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Public Health in Europe

Paris, France

Paris, France

Program sponsor: Northwestern

Public Health in Europe students visit the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland
Public Health in Europe students visit the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland

The Public Health in Europe program is designed to introduce students to current public health issues in the European Union as they affect standards of living, welfare systems, fiscal policy, trade, and scientific development. Developed jointly by faculty from Northwestern and Sciences Po, this program combines seminars with excursions to Geneva, Bordeaux, and public health sites in Paris to expose students to the European public health policy process, systems for health care delivery in the EU, and the role of governmental and non-governmental institutions in addressing public health issues. Students also take intensive French language classes and visit historic and cultural sites in Paris and elsewhere in France.

Begin Application Process


This is a Northwestern program with a set curriculum, so students must enroll in the courses listed below. All courses and grades appear on students' Northwestern transcript and are figured into their Northwestern GPA.

POLI SCI 364-SA: French Politics, Culture & Society (1 unit)

This course provides students with an introduction to French politics with a framework of European integration. It addresses France's participation in European integration, while also exploring French identity politics, state institutions, and the development of French social policy. This is a required course for all students participating in Northwestern programs in Paris.

GBL HLTH 311-SA: Health Care Systems in Europe and the US (1 unit)

This course provides students with an understanding on the various ways in which health care systems are organized in European countries, the problems they face, and the reforms implemented or proposed at the national and regional levels.

GBL HLTH 312-SA: Public Health in Europe: Issues and Policies (1 unit)

Students examine issues and debates on health policy in France and the EU, including primary health issues, health insurance, health inequalities, HIV/AIDS, and other topics. Lectures are supplemented by visits to relevant sites and guest speakers.

GBL HLTH 313-SA: International Organizations and Health: A Research Seminar (1 unit)

The aim of this seminar is to provide students with the opportunity to conduct social science research on a topic that explores the role of international organizations in rule-setting as well as framing, supporting, and implementing health policies. Students design team research projects, learn about research methodology, discuss their research progress, and present findings.

FRENCH 199-SA or 299-SA: French Language (2 units)

While there is no language prerequisite to participate in this program, students are required to take intensive language training in French while in Paris. Three to four levels of language instruction are offered, depending on student's skill level.

Program Requirements


Open to students from all majors meeting Northwestern's minimum application requirements.


No language requirement is needed.


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.

This Northwestern Program has a maximum enrollment capacity. If there are more applicants than spaces available, then admission to this program will be competitive. It is highly recommended that you include a second choice program in your Northwestern Study Abroad Application, in case you are not offered admission to this program. Listing a second choice program in your Northwestern Study Abroad Application does not affect your chances of getting admitted to this program. Review the admissions criteria and selection process for Northwestern Programs here.

Program Contacts

Estimated Credit

  • 6 Northwestern units 
  • Visit Registration & Credit to learn more about credit types and requirements, registration, and other considerations.


Accommodations and meal plan vary depending on selection.

Students will have two options:

  • Living with a French family in a homestay. The meal plan includes breakfast daily and dinners Monday through Friday.
  • Living in a shared, furnished apartment with one or two other Northwestern students. Students prepare their own 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 within walking distance of 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. Almost half of the students are international students.


Northern France

On one of the first weekends of the program, students will travel to see the beaches of Normandy and the American and German cemeteries from World War II. The trip provides a great opportunity for students on the program to get an introduction to France and to each other.


Students will visit the Bordeaux School of Public Health at the University of Bordeaux and speak with experts about topics currently under research. Possible research areas include: HIV/AIDS infection, maternal and infant health, health issues in Southern countries, nutrition, and cancer. They will also visit a psychiatric hospital.

Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva is home to the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO), Red Cross and Red Crescent (ICRC), United Nations (UN), International Labor Office (ILO), and Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF). Activities scheduled during this field trip vary annually, but students will have the opportunity to visit the WHO library and access resources for their research projects.

Program Resources

Browse the program handbook for more detailed information about excursions, courses, and identity-based considerations. Note: This is the previous year's handbook and should be used for informational purposes only. Do not make and travel plans based off of the dates or information provided here. 

Review identity-specific information about Paris:

Program Cost

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

Your Northwestern invoice will include your program fee, which covers tuition, housing with some meals, and international health insurance. Exact charges and estimated additional expenses vary depending on accommodations selected.

Fall 2019: $24,134-$25,134

(varies by housing selection)

Billed by Northwestern
  • Tuition: $13,564
  • Housing:
    • Homestay with daily breakfast & dinner:
    • Homestay with daily breakfast only:
    • St. John's University dormitory with weekday breakfasts:
  • GeoBlue: $180

Total: $17,644-$19,744

Estimated Additional Costs
  • Additional Meals: $1,800-$2,900
    (varies by housing selection)
  • Airfare: $1,500
  • Local Transportation: $400
  • Books & supplies: $200
  • Visa: $290
  • Personal expenses: $1,200

Total: $5,390-$6,490

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.

Life in Paris

Video by: Kathleen Clark - Paris 2016, Weinberg 2018