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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: French Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0
Minimum Class Standing: Junior Pre-requisite Subjects: 4-5 semesters of college-level French, At least one upper level (4000 level) French course
Field of Study: Advertising, Applied Physiology and Sport Management, Art, Biological Sciences, Business, Communication Studies, Economics, Education, Engineering, Ethnic Studies, History, Human Rights, International Studies, Internship Abroad, Journalism, Language: French, Markets and Culture, Math/ Statistics, Music, Philosophy, Photography, Physics, Political Science, Religious Studies, Sociology, Theatre, Women and Gender Studies Faculty Liaison: Paola Buckely,
Program Contact: Timothy Carlson, SMU Abroad Application Cycle: August 15-October 1 for Spring, November 15-March 1 for Fall
Program Description:

The Paris Field Study and Internship Program



IFE is a European not-for-profit institute founded in 1988 committed to trans-Atlantic understanding through exploration of European perspectives. IFE provides language-based, credit-bearing education abroad programming to US colleges and universities.

IFE's Field Study and Internship programs in Andalucía, Asturias, Strasbourg, Paris, and Brussels are built around in-depth field experience and guided research, for which students prepare through classroom instruction and inter-cultural training.


-The City-

Paris is the exception to France; it identifies as different from “les provinces” while embodying much of what is so attractive and exasperating about French society. High-strung and fast-paced, Paris is a one-of-a-kind theater of the individual and the collective. A bastion of the Republic and a magnet for diversity, the city fascinates observers, confounds pundits and even its critics are not united.

There is no end to the diversity of opportunities in the Paris region, whether in science, culture, business, politics, international affairs, administration or creative fields of every sort. For IFE students in Paris, this wealth of activity serves as a doorway into the French capital, and European life.


-Program Overview-

The Paris Field Study and Internship program takes place in both the fall and spring, over the course of an 18 week semester. The first 5 weeks are spent in intensive interdisciplinary courses taught by local university professors at the IFE center, followed by a 12-week full-time internship in the student’s field. As part of the internship, students conduct field research, delving into an issue and producing a 30-page independent study. Placements can be found for any discipline.

-Program in Detail-

Weeks 1-5: Preparation

All students take part in 2 interdisciplinary courses covering the politics, history, culture, and the sociology of France. There are also site visits around the city, and a discussion-based course focused on oral expression. During this period students become comfortable navigating the city, the culture, and especially the language.


I. The Foundations of French Politics, Policies and Institutions, Yesterday and Today
II. Structure, Transformation and Issues in French Society: A socio-cultural approach

Week 6 : Travel Break

Students have a week to relax and explore the city, the surrounding countryside, and visit the rest of Europe, which is easily accessible by train, bus, and air travel.

Weeks 7-18 : The Internship Period

The Internship Placement
The core of the semester is a full-time internship where students improve their language skills and cultural expertise, while gaining insight into French and European society. IFE works closely with each student – and with a broad variety of organization types -- to ensure a productive fit between the intern’s objectives, the work environment, and the subject matter of the internship.


The independent field research project
IFE students engage even further with their individually-tailored internship through a guided research project using primary sources to examine an important issue in the work of their host organization. Individual advising and instruction in methodology are an integral part of this project.

The European Seminar
One night a week students leave their internships early to take a seminar on the history, institutions, and contemporary issues of Europe and the EU entitled: 'Towards a European society'.

-Practical Information-

Housing: IFE finds French-speaking housing for students, either with homestay families, or residences for student and young professional called foyers. Housing options with full, partial, or no meals are available, and are priced accordingly.

IFE Center: IFE's Paris center is located just off the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, a five minute walk east from the Place de la Bastille, on the edge between Paris's 11th and 12th arrondissements. A microcosm of Paris, the teeming "Faubourg" is home to a broad variety of businesses and people.

Language Level: The program is entirely French-speaking. Students should have taken 5 semesters of college-level French, or the equivalent. They should be comfortable taking a topical course taught in French.

Suggested Academic Credit:


I. The Foundations of French Politics, Policies and Institutions, Yesterday and Today..................4
II. Structure, Transformation and Issues in French Society: A socio-cultural approach.................4
III. Towards a European Society ....................................................................................................2
V. Independent Study / Guided Field Research..............................................................................7



The Paris Field Study and Internship Program


Traditionally one of the cultural and political centers of Europe, more recently – with Germany – the "motor" of European integration, France remains, for all of that, a solo voice in the choir of Europe. Truly an exception and not only in its own eyes. "France" is an act of cultural freedom, a perpetual construction of the common weal, a one-of-its-kind theater of the individual and the collective. A magnet for diversity and a bastion of the idea of the Republic. It attracts and exasperates participants, fascinates observers and confounds pundits. French and non-French alike. The game is often subtle, sometimes raucous, always complex.

The core objective for all students in the Paris Field Study and Internship Program, besides fluency in French, is to come to a player's understanding of the French game, to grasp the foundations of both the attraction and the exasperation of the "Hexagon". Like any other real resident.

Paris as international capital needs no introduction. As the capital of a (still) centralized State and territory and one of the power points of Europe, there is no end to the diversity of activity in the Paris region, whether in science, culture, enterprises, politics, international affairs, administration or creativity of every sort. For IFE in Paris, this astoundingly varied hum of activity serves as so many doorways through the tourist looking glass into the center of the center of France.


Internship Possibilities

The Paris region concentrates significant levels of activity in a boggling diversity of spheres. Besides being the administrative, financial and economic center of France, it is also a capital of scientific research, a capital of cultural activity and creation, as well as a capital of social and political movements for France and beyond.

There is not room here for a representative list of all that students have done and can do through the Paris Field Study and Internship Program. Moreover, IFE hesitates to publish lists of placements, which however long and impressive can forge the mistaken notion that placement at IFE is a list-driven process. Instead, read more here:

Academic Courses

In the Paris program the five-week preparatory session is devoted to a multidisciplinary cross-section of politico-historical, institutional, social and geographical France. Through lecture, discussion, workshops and site visits, this two-course session provides students with the core notions, central principles and social synthesis needed for any understanding of France today. Students become familiar with the actors, the acronyms, the social problems, the political stakes, the cultural movements, the demographic profile and the territorial diversity of France. As a result of this preparation students become interns ready to take their place, and take part in the work of their host organization. 

During the internship period, students work with their research advisor (IFE faculty member) on a weekly basis to define, outline and produce their independent research project which consists of a 25-30 page research paper on a topic related to their internship experience.

(Note: Students can choose to apply their field study/internship experience to an Engaged Learning project)


Two courses comprise the Preparatory Session

- Course I - The Foundations of French Politics, Policies and Institutions, Yesterday and Today

- Course II - Structure, Transformation and Issues in French Society: A socio-cultural approach

During the internship period

- Course III - Towards a European society

Credit would be assigned as follows:
The Foundations of French Politics, Policies and Institutions, Yesterday and Today:
FRENCH 4375 (required course for French majors)- 3 credits
Structure, Transformation and Issues in French Society: A socio-cultural approach- 3 credits
Towards a European Society- 3 credits
Internship: FRENCH 4385- 3 credits
Independent study/research- 3 credits

(Note: Students can request elective credit for: 1) Structure, Transformation and Issues in French Society: A socio-cultural approach- Sociology and 2) Towards a European Society- International Relations)

Please visit the IFE website ( for detailed course syllabi.



There is no housing plan integral to the IFE program. IFE will, however:

- Arrange family housing for students who wish that type of housing, within the limits of available situations;
- Arrange housing in one of several independent student residences or foyers on behalf of students.

Please note: IFE strongly encourages students to stay in a foyer as they do not offer many home-stay options.

Once arranged, this type of housing will not be changed by IFE, and any modifications except in the case of force majeure must be handled by the student, including any additional costs incurred;

- Help students who wish to rent a studio or apartment by furnishing internet sites and other resources for this search, and possibly contacting landlords on the student's behalf.

NB: In all cases it is the student and NOT IFE who conducts the search for rental housing. 
Students may of course arrange their own housing. It may be possible for students to reserve a room in a foyer for one month while they look for housing.

For housing descriptions, click here: 


More Details

Please visit and for complete program information including application deadlines, session dates, semester calendar, and program-related costs.




Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2020 10/01/2019 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.