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FRANCE - ISEP Institut dEtudes Politiques de Rennes in English

Created in 1991, the Rennes Institut d’Etudes Politiques (IEP) belongs to the Sciences Po group of nine higher education establishments in France. Although the Rennes IEP is officially attached to the Universite de Rennes 1, it is administratively and pedagogically independent. Fine professors as well as guest lecturers, top civil servants, and heads of industry teach the carefully selected group of 1,100 IEP students. The IEP takes a pluri-disciplinary approach to the academic program to provide a solid grounding in general culture, allowing students to choose from a wide range of professions upon graduation. Study abroad and internships are also integral elements of the program.

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. 

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 Rennes Institut d’Etudes Politiques 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.  

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).


Rennes, the capital of Brittany, is a lively city with 300,000 inhabitants (including the main suburbs). The architecture shows various aspects in connection with the history of the city: medieval, 18th century, and modern style. Rennes also has a thriving automobile industry and is a center for computing and telecommunications research and development. It is also a cultural capital and the city has an opera, concert halls, and theaters. In addition, it hosts an annual film festival and internationally known rock festival. The student population of the city is around 60,000. 

Its central position in Brittany allows easy access to the beaches and places of interest on the north coast (Le Mont Saint Michel and Saint Malo are less than an hour’s drive away) as well as the Atlantic coast. Brittany is also only a two hours’ ride from Paris on the TGV, a high-speed train.

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


ISEP students are eligible for the Certificat d’Etudes Politiques after completing the course requirements during the exchange period (semester or year). Conference de methode in the second and final years are not available to ISEP participants. 

Though it is likely that professors will be more formal, these programs were designed with US students in mind. Therefore, there will be more options for assessment beyond an end-of-term exam, and attendance/participation is often factored into the grade.

Students typically enroll in 5-7 classes per term which average to 11-15 hours in class per week. A term runs for 12 weeks. 

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 the 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.


Sciences Po Rennes proposes a program for international students who have little or no prior knowledge of French. This program offers a general introduction to the political, social, and cultural landscapes of France and Europe, and examines important issues and debates in France today; all classes are taught in English. French language courses offered for 4 hours per week.  Students who complete the program receive either a diploma or certificate in Political Studies.  More information about the English program can be found here.



IEP Rennes Course Descriptions



Students enroll in five mandatory courses plus an additional optional elective each semester. Each course is six ECTS credits. Students with the appropriate French language level can also enroll in one course taught in French. 

Examples of courses include but are not limited to: 

  • French as a Foreign Language
  • Public Sphere & Media Analysis
  • European Union Studies
  • Challenges of Metropolises 
  • International Policy
  • French Politics 
  • Crisis Management and Policy Making

For a full list of program content, please use the following link: 

Sciences Po English Program 

Website for Course Availability


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

Student Life


The first day of orientation at IEP-Rennes is dedicated to general information (introduction breakfast, registering, etc). The following two weeks, students will have intensive French classes in the morning. The afternoons are free in order to complete the various administrative tasks with the help of the student society ZEPHYR. ZEPHYR also organizes nights out or weekends around Brittany.

IEP-Rennes will arrange for students to be picked up on arrival at the train station or airport providing the student contacts the ISEP Coordinator with any pickup details at least 2 weeks before his/her arrival as well as the day prior to his/her arrival. 

Host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet


The Institute is also a place where students enjoy a lively and productive social life. A host of extracurricular associations are open to students and contribute greatly towards life here at the IEP.

  • Articule : Cultural association, including music and theatre
  • Cercle des étudiants: The Student Association
  • Bureau des sports: Sports Association
  • Elykya: African Society
  • In vino veritas: Wine and Cheese Appreciation Society
  • Photos: Photography Society
  • Qui veut durable
  • Ysegoria – Association organizing conferences throughout the year
  • Zephyr – Association for foreign students


At the heart of student life here at the IEP is the coffee foyer (complete with piano!) which is used to relax in by staff and students alike. There is the annual ‘inter-IEP’ sports competition, the annual ball organized by the Students Association and the numerous soirees and parties. There is however much more to student life in Rennes. The essence of student life here is to live in a town whose motto is “Live with intelligence” which gives some idea of the importance placed on culture, and efforts to live harmoniously. Rennes is regularly voted the pleasantest French city for students to live in.

Housing and Meals

ISEP students live in residence halls in single-occupancy rooms with a private bathroom and receive a monthly meal stipend. 

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 to IEP 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 February 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