Ile St. Louis
Passage Vivienne
Luxembourg Garden

PICA Study Abroad Semester in Paris

Program Structure:

PICA offers a semester program in Paris. Students can take University level undergraduate courses taught in English in a variety of areas of study (and will receive transcripts from PICA and, if necessary, from Whittier College to enable transfer of credits to their home university). All classes, with the exception of French language and French literature classes, are taught in English. Students may choose to study for one or two semesters. Our semester program takes place in the Fall and Spring semesters and are 12 weeks long. Students enroll in classes offering a total of 15 credit hours per semester.

Semester Programs:

  • Fall Semester (September-December) Total Credits: 15
  • Spring Semester (February-early May) Total Credits: 15
  • Year-long Program (September-early May) Total Credits: 30

Subjects: Art History, History of Fashion, History of Cinema, French Language, Literature, Creative Writing, Photography, Printmaking, Book Arts, Painting, Drawing.

Class Offerings

PICA offers a focused offering of classes which include visual art classes, art history, French language and other humanities classes. Some of these courses are offered by partner schools in Paris, most notably the Institut de langues et de cultures françaises where students take French language courses as well as a selection of humanities classes in English.

Class Structure & Instruction:

Academic Lecture Classes: These classes meet for a total of 3 or 4 hours per week. Classes combine in-class lectures, discussion and, in some classes, on-site visits. Most academic courses are reading and writing intensive and will require a minimum of 3-5 hours of work per week outside of regular class-time.

Studio Art Classes: These hands-on courses meet for a total of 4 contact hours per week. Studio courses combine practical lessons, in-class demonstrations, slide presentations and gallery/museum/Paris site visits. When possible, students go on-site to work or visit exhibits or museums of relevance to the subject being studied. All courses require outside work and in-class critiques, both group and individual. Advanced studio courses may require written assignments and many require students to keep a sketchbook.

Grading and Evaluation: Students are graded using the American University model of evaluation.

Field Trips: Many courses integrate on-site visits to museums and exhibitions and at times require day trips. These excursions are considered an integral part of the course curriculum and attendance is mandatory. Most fees for these excursions are included in tuition fees.

Activities for all students covered by the activities fee:

  • Welcome Dinner
  • Museum Card
  • Two to three excursions per semester

Registering for Courses:

  • Once students have been accepted into the program they will receive a list of available courses for pre-registration.
  • Students will select five first choice classes and three alternative courses for pre-registration.
  • Students are required to take a French language class (except for students are bilingual in French and English).