, students will take a 75-hour intensive language immersion course. This will count as one of the four courses in the class schedule. After, students will take an evaluation and be paired with one of our language professors to continue their CLS for the remainder of the semester.

Advanced Program: During orientation, each student takes a language evaluation. Based on the results, students are assigned to one of our language professors. The weekly CLS will continue throughout the semester. This will not count as a course in the class schedule.

View the additional academic support available.

“The French university system is also radically different from my experience in the U.S., but luckily the staff spent three weeks with us at the beginning of the semester teaching us about the university system through an orientation program. That support continued throughout the semester through tutoring sessions to learn the methodology of our course work or meetings with professors. The two in-house courses were also absolutely incredible and allowed us to get to know French professors while still having a small, intimate class where discussion was highly encouraged. We also got to go on a study-tour to a different country for each of the in-house classes! Those trips were weekend-long trips organized by the program that helped expand what were were learning in the classroom."

Kat, Swarthmore College, Fall 2016

Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La DéfensePhoto: © Service Communication - Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense

Try them first

One of our unique offers is the chance to try out several classes before you commit. For the first week of the semester, APA has adopted the American "shopping" period. Sit in on up to 10 courses and see how you like them. At the end of the week, you simply select the four or five that best fit your interest and needs.

“APA offered a great support network and made the transition from American academics to French university fairly painless. They also invested a lot of time to make sure that students' course credits would be recognized at their home universities.”

Kylie, Bryn Mawr College, Spring 2015



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