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FRANCE - ISEP Lille III (Universite Charles de Gaulle)

Lille is perfectly situated for the avid traveler. Only 30 minutes from Brussels, students can also reach Paris in an hour and London in an hour and 25 minutes. Travel is convenient thanks to Lille’s status as an international railway hub. The Université de Lille has an extensive English department which offers courses for students hoping to take a combination of courses taught in English and French. Lille also offers a tandem course for credit in which students have the opportunity for intercultural exchange through a French speaking partner.

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 University of Charles de Gaulle 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 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 Requirement: Depending on program option, students must have 3-5 semesters of college-level French.  See “Academics” for more information.
  • 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).


One hour away from Paris by train, Lille is strategically located between Brussels (40 mins), London (1h40), Luxembourg, Amsterdam, and Dusseldorf. Lille Métropole (Lille and neighboring cities) is an urban area of more than 1.7 million inhabitants. Located near the Dutch-speaking Belgian border, Lille was originally part of Flanders and still retains a Flemish atmosphere.

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


Lille III is a traditional Humanities university with reputed graduate schools and research teams. It also offers more contemporary areas of study and vocational courses. 

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.

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.


Option 1: Full Year or semester enrollment in regular university courses taught in French 
A minimum of 4-5 semesters of university-level French or the equivalent must be completed prior to program. Course Catalogs:
Humanities (Arts, French Literature, Philosophy, Linguistics, Ancient Languages and Cultures)
English (Literature, History and Linguistics of the English-Speaking World)
Media Studies
Information and Communication Sciences

Please click on the link “Tips for Finding Courses” and follow the instructions provided.

Option 2: Full year or Fall semester enrollment in Philosophy and English Studies Program in English

Students with a beginner to intermediate French level (A2 Level) have the opportunity to take courses in English from the MA philosophy department (Philosophy majors only) as well as the English language and literature department (all students). Two French as a foreign language courses are offered every semester: an intensive immersion course (one week) upon arrival, and an extensive 24 hour course over the semester (2h/week). Three different levels are available depending on the student’s proficiency in French.

English Programs are offered in the following departments:

Masters of Contemporary Philosophy: 

Find detailed information on the M2 in Contemporary Philosophy program.
While this is a master’s level program, upper-level undergraduate students with a background in philosophy may take courses from this program. 

Department of English Studies:

This department offers a wide variety of culture and linguistics courses for students in English. Courses include but are not limited to: Women on Page & Screen; Discovering British Newspapers; Renaissance, Revolution, and Restoration; and more. Many of the courses designed to improve non-native English speaking skills are closed to native-English speakers, so students should pay particular attention to course availability. Translation classes are also open to students with a minimum B2 proficiency in both French and English. You can locate more courses and program information through the Department of English Studies.

You can also use the Guide des études

The department of English Studies also offers master’s level seminars in literature, history and culture, for a higher number of credits. These classes are popular among international students. Use the Guide des Etudes tab for Etudes anglo-américaines and Etudes anglo-irlandaises.

Department of Applied Foreign Languages:

This department offers some courses in business English as well as business translation courses, open to students with a minimum B2 proficiency in both French and English. Students can locate more courses and program information here.

Course Description

Masters of Contemporary Philosophy: 
Find detailed information on the M2 in Contemporary Philosophy program.

Department of English Studies: 
Students can locate more courses and program information here - click on the Guide des Etudes tab

Department of Applied Foreign Languages:
Students can locate more courses and program information here - click on the Guide des Etudes tab

Website for Course Availability

For additional courses in English click here
Then choose Licence 1, Licence 2, or Licence 3 for course descriptions.


Popular ways to improve your French - for both program options - include translation and comparative grammar classes (for credit) and “tandem”, a course based on intercultural communication and language exchange with a French-speaking student (for credit). Students can also register at the self-monitored Language Resources Center.


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.


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.

At the end of the exchange, the faculté will award you a final average. The grades you receive from the faculté are not contestable. The only way to modify a bad grade is to do supplementary work, the grade for which will be averaged with the bad one.

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

Student Life

The Universite de Lille III (23,000 students) is an offshoot of the former Faculty of Humanities in Douai, founded in 1562. It is the only French campus that boasts a movie theatre. It also features an art gallery and a theatre. The university sports center proposes 27 various courses open to ISEP students. The central library houses 500,000 volumes; there are also 24 department and research libraries. The Villeneuve d’Ascq campus is 10 minutes from downtown Lille by subway. 


ISEP students will follow an intensive ten-day language program before the beginning of each semester, to be followed by French support courses throughout the semester. Orientation will take place during this period, as well as registration and meetings with a coordinator and with staff from various departments. A French student and International Office staff member will be available for all practical problems. 


Host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet


Ulysse Lille 3 is an on-campus association with the specific goal to welcome exchange students, help them discover French culture, and to help them integrate into everyday life in France. The association organizes trips across Europe and various group activities. It also runs Café Ulysse where students can meet up with friends and interact with other students. Previous students have called the café their second home while in Lille.

Housing and Meals

Students are housed in single-occupancy rooms in university residences with a private bathroom. A stipend is provided for meals, which are available at the cafeterias on campus or in town. Fixed-rate meal tickets are valid in all university-run cafeterias.

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 ISEP Exchange includes orientation, on-site director, college fees, insurance, housing, and an 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