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FRANCE - ISEP Aix-Marseille Université - Business Economics

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.

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.


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: 1-2 semesters of college-level French or 4 semesters of high school French may be approved 
  • The student must submit ISEP language proficiency report in the application, even if native speaker.

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 (see a financial section for more information).


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.

To learn more about the visa process for this country, please visit the ISEP Country Handbook for France. 


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.

France operates on the ECTS credit System. ECTS credits take into account the total student workload per class or degree program. 30 ECTS credits is equivalent to a full semester for French students. ISEP students may not be expected to take as many credits. 

In programs that utilize only ECTS credits:

Students must take 27 ECTS credits to earn 4 Lake Forest credits, or 20.5 ECTS credits to earn 3 Lake Forest credits.

Some programs in France use contact hours instead of (or in addition to) ECTS credits. In these cases, it is recommended to use the system that most benefits the students. One formula to determine number of Lake Forest credits is: (Weekly Hours in Class X Weeks in Term)/42

To earn 4 Lake Forest credits, students must take 168 total contact hours.

To Earn 3 Lake Forest credits, students must take 126 total contact hours.
The number of credits listed here is estimated, and GEO will work with you, your advisor, and the registrar to ensure you are earning enough credits to keep you on track for graduation.

This exciting new program allows students from various French language levels to design a program to fit their needs. Students can take a full course load in English alongside French as foreign language courses, or they can design a schedule with a combination of courses taught in French or English. A French language background, although highly recommended, is not required for students taking a full course load in English. A B2+ English language level is required. 

FEG (business and economics) - FALL SEMESTER ONLY. Upper-level students in international business can take a full course load of business courses in English during the Fall semester. Example courses include: 

  • International Trade & Finance
  • Managing Global Organizations
  • Marketing
  • European Competition Policy
  • Business Economics

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.


FEG Courses in English (See Semester 5 ONLY) 

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

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

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 2019/Spring 2020 programs:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost for Southern Hemisphere programs, as that starts a new academic year.


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


ISEP Confirmation and Application Fees


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

Note: Some countries require national insurance, which may be instead of, or in addition to, ISEP insurance. Check ISEP


Additional Meals


Estimated Airfare

*Students placed on ISEP Exchange may be eligible for up to $750 airfare award


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 March 2019. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

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

Deposits to other programs, if required, are paid by the student to the host program, and will appear as a credit on your study abroad term bill from the College.

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.  

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office