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Fields of Study: Humanities, Social Sciences

Undertake an intensive study of French language with professors who specialize in teaching French as a second language. By design, this program is for international students at an intermediate language level with 3-5 quarters (2-3 semesters) of university-level French. All courses are taught in French at the university’s DEFLE (Département d'Etudes de Français Langue Etrangère). In this way, you can concentrate on building your language skills while immersing in French culture. In addition to French language courses, you will enroll in French culture and civilization courses that focus on art history, literature, business, journalism, media, and more.

Unique study opportunities

  • Produce an academic research paper on a topic that relates to your major or cultural interests.
  • Meet and interview specialists, experts, and other stakeholders in the Bordelaise community.
  • Explore all things French—from theater to regional art, music, literature, business, and film.
  • Perfect your conversational French language skills and come home sounding like a native speaker.


Language of Instruction: French

French Language Study: Required

The focus of this program is to build your French language skills. During the first two weeks, an intensive language program will help boost your language skills and introduce French academics. You will complete a language evaluation prior to departure to determine the appropriate placement for your intensive language program course. 

After the intensive language program is over, you will take another placement test to determine the appropriate level of French courses at DEFLE.

Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program:

  • Take a full-time course of study:
    • During the academic term: Four to five courses for a total of 22.5-27 quarter/15-18 semester UC units
    • Fall Intensive Language Program: One course for a total of 4 quarter/2.7 semester UC units
    • Spring Intensive Language Program: One course for a total of 3 quarter/2 semester UC units
  • You may take up to one-third (33%) of your total unit load per semester for pass/no pass

Current Program Courses

You will enroll in the following language and culture courses for this program:

  • Language: One oral French course worth 6 quarter/4 semester UC units
  • Language: One written French course worth 6–8 quarter/4–5.3 semester UC units
  • Culture: One French civilization course worth 3.5–4.5 quarter/2–3.3 semester UC units
  • Culture: One or two French culture course(s) worth 3.5–4.5 quarter/2–3.3 semester UC units each

Courses at the first and second level at DEFLE are lower division. Courses at the third, fourth, and fifth level at DEFLE are upper division. 

Independent Research

You have the option to replace one culture course with an 8-10 page French research paper worth 3 quarter/2 semester UC units. The research paper can relate to your major, but it can also be on any local cultural subject you may be curious about. The topic is up to you. Before you begin your project, you’ll work with a supervisor to finalize the topic and scope of your paper. After defining your subject, you’ll conduct interviews with subject matter experts in the area. Finally, you’ll submit your paper in French and present it orally. 

Working on a research paper will help build your language knowledge, improve your French writing skills, and provide valuable experience as a researcher. It’s also a great opportunity to go a little deeper in your understanding of French culture, history, and society. 

Additional or optional coursework, internships, and research for academic credit are not possible on this program.

Catalogs and resources

  • French in Bordeaux Course Catalog: Browse a complete list of course titles and descriptions offered by the DEFLE.
  • UCEAP Course Catalog: See a list of courses students have taken on this program. This is not a current representation of course offerings on this program. Reference the above links to review recent course offerings. 
  • Campus Credit Abroad: Learn the types of credit (major, minor, general education, elective) students from your campus received at this location.

Academic culture

Your French language courses will be determined by a placement test. You will select your culture and civilization courses once you are onsite. 

The DEFLE focuses on teaching French to exchange students from all over the world. You won’t see local French students attending these classes. The pace of the program is intense and rigorous. You’ll be in classes five days a week and must keep to the schedule set by the University of Bordeaux. Class size varies from 20 to 50 students, depending on the courses. To help your language learning, participation and interaction is expected. 


You will earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework.

Grades for the fall semester are typically available in April. Grades for the spring semester are typically available in August.

Tip: If you intend to put yourself on your campus degree list for graduation while on UCEAP, consult your campus advisors before departure about possible delays in the degree verification process.