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Semester and Academic Year in Lyon

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Students from all departments and schools at the university with the requisite level of French are invited to apply.  Detailed program, application, and scholarship information for the Lyon fall-semester, spring-semester, and year-long programs can be found at the International Studies Office. Please visit: the UVA in Lyon semester and academic year program sitethe general study abroad site, and consult the ISO Study Abroad Handbook.

APPLICATIONS CURRENTLY OPEN UNTIL September 15th:  Spring 2024 program: 2 options- UVA in Lyon or  Lyon Exchange (for in-state students)

Program Contact Information

Director: Dr. Cecile Rey

On-Site Lyon Coordinator:  Lova Rajaonarisoa

International Studies Office, Study Abroad Advisor:  Yohanis Kassa,


France's second largest city, Lyon is immersed in a rich historical and cultural tradition all its own. With approximately 1 million inhabitants, Lyon has the liveliness and energy of an urban setting yet avoids some of the pitfalls of the Paris metropolis. Housing is more affordable, the pace of life a bit slower, cultural life is abundant, and the cuisine every bit as good, if not better! Located at the confluence of the Rhone and Saône rivers, Lyon is a unique crossroads of European cultures, and its proximity to Switzerland, Italy, Provence and the Rhone Valley makes it an ideal base for traveling. Moreover, American students will not hear English spoken at every café terrace as they might in some other common destinations for study abroad in France. These are just some of the reasons that one might choose to live in Lyon while studying abroad. 

The University

The full name of Lyon-II is the Université Lumière-Lyon II, in honor of the Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis, who invented the "cinematographe" and are considered (in France at least!) to have created modern cinema. The Université of Lyon-II is a center of academic excellence in France. Its strongest departments include French, History, Media Studies, Comparative Literature, Political Science, Economics, Art History, Arabic, Sociology, and Anthropology.  Students may take courses at any institution that is a member of the "Université de Lyon" consortium, including the Ecole normale supérieure, Université Lyon I; Université Lyon III; Université Catholique; and Ecole des Beaux Arts.

Visit the website of the Université Lumière-Lyon II.  For information on student life in Lyon, see Vie des campus.

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To succeed in the "total immersion" experience at Lyon-II, UVA students need to have completed FREN 3032 (or the equivalent) with a grade of B+ or better. Students not in this category should contact program academic advisor Janet Horne about the possibilities of studying French as a second language at the CIEF and courses taught in English at Lyon-II. CIEF booklet, in French and in English

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Below is a general description of costs included in the program tuition and fees. For the most recently updated actual costs, please visit the ISO Budget sheet for the coming semester

Price includes:

  • Tuition
  • An on-site Intensive Language and Culture course prior to classes. This required course counts for 3 credits during the fall and 2 credits during the spring.
  • Hotel stay upon arrival
  • Monthly group cultural activities
  • MedEx insurance (for medical repatriation)
  • Civil liability insurance, also required by French law, to be purchased in France prior to or at the beginning of the orientation program

Price excludes:

  • International Airfare
  • French Student Visa
  • Local transportation
  • Housing during the semester or year
  • French National Health Insurance (in French, known as “la Sécurité sociale”) is required by the French law of all international students. Students purchase this insurance when registering at Lyon II at the beginning of the semester. (For cost details, see UVA in Lyon Handbook)
  • Personal travel, laundry, and food expenses
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Medical Insurance

Health insurance is required of anyone applying for student status in France.  Though they will benefit from French national health once in France, UVA recommends that all students maintain their regular personal health insurance policies while traveling to and living in Europe. (We don’t want there to be any lag time between applying for French insurance and effective coverage dates.) Please realize that health care providers in France will expect immediate payment for services. You can use your French national health policy to pay for medical services or, if needed, make arrangements with your insurance provider for reimbursement. If your personal or family insurance policy will not cover you in France, temporary health insurance may be purchased for the month from the CIEE--see for details.

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2024 Spring Semester Application Deadline:  September 15th

APPLY NOW: Spring 2024 program: 2 options- UVA in Lyon or  Lyon Exchange (for in-state students)

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Support Staff for UVA students in Lyon

An on-site coordinator who serves multiple functions:

  • Helps students select housing, and generally get started in Lyon. The on-site coordinator also provides a general orientation to the Université de Lyon-II/Sciences-Po-Lyon.
  • Organizes monthly cultural activities such as group meals and pauses-café, as well as outings to the theater, opera or a professional soccer game. American students are encouraged to invite their French friends to these gatherings.  Some cultural activities may also be done in conjunction with students from other US universities present in Lyon. These cultural gatherings are a chance to touch base with people from home, relax, exchange experiences and share new ones.
  • Serves as a general contact person, available for advice and help with any difficulties or emergencies that may arise.

Academic Advising

Prior to each academic semester, a general orientation will be offered by Lyon-II and Sciences-Po-Lyon to all UVA students in Lyon. Individual academic advising will be offered by Aurore Portet, Professeure agrégée d'anglais, for students studying at Sciences-Po, and by Lova Rajaonarisoa for students studying at Lyon-II.

Beyond this initial academic advising, students have recourse to the Foreign Student Advisor in each individual academic department at Lyon II. As you will discover, most French undergraduates take 90% of their courses in one single department! They tend to specialize much earlier than do we. As a result, they often have a tight schedule of required courses to be taken in sequence and have very few electives. Students on the UVA program, however, will be able to pick and choose among departments as they do at home.

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Course Selection

While in France each student will take a full load of courses. As at UVA, close advising is required to obtain the right classes for each individual student.  Therefore, before leaving for Lyon, students will pre-select at least ten courses, in consultation with a foreign study advisor in the student’s major department AND a foreign study advisor in the French department, realizing that modifications may have to be made once in Lyon for one reason or another. Pre-selection of courses and consultation with the exchange program's Academic Advisor in Lyon is essential : there is no "course shopping period" during the first weeks of classes in France, so students must  resolve their scheduling conflicts ahead of time. It is imperative that each UVA student checks with a foreign study advisor in his or her major department prior to departure to inform themselves about things such as the maximum number of credits that may be transferred toward their major. As with other foreign study programs, no letter grades will appear on your UVA transcript for courses taken abroad. Once in France, students will review their pre-selected courses with the exchange program's Academic Advisor and receive instructions on how to register for courses.

NEW! - UVA DIRECT CREDIT COURSES taken at the Universite Lyon II. Each of the following courses has been pre-approved as  FREN 3559 for 2.5 UVA credits.  Click here to view the complete catalogue of courses that may be considered for UVA direct credit. (pre-approval required)

Pre-Academic Year Course for Lyon (PRUNE) :  Required orientation course run by the Centre International d'études françaises (CIEF). This course is designed to help you fine-tune your grammatical and oral skills and teach you how to write the different types of papers you will need for your university classes. The last four hours of the class focus on one specific subject, such as reading, writing, as well as the differences between literature and social sciences. 

Lyon and its History : This is a course of urban history that uses the example of the city of Lyon. The course will deal with different themes: the main stages of urbanization, space and public squares, housing and architecture, places of worship, trade and commerce, the ways of life of the inhabitants and their relationship with the Rhone and Saone rivers. Comparisons will be made with other cities.

Lyon: A European Metropolis? Since the 1980s, Lyon has undergone major transformations aimed at adapting to the context of globalization. Becoming a European metropolis has become the common thread that gives meaning to public interventions in the urban space. What are the results of these public policies? Has Lyon become a European metropolis?

French Economy : The course presents the main characteristics of the French economy. It underlines its assets and weaknesses in the context of both European integration and globalization. The course refers to the main analysis models currently used in economics. It tests their "modernity" for a renewed understanding of French economy's strengths and weaknesses within the European and global framework.

French Language and Society : This course aims at studying the social, societal, and political issues of today's society. After working on interculturality and representations, we will tackle questions of identity, secularism, and cultures in France through song, cinema, and press.

French Political History: This course aims at studying the social, societal, and political issues of today's society. After working on interculturality and representations, we will tackle questions of identity, secularism, and cultures in France through song, cinema, and press.

Literature and History - National Myths: This course aims at working around French literary and historical works, from the 16th century to the contemporary area. On the one hand, it will offer students the possibility to reflect on the role of literature in the building of a language and common history. On the other hand, it will allow them to discuss the stakes of the narration of national history under different forms

Writing Workshop on Short Storytelling: Taking advantage of the fresh perspective that being abroad offers, students will explore writing in another language, French, using a specific format: short stories. Themes, places and formal constraints will be given to guide them in discovering the city and producing their own short stories, to make this semester in Lyon not a tourist trip but a unique opportunity to reflect.


TRANSFER CREDIT COURSES: Immersion courses available for transfer credit to UVA:

To select other courses at Lyon II, please consult the courses on the following websites: (Remember that unlike UVA, university websites in France are not complete and you will must visit individual departments for course updates once in Lyon).

Click here for more information on transfer credit and the course approval process. Specific departmental contacts for study abroad course pre-approval can be found at the following website:

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Academic Calendar 

Following is a typical schedule for an academic year at Lyon II  and IEP].  In addition to the dates below, a placement test will be scheduled, date TBA at the Centre international d'etudes francaises (CIEF).  For directions to the CIEF, see .

Sample Academic Calendar:

  • September 1 - 11: "Cours de pré-rentrée universitaire » (PRUNE) , a 50 hour, 3-credit introductory course and an orientation program administered by Lyon II's Centre international d'études francaises (CIEF). Required for all students before their first semester in Lyon
  •  September 14: Fall courses begin at Lyon 2 (12 weeks)
  • October 25 - November 1: Winter Break
  • December 12: End of classes
  • December 23: End of exam period
  • January 7 - 15: "Cours de pré-rentrée universitaire » (PRUNE)
  • January 18: Spring courses begin at Lyon 2 (12 weeks)
  • February 14 - February 21: February Break
  • April 19 - April 25: Spring Break
  • May 10: End of exam period

Centre international d'etudes francaises (CIEF)
Université Lumière Lyon II
16 quai Claude Bernard - 69365 Lyon Cedex 07
Tel. - Fax.