Study Abroad for French Majors

The French and Italian Department strongly urges its students to complete some portion of their undergraduate study abroad through the University’s Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) in France or French-speaking Senegal. Living and studying in France or Senegal will expand your horizons, improve your critical thinking, increase your independence and better prepare you for a career in an increasingly internationally competitive world.

Why study abroad?

Being a French major, you have already shown that you have international interests. Why not take that interest a step further and have a transformative and life-enriching experience? Go live in France, enroll at a French university and experience French language and culture firsthand. Or go live in the West African nation of Senegal, stay with a local family and advance your French language skills. Some students combine a semester in Senegal with a semester in France.

Improve your knowledge of the language you have already studied by using it for everyday life as well as in school. Learn how to better express your thoughts on complex topics and follow your interests in French. Participate more fully in national and international politics and events. Discover greater access to French films, music, and the visual and dramatic arts.

French majors who study abroad find that a term, or better yet, a full year abroad not only is critical for their language fluency, but that the experience of adapting to another academic and cultural world expands your self-understanding and gives you a keener sense of the political, cultural, and social differences in today’s world.

The intellectual and personal growth you experience during your time abroad will serve you well throughout your life. Participating in UCEAP provides further advantages when it comes to the challenges of graduate school and the competitive job market.

When should I study abroad?

While it is possible for students to go abroad at almost any point in your academic career, the particular year, semester or quarter that you study abroad depends on what courses you plan to take. Students wanting to fulfill upper-division major requirements should, in most cases, go abroad in your junior or senior year. Students interested in language and culture programs, or in fulfilling major preparation and General Education requirements, can participate as early as your sophomore year.

PLAN AHEAD! Applications are typically due six months to a year prior to the program’s start date and some programs have academic or language prerequisites that must be satisfied in advance. Please check the EAP website for application deadlines:

Where should I study abroad?

Go to France or Senegal, of course! And go for a full academic year if possible. EAP offers a variety of year-long and short-term programs in multiple locations in France, including:

Immersion Programs – Live and study with French students. These are the best programs for French majors.

  • University of Bordeaux (fall, spring, year) – Study in a historic city full of art, culture, and extraordinary 18th-century architecture with easy access to nearby beaches and wine regions.
  • University of Lyon (fall, year) – Live in student-friendly, food capital, with glaciers and warm river valleys, mountains and lakes, some of the most beautiful medieval villages, and the best skiing in the world nearby.

Language and Culture – consider extending to immersion after spending a term working on your French.

Special Focus Programs

  • Social Justice and Activism, UC Center in Paris (fall) - Courses in English on French media, art, history, theater, and politics. Includes French language study at beginning to intermediate levels.
  • Political Science, Sciences Po, Paris (fall, spring, year) - Courses on French and European politics, history, political economy and international relations (in English or French) for students with a strong upper division background in political science or related field.
  • Political Science, Sciences Po Reims (fall, psring, year) - Social science courses in English or French.
  • Explore Senegal, Senegal (fall) – Get outside of your comfort zone and go to Africa! Explore French-speaking West Africa through coursework, homestays, internships and community service. Special tracks for development studies or language & culture are available.

What language level am I?

If you took courses in high school, you should take the French placement exam through the French department. If you took the French Language & culture AP exam, your level depends on your score:

AP Exam




  Lang & Cult



  French 4

  Lang & Cult



  French 5

  Lang & Cult



  French 6

What classes should I take?

All EAP coursework is automatically credited towards the unit requirement for your degree. Depending on your course selection, you may fulfill major or GE requirements as well. Here is a list of how UCEAP language courses in France will transfer to fulfill specific course requirements for the French major and minor at UCSB.

The French Department strongly encourages its students to take all of their courses abroad in French. In addition to language classes, we recommend that students consider taking courses on French literature, culture, and society. If you are a French major, you can use up to 24 upper-division units taken abroad towards your major. If you plan to minor in French, you can use a maximum of 8 upper-division units towards the minor.

All UCSB students must complete a minimum of 20 upper-division major units (or 12 upper-division minor units) in residence at UCSB along with other residence requirements. Consult an advisor in the College of Letters & Science for more information.

The undergraduate staff and faculty advisors will work individually with each student to ensure the most effective use of courses taken abroad for major requirements. Internships, independent study and field work completed abroad can be used for major requirements upon approval of the department.

How do I get started?

  • Stop by the UCSB EAP office at 2431 South Hall.
  • Go the UCSB EAP website, Getting Started.
  • Consult the UCEAP website for program details.  
  • Go see your undergraduate advisor. 

Your Return to Campus 

If you go abroad in your junior year, you should strongly consider doing a senior honors thesis based on the coursework and intellectual interests you developed abroad. This provides an ideal way of integrating time abroad with the completion of the French major. For requirements for the senior honors thesis, please check the department web site.

If you take courses abroad for which you wish to get credit towards your major or minor, you MUST keep your syllabi, course materials, essays and exams to support your petition for major credit after your return. You will automatically earn UC credit for all classes successfully completed on UCEAP, just not necessarily credit within the department.

French and Italian Department 
5206 Phelps Hall 
University of California, Santa Barbara 
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4140 
Phone: (805) 893-3111