The French Department encourages students at the 3000 level and above to seek the linguistic, intellectual, and personal benefits that can be obtained only from a well-planned period of study in a French-speaking country. Interested students may consider applying to the DMP (distinguished majors program) in the spring of their 3rd year based on a research interest they encountered during study abroad or elsewhere.
For application deadlines, please contact the International Studies Office.
NB. As per the University Restriction on All Student International Travel due to COVID19, all student travel to/from, and activities at, international destinations for University-related purposes is restricted through May 31, 2021 (the date could be extended further into 2021 by University Leadership). For the full text of the Restriction, see ISO Travel Alerts & Warnings; the COVID Considerations page explains how the ISO is approaching education abroad planning in light of current conditions.
For updates, please visit the ISO's Education Abroad website
Choosing a Program
Students may wish to consider the UVA in Lyon's summer program, or its semester and academic year program. Other excellent programs are those organized by accredited American colleges. These, as a rule, surpass private agency offerings in economy, administrative responsibility, and the quality and diversity of their course offerings. Highly-rated collegiate programs, other than those sponsored by the University of Virginia, include those of Hamilton, Sweet Briar, Middlebury, and Bryn Mawr.
The French-language IFE - Field Study and Internship Programs in Paris, Strasbourg or Brussels (also known as “Internships in Francophone Europe”) is another excellent choice for highly motivated students who wish to spend a semester in one of these cities. Accepted students complete an internship aligned with their academic interests and designed in consultation with IFE staff. The Paris and Brussels programs are accredited through Franklin and Marshall College and the Strasbourg program through the BCA Consortium. The UVA Department of French has approved this program for 12 transfer credits toward a major in French.
Click here to see student profiles that provide further information on the range of internships our UVA students have pursued through the IFE program.
Students should consult a departmental Study-Abroad Advisor about the factors involved in choosing a program and then seek further details by scheduling an appointment with an Education Abroad Advisor in the International Studies Office and visiting the Study Abroad Library on the second floor of Minor Hall. Student evaluations of programs are an excellent resource and program brochures provide specific information concerning entrance requirements, academic calendars, courses, language(s) of instruction, housing arrangements, travel opportunities, costs, and availability of financial aid (in the form of scholarships, grants, and loans). Since costs fluctuate in response to inflation as well as the shifting value of the dollar, and different programs interpret the term "comprehensive fee" in radically different ways, students must exercise caution in estimating expenses. The International Studies Office has a cost estimate worksheet, at www.studyabroad.virginia.edu, to help students plan for expenses.
Drawing Up a Course of Study
Once admitted to a program, students make a tentative selection of courses they plan to take based on the following principles:
1. For graduation or major credit, a course taken abroad may not duplicate the course already completed at or accepted for transfer credit by the University of Virginia. If, for example, a student has already taken FREN 3043 (“Literature of the Nineteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-First Century”) or its equivalent, a foreign-program course designated "Survey of 19th and 20th Century" should be avoided. However, the student could take another course on 19th century French literature if the content were markedly different or a survey of either 19th or 20th century literature. Please note that in such cases, the student must bring back clear documentation to demonstrate that the foreign-program course did not duplicate the content of the previous course in order to obtain credit for it.
2. Credit should be awarded in units of at least three semester hours to prevent a deficiency on application for the B. A. degree.
3. Courses selected to satisfy departmental requirements must fall under the category of French studies (courses covering the language, literature, and cultures of the French-speaking world). Transfer credit is approved for courses conducted in French, within the disciplinary realm of French Studies (usually defined in the US as language, linguistics, and the literatures and cultures of the French-Speaking world). Students may receive up to three FREN credits for courses related to other majors and disciplines, if those courses involve lectures, reading, writing, and discussion in French, and thus prepare students to use French for specific purposes and careers. Students may petition the Director of Undergraduate Programs to receive FREN credit for an additional three credits in fields beyond what is traditionally offered in French departments, but approval will not necessarily be granted. Please note that courses cannot count toward two majors/minors at once. We encourage interdisciplinary work and professional preparation in French and recognize the high level of ability in French that is needed to take such courses. To reap the exponential benefits of the continuous study of French, we also highly encourage all students who study abroad to enroll in French classes upon their return to UVA, even if they have completed their major/minor requirements.
4. Internships in France or a Francophone country may be eligible for major and minor credit. Students can earn up to 12 hours of major/minor credit through the IFE program, within the hour limits already established for the transfer of foreign study credit. Some credit may be available for other internships, if a significant writing project accompanies the internship. Interested students should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUPfirstname.lastname@example.org) as well as the International Studies office if they are planning an academic field study or internship experience.
5. Study Abroad Equivalencies
(using the European Credit Transfer System)
10 ECTS would be 5.0 credit hours
5 ECTS would be 2.5 credit hours
4 ECTS would be 2.0 credit hours
|Above 18 out of 20||Exceptional||Pass||A+|
|16 to 18 out of 20||Very Good||Pass||A|
|14 to 15 out of 20||Good||Pass||A-|
|11 to 13 out of 20||Good Enough||Pass||B|
|9 to 10 out of 20||Fair||Pass||C|
|Under 9 out of 20||Fail||Fall||F|
NB: Grades do not transfer, only credit does. So the grade equivalencies are only used to determine that you did well enough for UVA to count your course for transfer credit. For the major, only courses that are graded at “C” or above count. So you need to have “9” in the French system for a course to count toward the French major at UVA.
Courses eligible for French major and minor credit should focus on the language, literature, and/or cultures of the French-speaking world. These courses may draw on a variety of academic disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Students studying abroad are encouraged to keep all syllabi, reading lists, term papers, etc. for French studies courses they would like to count towards a French major or minor.
To request to transfer credit from study abroad so that it will count towards the French major at UVA, students should print, complete, and bring to the French Department office the
College of Arts and Sciences Study Abroad Course Approval Form, which can be found in your application. When possible, this form should be accompanied by complete course descriptions for the courses you wish approved. Once the Department has approved your request, you should take this form to the Transfer Credit Evaluator in Monroe Hall, and file it with her prior to departing for your study abroad. Click here to learn more about transfer credit and the course approval process.
Study abroad scholarships
There are many funding opportunities available for students wishing to study abroad. Some grants and scholarships, including the Lyon Program scholarship and the Robert Denommé Study Abroad scholarship, are specifically designated to support students wishing to study in France or in another French-speaking country. For more scholarships, visit the ISO Scholarships page.
Your first step in preparing to study abroad is to complete the International Studies Office’s online Education Abroad Workshop, which gives you the big picture of how study abroad works at UVA, prompts you to consider your academic and personal goals, and explains how financial aid works when you study abroad, how to transfer credit back to UVA, how to schedule an appointment with an advisor, and many other important topics.
Once you complete the workshop, schedule an appointment with an Education Abroad Advisor and open an application to study abroad.
Note that students who plan to study abroad must meet the University’s eligibility requirements and have their courses pre-approved by their department.
Please visit www.studyabroad.virginia.edu for more information.