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About France
Country Handbook

Université de Franche-Comté

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Program Snapshot

The birthplace of Victor Hugo, Besançon is a medieval city of art and history. Having previously won the title of France's "greenest city," and being located in the Jura mountains, Besançon is a wonderful place to explore while attending the Université de Franche-Comté. The university offers a wide range of courses in most subjects. You will have the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in French academic life and culture.

For more information regarding programs in France, please contact Lindsay Moats or check out her blog.

Besancon's history dates back to Roman times. The Roman road still leads to the city, which is built on the Doubs River in the Jura mountain range, not far from Switzerland. The city is a center for clock and watchmaking. Besancon has a variety of cultural resources, including museums, theaters and concerts.

ISEP Exchange: undergraduate and graduate programs available for an academic year or semester

ISEP-Exchange for International students.
ISEP-Exchange for US students.

Chance of Placement
ISEP Exchange chance of placement for US students is generally Excellent.
ISEP Exchange chance of placement for I-to-I students is generally Excellent.
For the most current chances of placement, see the Sites Open for Applications for US Students or Sites Open for I-to-I Applications.

Program Dates

Academic year: September to May
Semester 1: September to December
Semester 2: January to May

Fast Facts
Besancon, France (pop. 120,000)
Student Enrollment: 20,000
Language of instruction: French
University Home Page
Joine the ISEP France Facebook Group


Full year or semester enrollment in university courses

Law, Economics, and Political Science

Letters and Humanities: anthropology, archaeology, art history, classical philosophy, geography, history, literature, musicology, Portuguese, psychology, Russian, sociology, Spanish, theater studies

Mechanical Engineering and Microtechniques

Physical Education

Academic Notes

Franche-Comté encourages placement in the sciences. Other strong areas are history and culture (Arabic, French, German, Modern Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian), theatre studies, art history and archaeology, FLE (French as a Foreign Language), and musicology.

Students typically enroll in 5 classes per term which averages to 15-20 hours in class per week. A term runs for12 weeks.


Transcripts are sent to ISEP in March and July and then immediately released to the student's home institution if there are no outstanding financial obligations.

Language Notes

Full year or semester enrollment in university courses

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

Language Notes: French Language development courses and translation courses are offered in addition to regular class through the academic year. Contact hours per week: 2 hrs/wk for each course.

Pre-session: A pre-session French language course is offered in the summer for an additional fee for intermediate and advanced levels. Several free pre-session courses are also available. For additional information, please Contact the Program Officer for France to learn more.

For more information on courses and language options, see the:
ISEP French Language Advising Guide for US Students
ISEP French Language Advising Guide for I-to-I Students

Special Academic Conditions

The Institute of Technology is closed to ISEP participants.
The Center for Applied Linguistics is closed to ISEP participants unless they pay an additional fee for the language courses. International applicants please note that preference is given to students from institutions with which this institution does not have Socrates/Erasmus agreements.

Special ISEP Application Instructions

All students studying in France must purchase French health insurance (la Sécu) upon arrival for approximately 215 euros in addition to purchasing ISEP Health Insurance prior to departure.

Hints for Researching Courses

Please click on the link "course information" above

Housing and Meals
Students are housed, along with French students, in university apartments located about 20 minutes by bus from the university. A stipend is provided for meals. Married student housing can be arranged.


You are responsible for all of your personal expenses including: optional fees (e.g. computer, language, science lab fees), books, local transportation, entertainment, etc. The amount below is provided as a guide; the actual amount needed will vary depending on courses and personal habits. Your personal expenses per month, including books, are estimated at 500 euros.

Students will participate in a one-day orientation program with the ISEP coordinator. The International Student Exchange office will provide assistance with the necessary administrative procedures (temporary resident card, etc.), and students will have the opportunity to meet regularly with the coordinator to set up an academic program.


Host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet

The university was first established at Dole in 1423 and moved to Besancon in 1691. Most of the university buildings are in the center of town. Franche-Comte enrolls about 2,100 international students from Africa, Europe, the United States and the Middle East. English language theater (BELT) and a local American Football team playing in the national league are added attractions. Total enrollment: 20,000.

What Past Students have to Say
"Besançon is a small city with a lot of charm. It's typically French. Being in such a place was great for getting the feeling for the real France. It's beautiful and charming, and once you get settled in, you'll always run into someone you know on the bus, on the street, or in the Resto U." - Shannon Wichers, Armstrong Atlantic University