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Université de Nantes


Program Snapshot

A short distance from the Atlantic coast, Nantes is known as the Venice of the West due to its location on the river delta of the Loire, the Erdre, and the Sèvre. There is a very strong international presence in Nantes because of the many international students attracted by the University. Students can take courses taught in French at the University or they can take French language and culture courses at the Institut de Recherche et de Formation en Français Langue Étrangère (IRFFLE).

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

The city of Nantes is located on the Loire River in the northwest province of Brittany. Today, Breton culture is manifested in the distinct regional character of the people and the Breton language is still spoken in some rural parts of Brittany.

Nantes is a major port and industrial center; it is also a lively cosmopolitan city with cafes and gardens. The city is rich in architecture: sites include the Gothic Cathédrale St. Pierre, a 15th-century chateau, and classical 18th-century buildings and palaces. Nantes also has many museums and is host to numerous cultural events. Frequent train connections run to Paris, Tours and Lyon.

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 Fair.
ISEP Exchange chance of placement for I-to-I students is generally Fair.
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
All programs
Academic year: September to May
Semester 1: September to December
Semester 2: January to May.

Fast Facts
Nantes, France (pop. 300,000)
Student Enrollment: 30,000
Language of instruction: French
University Home Page
IRFFLE (French as foreign language department)
Joine the ISEP France Facebook Group


Option 1: Full year or semester- enrollment in regular university courses

Faculties of Economics and Law

Faculty of Letters and Humanities: applied foreign languages [Arabic, English, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish], French & comparative literatures, foreign literatures & civilizations [classical, modern English, German, Italian, Spanish], geography, history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, urban & regional planning

Faculty of Sciences: chemistry, construction technology, earth sciences, informatics, materials science, mathematics, natural & life sciences, physics

Institute of Technology: business administration, electrical engineering, informatics, mechanical engineering.

Option 2: Semester- French Studies courses at French as a Foreign Language (IRFFLE)

Courses depend on the student's level of French. Students will take a placement test upon arrival to be placed in the appropriate level. All programs consist of the following core subjects:
-French Language: spoken, written, and grammar
-French Civilization: French history and contemporary society

Students placing into higher levels select from the following workshops in addition to their language studies: French expression-advanced pronunciation, phonetics, and body language; Cinema; Reading of the Press; Literature; Image analysis; French History; The History of Art in France and Europe; Student methodology; Economics and Society; France and Europe Theatre; Phonetics training; French Literature and Writing techniques

Option 3: Full Year- Semester 1: French Studies courses at IRFFLE and Semester 2: enrollment in regular university courses

Academic Notes

The university benefits from the presence of advanced research facilities. It has specialized libraries of humanities and law, sciences, and technology. Languages, literature and humanities are considered strong areas of study, as are science and technology. Some university courses are offered on a full-year basis only.

If selected to enroll in regular university courses (Option 1), ISEP students will be required to submit the following additional documents:
-Resume in French
-Cover letter for the Nantes program in French
-Université de Nantes learning agreement which can generated through the course catalog: http://www.univ-nantes.fr/13177881/0/fiche___pagelibre/&RH=ETUETR#KLINK#KLINK

Students typically enroll in 5-10 classes per term which averages to 18 hours in class per week. A term runs for 12-13 weeks.


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

Language Notes

Option 1: Full year or semester enrollment in university courses

Language Recommendation: Level B1/B2: Typically 4-5 semesters of university level French OR 3+ consecutive years of French language study.
Language Notes: French language evening classes throughout the semester and/or an intensive week-long language course during the first week of September are offered to students, free of charge
Pre-session A 10-day pre-session French language course is offered at the beginning of July for an additional fee at the intermediate level.

Options 2: Semester ONLY- French Studies courses at French as a Foreign Language (IRFFLE).

Language Recommendation: Level A2: Typically 3 semesters of university level French OR 2+ consecutive years of French language study.
Additional Comments: If full year students want to take French language and culture courses (IRFFLE) both semester 1 and semester 2, they must pay the semester 2 language program fee of around 800 euros.

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

Course Information for the different language levels taught at the IRFFLE can be found here

To find additional course descriptions, please follow the instructions by clicking the link "course information" above.

Housing and Meals
Students are housed in single-occupancy rooms in university residence halls, which are equipped with sports and recreation facilities and libraries. Shared kitchens are provided but meals can also taken at one of the university restaurants. A stipend is provided to pay for both housing and meals.


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 200 euros.

Orientation for students attending the University of Nantes is required. Information will be provided on the various services the university offers and on activities available in town. A tutor from the international office will serve as a mentor for all ISEP participants, and an explanation of the French university system will be provided.


Host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet

Student Activities
Université de Nantes offers numerous extracurricular and cultural activities (sports, theatre, dance, cinema…) For more information please take a look at the international student section of the university’s website: international student: practical information

During orientation week you will also have the opportunity to enrol in ‘Autour du Monde’- an association for international students which organises many cultural activities and gatherings throughout the year (for example, international evenings, welcome parties, day trips and weekend visits to castles and Mont-Saint Michel). You can also enrol to be paired up with a French tandem partner and become a volunteer for the association.

Although the university was founded in 1962, it is historically linked to the medieval universities of Nantes and Angers. International students comprise nearly 10 percent of the student body. The university takes pride in its role in regional development, and the social and cultural life of the city.