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Off-Campus Study

ISEP at Université Grenoble Alpes at Saint-Martin-d’Hères - Regular University Courses (French)



The Université Grenoble Alpes is a comprehensive university offering high-quality training in all academic disciplines and at all levels: undergraduate, master’s, doctorate as well as certificate programs and student exchanges.

The university and its students, faculty, and staff are deeply tied to the world around us. We believe these local and global ties make our research, our teaching, and our communities rich and strong, and you will see them reflected in all of our key activities. 

International relations have pride of place in our global university, which is open to the world and part of a diverse and growing network of partnerships. The UGA’s traditions – of innovation, of diversity, of excellence – are embodied in our expertise in education, creating a welcoming environment for international students, faculty, and staff and fostering the necessary skills in those who wish to broaden their horizons with an international experience. 

Innovation and excellence also enrich and sustain our world-class research, making the most of an exceptional scientific environment with strong ties to business and industry. Our community of researchers includes experts from all over the world, who work across disciplines in the service of knowledge and in the spirit of inquiry. 

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.  However, studying in France does require independence to be successful in the bureaucratic university system. 

Learn more about the Université Grenoble Alpes here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Program Type



Grenoble, France

Languages of Instruction

French - 4-5 semesters of college-level French must be completed prior to the program

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.


Early departure for fall term may be possible. Please contact the ISEP coordinator of the host country for more information.


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
  • A minimum of 4-5 semesters of university-level French or the equivalent must be completed prior to the program. 
  • 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.

Chance of placement for US students is generally Excellent.


Set in the heart of the Alps, Grenoble is one of the largest student towns in France with 60,000 students and four universities. Grenoble is a leading center for mountain sports and outdoor leisure activities year round. It is two hours from the French Riviera, Italy, and Switzerland, and three hours by train from Paris.

At the heart of the French Revolution, a pioneer in the hydroelectricity field, the town which created the first tourist information office in France, a leader in nanotechnologies, Grenoble has always been a pioneer in terms of science, tourism and social life. Stendhal was born in Grenoble, a town well-known for its various museums among which the Musée de Grenoble, famous for its paintings recounting the history of Western art from the 13th century to nowadays; for the first Maison de la Culture in France opened by André Malraux in 1968; for its multitude of music bands… Grenoble is a true cultural pool.

Reference sites



Grenoble - Saint Martin d’Hères, France Campus Website

Nestled in the heart of the Alps, residents of Grenoble enjoy an unparalleled quality of life. Each year, Grenoble is voted among the top three cities by French students who appreciate all that Grenoble has to offer. Easily accessible by bus, tram or bike, UGA’s main campus offers extensive student services and a rich student life.

Additional locations throughout the Grenoble region place students and faculty close to important European research facilities and innovative international businesses.

The university also offers affordable, dedicated housing for students and international researchers, a variety of cafés and restaurants and extensive athletic facilities. The UGA offers 35 club sports teams, in addition to mountain sports such as skiing, climbing, hiking, and snowboarding. Students, faculty, and staff can participate in swimming, rugby, archery, horseback-riding, volleyball and much more.

UGA has an active campus life, with more than 200 student organizations and over 400 cultural events each year. A student-run radio station ties the university to the city of Grenoble. UGA’s theater, Amphidice, organizes performances, films, lectures and art events for the University community. The student center, EVE, provides both a space for social interaction and specific funding for student initiatives.


As an ISEP student, you can build your own program by choosing your courses from a variety of fields. Use the notes for course searching to help you find which courses are available.

A French language course is offered in addition to regular classes during the first semester, at two contact hours per week. To enroll in the course, students must take the placement test at the beginning of the term. Faculties will provide more information to ISEP students during orientation. 

You can find more information about French language courses on the CUEF website: http://cuef.univ-grenoble-alpes.fr/

Select En langue étrangère on the Program website if you want to find English taught courses.

Click on Formations par composantes if you want to know the programs which are offered at each of our Faculties.

Click on Dimension internationale if you are looking for an international program.

Program Website

Website for Course Availability

Fields of Study

  • Foreign Languages and Literature:

    Catalan Language and Literature,  Chinese Language and Literature,  Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Other,  French Language and Literature,  German Language and Literature,  Interpretation and Translation,  Italian Language and Literature,  Japanese Language and Literature,  Portuguese Language and Literature,  Russian Language and Literature,  Spanish Language and Literature

  • Business:

    Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science,  Business Communications,  Business Management,  Economics,  Management Information Systems,  Marketing

  • History:

    Ancient Studies/Civilizations,  History, Other

  • Library and Information Science

    Archival Administration

  • Visual and Performing Arts:

    Art History,  Art Studies,  Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management,  Cinematography and Film Production,  Film Studies,  Music Pedagogy,  Musicology and Ethnomusicology

  • Psychology:

    Behavioral Sciences,  Counseling Psychology,  Developmental and Child Psychology,  Educational Psychology

  • Law/Criminal Justice:

    Business Law,  Criminology,  Financial Forensics and Fraud Investigation,  International Business, Trade, and Tax Law,  International Law,  Juvenile Corrections,  Legal Assistant/Paralegal,  Legal Studies,  Pre-Law Studies

  • Social Sciences:

    Geography,  Political Science, and Government,  Sociology

  • International/Global Studies

    International Relations and Affairs

  • Mathematics


Students typically enroll in 4 classes per term which average to 15 hours in class per week. A term runs for 12-13 weeks. Students must take 30 ECTS credits to earn 4 Lake Forest credits.



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




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.

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 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.


Student Life

The university also offers affordable, dedicated housing for students and international researchers, a variety of cafés and restaurants and extensive athletic facilities. The UGA offers 35 club sports teams, in addition to mountain sports such as skiing, climbing, hiking, and snowboarding. Students, faculty, and staff can participate in swimming, rugby, archery, horseback-riding, volleyball and much more.

UGA has an active campus life, with more than 200 student organizations and over 400 cultural events each year. A student-run radio station ties the university to the city of Grenoble. UGA’s theater, Amphidice, organizes performances, films, lectures and art events for the University community. The student center, EVE, provides both a space for social interaction and specific funding for student initiatives.


Students are required to attend an orientation week at the beginning of their program. The orientation will provide all of the information students need regarding campus life, courses, and procedures. Students may attend pre-selected courses before making their final decision for registration. 


Host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet

Housing and Meals

Students are housed in residence halls on or near campus and take meals at the university 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 the ISEP Exchange to Pierre Mendes includes orientation, on-site director, college fees, housing, and 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 costs


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 February 2017. 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, nor fees to enroll in courses at partner institutions, 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.

Experiences of Former Students


“Grenoble is one of the most beautiful places I’ve had the opportunity to spend time in. If you like anything about the outdoors, even if it’s just having picnics, it would be a good place to live. It’s also 4 hours from Paris, 1 hour from Lyon, and 2 hours from both the Swiss and Italian Borders. I just wish I could have stayed longer!” - ISEP Student from University of Tennessee Knoxville