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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

ISEP at Université de Nice


Located on the French Riviera, Nice offers something for everyone. Whether you are interested in the beaches of the Cote d’Azur, the snow of the Alpes-Maritimes, the archeological ruins of the old city considered to be one of the oldest human settlements in the world or the well-known art museums, students will have plenty to explore. Cannes, Monte-Carlo, and Italy are just 20 miles away. The local international airport offers low-cost fares for travel through out Europe. The Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis offers an array of courses taught in French on eight campuses. 

Students studying in France must be independent, self-reliant, organized, and able to handle ambiguity in order to successfully immerse into the highly structured and often times bureaucratic French university system.

A student must be comfortable with advocating for themselves on campus and comfortable with the local language to thrive in this location. Student services and especially class registration may not be at all similar to what is done at the College and may be difficult for some students to adjust.

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

Program Type



Nice, France

Languages of Instruction

French - minimum of 5-6 semesters of college-level French or equivalent

Program Dates

Fall 2018: September to January

Spring 2019: January to May

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


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 junior 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 Requirements: A minimum of 5-6 semesters of university-level French of its equivalent must be completed prior to the program.
  • Students must submit ISEP language proficiency report in the application, even if native speaker.
  • Students should have taken at least one French literature or advanced composition course.


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.

ISEP Exchange chance of placement for US students is generally Good.


Nestled alongside the Baie Des Anges on the Mediterranean, Nice is dominated by its mountain top observatory which overlooks all eight campuses of the university. Flanked by beaches and close to Alpine skiing areas, the city has fine museums, year-round arts festivals, opera, theaters. Nice is half an hour by train from Cannes and Monaco.


Université de Nice, a comprehensive university, was founded in 1639; it traces its origins to the distinguished 17th-century college of law that became the modern university’s law faculty. Administrative and academic facilities include a computer center, general and subject-area libraries, language labs and audio-visual classrooms, and athletic facilities for swimming, tennis, gymnastics, and skiing. Sophia Antipolis is the largest tech hub in France located 20 km from Nice. It is known as the French Silicon Valley. Frequent bus service connects the campuses. 


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. 

In general, French students have to assume more responsibility for their own lives on campus than American students. They do not have as many campus support systems as American students, and they too may experience frustration when they first begin their studies! The amount of information you receive before you leave and during the first days or weeks of your stay abroad may seem overwhelming. However, if you review the material sent to you by ISEP and your host institution carefully, you will be ready to meet the challenges of adjusting to a different system and find your coordinator and professors more willing to help you than if you had not prepared yourself.

French professors are not as accessible as their American counterparts. Increasingly, however, professors do have office hours or may be available if you make an appointment. They will also be willing to answer questions and discuss problems before or immediately after class. It would be a good idea to introduce yourself to the professor at the beginning of the year, explaining that you are an international student. Do ask other students in class for advice or assistance if you do not understand something.

Please understand that the academic system is quite different. Classes are usually lecture-based, instead of discussion or group work. Classes are often much larger than those found at Lake Forest College. Grades are based heavily, at times almost entirely, on one end-of-term exam, though some courses will also offer a midterm.  Professors are often more formal than those in the United States.

All courses/modules may have prerequisites.  Some departments may have limitations on numbers of courses that can be taken within or outside it.  Be aware of these limitations.

Can review the country handbooks for ISEP here as well:



ISEP Placement info: http://www.isep.org/Coordinators/us_placement_notes_english.asp



Students typically enroll in 4-6 classes per term which average to 15 hours in class per week. A term runs for 14 weeks. Students must take 30 ECTS credits to earn the equivalent of 4 Lake Forest credits.

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.

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.


Student performance is assessed in two ways:

  • Short quizzes given throughout the semester allow instructors to check what their students have learned in each unit.
  • Examinations covering all of the material presented during the semester are given at the end of each semester, generally just before the February break and again in June, before the summer break.

The atmosphere at a French university may seem low-pressure, but be on your guard. Even if a class does not require regular assignments, you must keep up with the reading and attend classes. Final examinations are given at the end of each course. ISEP students should check with professors to determine when the exam will be given as most professors do not provide a syllabus at the beginning of a course. As a foreign student, you may not be required to take the final exam. You may be able to substitute written assignments for the exam. Check with the professor to find out whether you are expected to take the exam in order to get a grade (in many instances, the exam might be the only evidence that you have taken the class) or whether you can substitute other assignments. Taking a final does not automatically entitle you to a grade since you must pass your exams to receive a grade. Also, make sure to register for the exam in addition to taking it.

If you make any special arrangements with a professor, obtain the agreement in writing signed by both you and the professor. Provide a copy of the agreement to both your home and host ISEP coordinators and keep a copy for yourself. Without an agreement in writing, it is expected that you will take all final exams. Credit transfer is not guaranteed if you fail to take exams or provide written proof of other arrangements.



Please click on the link “Tips for Finding Courses

Please click on the link Courses

You can find Business courses offered in English here

A language course is offered in addition to regular classes during the academic year for 10-weeks for 90 mins a week. Students may take additional language and culture courses at the language institute for an additional fee for all levels.

Pre-session: A 4-week pre-session, intensive French language course is offered in both July and August for intermediate and advanced levels for an additional fee.


Course Approvals

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

Student Life

Université de Nice, a comprehensive university, was founded in 1639; it traces its origins to the distinguished 17th-century college of law that became the modern university’s law faculty. Administrative and academic facilities include a computer center, general and subject-area libraries, language labs and audio-visual classrooms, and athletic facilities for swimming, tennis, gymnastics, and skiing. Sophia Antipolis is the largest tech hub in France located 20 km from Nice. It is known as the French Silicon Valley. Frequent bus service connects the campuses. Total enrollment: 26,000



Students will receive housing information and instructions on health insurance prior to arrival through e-mail. Upon arrival, students will be introduced to the International Relations Staff. They will receive a briefing on the French style of education in addition to other administrative details including information on Social Security and medical assistance procedures, VISA procedures, administrative enrollment for courses, etc. Students may also be invited to a welcome lunch with the International Relations staff and ISEP coordinator. 


Host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet


Many student organizations exist in Nice proposing and organizing different activities. International students can easily find one that meets their interest. The ESN brings together international and French students for cultural exchange and social activities. Excursions to nearby locations are organized and you can visit Cannes, Monte Carlo, Italy, and many other interesting places… Students can also choose between numerous extra-curricular activities such as chorus, symphonic band, theater, dance, sports and so on. There are also a lot of cultural activities within the city of Nice: exhibitions, concerts, performances, and movies.

Housing and Meals

Students are housed in residence halls located on the different campuses as well as in other parts of the city. Each major campus center has its own restaurant-Universitaire. A meal stipend is also provided. Apartment living arrangements are also possible. 

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 program includes orientation, on-site director, college fees, housing, and a stipend to cover 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)

Note: Some countries require national insurance. Check ISEP


Additional Meals


Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, 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.