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Off-Campus Study

ISEP at Aix-Marseille Université - Regular University Courses in French

Aix-en-Provence is a small, classically Provencal town, famous for being home to Paul Cézanne and Émile Zola. Students can take courses at the University taught in French or English in business, political science, law, and international relations. Students wishing to take courses in the sciences travel to the Marseille campus. For those who want to focus on French language and culture, the Service Universitaire du Français Langue Étrangère (SUFLE) provides courses starting at the beginner level.

This program would be suitable for students that are ready to be abroad, but would still like some of the academic services that a U.S. college provides.  It is a good choice for someone that is a world traveler OR has never left their hometown.

Learn more about the Aix-Marseille University here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Program Type



Aix-en-Provence, France

Languages of Instruction

French - regular courses 4-5 semesters of French

Program Dates

Fall 2018: September to December

Spring 2019: January to June

All dates are tentative and may change.  ISEP will alert all accepted students of final dates.


Early departure for fall term may be possible. Please contact the ISEP coordinator of the host country for more information.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have second-semester sophomore status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75.  
  • Language requirement for enrollment in regular courses: 4-5 semesters of French at the college level. 


Students applying to ISEP must apply for an Exchange option (in any country) as a first choice but may apply to a Direct option as a back-up.  Direct options may have an additional cost.

Chance of placement for US students on Exchange is generally Good.  No Direct option is available for this university.


Aix-Marseille Université is situated on two main campuses in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille. The towns are 30 km apart and are connected by a shuttle service (approx. a 20 minutes’ bus ride). These two lively towns are one hour by plane and three hours by TGV train from Paris. 

Aix-en-Provence is famous for its historical and cultural heritage. The campus is located downtown. Marseille is the second largest city in France and a major European center. The campus is located north of town and it is approximately a 20 minutes’ tube or bus ride to the town center or sea front.


Founded in 1409, Aix-Marseille is a multidisciplinary university offering a wide range of studies and more than 200 degrees. Aix-Marseille enrolls 72,000 students including 10,000 international students.

French universities operate in ways that are quite different from the system with which you are familiar. Understanding the differences will help you plan your program of study in France, use your time effectively while you are there and return with transferable credits. French students follow a highly structured curriculum specific to the degree they are pursuing from day one at the university. They do not take “liberal arts” or general education requirements for 2 years before focusing on a major or area of study as most U.S. students do. At the end of each year, they must pass a set of required exams before they can move on to the next year’s program. 

Fields of study recommended at this institution include business, economics, French as a foreign language, international relations, and law. The Institut d’Études Politiques (IEP) offers several courses in English, along with French language for international students.

Students may not enroll in SUFLE at the same time as regular university courses. Additionally, students may only register in one academic department.

Students typically enroll in 5 courses for 15-20 hours of class per week. A term runs for 12 weeks.  Lake Forest students should expect to take 30 ECTS credits per semester to earn the equivalent of 4 Lake Forest credits.

Please review the country’s handbook for more information on the education system.


Full year or semester enrollment in regular university courses 
Aix-en-Provence Campus
Economics, Law, Political Science, Business (IAE Aix Graduate School of Management EQUIS accredited)   A minimum of 4-5 semesters of university-level French or its equivalent must be completed prior to the program. Courses can be found here. 

Pre-session offered: A one-month pre-session, intensive French course is offered through the Service Universitaire du Français Langue Étrangère in June, July, or September for an additional fee for all levels.



In the fall semester only, qualified upper-level undergraduate students can take a full program of economics courses in English. Courses offered are listed here under “Semester S5.”  The Institut d’Études Politiques (IEP) offers several courses in English, along with French language for international students.

Course Approvals

Check to see if your department has pre-approved courses here. If not, don’t worry. You can work with your advisor.




2014-15 SM1 Course Information for IEP 
2014-15 SM2 Course Information for IEP 

Course Description

For course information regarding courses from Sciences Po-Aix, please use the following links: 

SM1 Course List
SM1 Course Descriptions
SM2 Course List
SM2 Course Descriptions

For all other courses information at Aix-Marseille, please use the following link: Course Catalogue


Website for Course Availability



Registration (inscription) is the process of enrollment into the university; you will fill out many forms and hand in several passport-size photos in order to receive the various university cards signifying your enrollment.

Course Selection: 
As an exchange student, you have greater flexibility in choosing courses than French students do. You do not need to take a complete package of courses at one level. However, if you focus on courses in one or two departments, you will find it easier to put together a schedule, your program of studies will be more cohesive, and you will have a better chance of getting to know French students because you will be seeing the same group on a regular basis.

Selection of courses is done during registration. You should expect to have to go to each building that houses the faculté (department) of the course you wish to take, find the administrative office, ask for a course listing and sign up for the desired course. Students should be aware that the registration process can take several days. French universities are not as “service-oriented” as those in the United States and there are many students for few administrators. Ask questions of your ISEP host coordinator if you have trouble registering. Also, the add-drop process is very informal. You may want to observe several classes before making your final selection and to make sure that you will be able to follow the course and fulfill all course requirements. Remember to consult about any changes in your course selections with your host and home coordinators and advisors. Be sure to keep track of your courses, including course titles, hours, professors, and assignments for after your exchange. In all cases, you must verify all of your course information with your host coordinator to ensure that you have enrolled properly.

The actual number of hours in a class varies according to the department or subject and the amount of work expected of students outside of class. Courses usually meet 1-2 hours each week, meaning you will probably be taking a higher number of courses than at home. Most current ISEP students in France are taking 12-15 units per semester.

For information on what academic life is like in France, please click here

Student Life


The International Relations Office will establish links with academic tutors. Individual interviews with the person responsible for the international relations in each department is planned upon the student’s arrival. Students will receive assistance in opening a bank account and requesting a housing allowance (CAF) and their residence permit. Orientation also includes a tour of campus and of local shops and is when students will purchase a bus pass. 


The students will be welcomed by the International Relations Office. Students are strongly encouraged to arrive during the week and during office hours. An arrival form will be sent to every student prior to their departure. It should be completed and sent back to the host institution before the required deadline so that arrangements can be made to meet the arriving student at the airport or at Aix-en-Provence TGV station.


International students have many opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities as there are more than 50 student organizations available in Aix and Marseille. 

A special program for international students, the “Buddy program” gives the opportunity to students to be matched with a French student from Aix-Marseille Université before departure. The partner then offers friendship, advice on social activities, and academic guidance.

The welcome party for International students is followed by a day trip to a famous place (St Tropez, Arles etc.)

Both Aix-en-Provence and Marseille offer many cultural activities through their theaters, cinemas, music and film festivals etc.

Housing and Meals

ISEP students live in single-occupancy rooms in residence halls and receive a stipend for meals. Halls of residence are mixed.

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee.  The program fee for a semester with the ISEP Exchange includes orientation, on-site director, college fees, housing, and the equivalent of 19/meals per week.  

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2018/Spring 2019 semester:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost


College Deposit (credit)


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


ISEP Fee due on Stage 2 Application



College Deposit due on Acceptance (non-refundable, but shows as credit on bill for off-campus term)


ISEP-required health and repatriation insurance ($90/mo estimated)

*Your host country may require additional national insurance


Additional Meals


Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, residence permits, national insurance, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance, if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)


Total Out-of-Pocket Expenses




 Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of January 2018. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

Do check your student account on My.Lakeforest for your aid awards, as much of this will go with you. If you want to compare your program to the cost of being on campus, those numbers can be found here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/tuition/fees.php

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.