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French Field Studies

Paris, France

Paris, France

Program sponsor: Northwestern and Institute for Field Education (IFE)

View of Eiffel Tower between trees, Paris, France
View of Eiffel Tower between trees, Paris, France

The French Field Study Program is a full-year program consisting of:

  1. Fall semester at IFE's Paris Field Study & Internship program
    During the fall, students participate in IFE's Paris Field Studies & Internship program, which offers an intensive internship/academic experience for a small group of study abroad students, with individualized placement for work and research in a variety of fields including economics, political science, development studies, international relations, education, social policy, visual arts, theatre, and more. Students receive a thorough grounding in French political, social, and cultural issues prior to the internship, in the form of two lecture-and-workshop courses: French Society: Issues and International Context and The Political Life of France Yesterday and Today. During the internship portion of the program (12 weeks), students complete a seminar course entitled Towards a European Society and report to a research advisor. The semester culminates in a long research paper written in French, based on the internship.
  2. Spring semester at Sciences Po Exchange program
    During the spring, students enroll directly at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris, or Sciences Po, one of the highest ranked institutions in the world for politics and international studies. Students take classes with local and other international students.

Linking the two programs

During the fall, students acquire confidence in their French language skills, familiarity with French academic and professional culture, and knowledge about a particular subject of interest. This prepares students to be able to take all of their social science and humanities courses at Sciences Po in French during the spring. Late in the fall term, IFE and GLO assist students with making a seamless transition between programs, through course and registration advising, continued housing arrangements, and visa assistance. Students also have the option of completing a second internship or continuing their fall internship during the January break period between the two programs.

Begin Application Process


Paris Field Study & Internship Program

Refer to the IFE website for information about academics.

Sciences Po Exchange

Students at Sciences Po Exchange have access to courses in six disciplines: economics, international relations, legal studies, history, political science, and humanities. Many courses offer comparative studies in an international context.

Students take a combination of lectures, seminars, elective courses, and workshops. Most students take five or six courses, and it is expected that French Field Studies students take all of their courses in French. Depending upon students' course selection, they may be eligible to obtain a Certificate in Social Sciences and Humanities on the Paris campus. Pursuing a certificate is possible in one semester, but it is not mandatory.

Program Requirements


Open to Northwestern students from all majors.


Completion of at least French 121-3 or 125-3. Strongly recommended that students complete at two 200-level content courses prior to the program start.


  1. Apply for permission to study abroad
    All students are required to apply for permission to study abroad. Learn more about the process, deadlines, and access the application on the apply to study abroad page.
  2. Interview for your program

    Interviews with the GLO adviser for this program and the French Department are required.

    • For the interview, please be prepared to:
      • Discuss your specific motivations for study abroad and reasons for selecting this program
      • Explain how the program and coursework aligns with your personal, academic, and/or professional interests, and
      • Ask informed follow-up questions about program details that you have reviewed on the program website
  3. Apply for your study abroad program
    All affiliated programs and all Northwestern exchange programs require an additional external program application.
    1. IFE application: Check the program’s website for the application and deadlines.
    2. Sciences Po Exchange: The application will not be accessible until you are nominated by Northwestern to participate in the exchange. Please check the program’s website for more details and deadlines.

Program Contacts

Estimated Credit

12 - 14 Northwestern units for the full-year program. Visit Registration & Credit to learn more about credit types and requirements, registration, and other considerations.

Students will receive two transcripts: one issued by IFE and another issued by Sciences Po. Course credit will be eligible for transfer back to Northwestern as long as students earn course grades of C or better. Refer to the study abroad courses & credit page for information on the "C" grade equivalent and minimum credit requirement for this exchange program.


IFE will arrange student housing for the full year, either with a host family or in one of several foyers, or independent student residences.

Meals may or may not be included in IFE housing options.

Read through IFE's housing overview for more details about housing and meals.

Host Institution

Established in 1872, Sciences Po is one of Europe’s most distinguished and well-known schools of public affairs. The majority of France’s political leaders are alumni, including former presidents Jacques Chirac and François Mitterrand. The Paris campus, located near the Seine and within walking distance of Notre Dame de Paris and the Louvre, is the most famous of the seven Sciences Po undergraduate campuses located all over France.

While the university primarily conducts classes in French, the education has a strong international dimension: students are expected to study at least two foreign languages in addition to French, and many courses are offered in English. Forty percent of Sciences Po’s student population is international, with 60 different nationalities represented.

Program Cost

Study abroad program costs vary widely and may be more or less expensive than studying at Northwestern. Review the comparison.

Full Year 2019-2020: $57,670

Billed by Northwestern
Fall Quarter:

Winter/Spring Quarters:

  • Program fee: $28,116
Estimated Additional Expenses
  • Room & board: $12,495
  • Airfare: $1,000
  • Local transportation: $800
  • Books & supplies: $300
  • Personal expenses: $3,100
  • Visa: $290
  • GeoBlue: $215

Total: $18,200

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Program Financial Details

This section outlines some of the billing and financial arrangements for Northwestern Programs, and is intended as a guide to help you navigate the financial aspects of your study abroad process. You should always refer to your program materials for the most current information and instructions. Contact your study abroad adviser (listed above) if you have any questions.

Program Confirmation

Once you are approved to attend a Northwestern study abroad program, you will need to complete a Program Confirmation form to confirm your participation. Northwestern students admitted to Northwestern programs are not required to pay a confirmation deposit, but will be charged a cancellation fee for withdrawing from the program after confirming.

Northwestern Invoice

Your Northwestern invoice will be issued through CAESAR on the regular quarterly schedule, and will include your program fee, which includes tuition, accommodations abroad, all related program activities, and international health insurance. Your program's billable costs and estimated budget are outlined above.

If you receive financial aid and/or loans, these funds will continue to apply directly to your CAESAR account. If you were awarded a ULA scholarship, it will also disburse to your CAESAR account.

If you use the Northwestern 9PAY plan, you may continue to use 9PAY for your NU-billed study abroad expenses, but you should request a study abroad 9PAY estimate to have your plan set up appropriately. The 9PAY plan is not available for summer programs.

Student Visa Financial Certification

If you are required to obtain a student visa, you may need to provide documentation that you will be supported financially for the duration of your time abroad. This may require bank statements from your parents and/or a financial aid award letter; review your visa application instructions carefully to be sure you are providing the appropriate documentation, and contact ULA for assistance.

If you primarily fund your education through financial aid and/or loans, you may also contact Krista Bethel in the financial aid office to request a letter of financial support.

Withdrawal & Refund Policies

If you withdraw or are dismissed from a Northwestern Program after submitting your program confirmation form, you are subject to the withdrawal & refund policies for Northwestern Programs.

Program Website