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Courses - Spring 2013

Please note that all course offerings are subject to change. Changes in faculty availability and student enrollment can occasionally result in course cancellations.

All applicants to NYU Paris apply for either Program I or II.

  • Program I is intended for students with no French language experience through Conversation & Composition. 
  • Program II is open to students that have already completed Conversation & Composition (or equivalent) or that have scored above 710 on the language placement test.

NYU Paris students' average course load consists of 18 credits including the "Workshop in French Language & Culture" (required), at least one French language course (required), & 12 additional credits of French language or civilization courses.

Course offerings and availability at the French universities are not available until arrival. Students interested in this option attend special orientation meetings and register with the help of an academic advisor once they arrive in Paris.

Please note that all students are required to take at least one French language course. Students with past experience in French who have not yet taken a French language course at the university level are required to take the French placement test offered through CAS at no charge prior to arrival.

Please review the NYU Paris Registration Guidelines for important information before registering for classes.

A list of all courses offered at the Global Academic Centers, organized by department, can be found here.

Spring 2013 | Fall 2013 | Spring 2014

Required course for all students

This course is mandatory for all students in Program I. An intensive workshop that quickly immerses students in the basic tenets of French grammar and pronunciation, this course also provides students a historical and cultural framework to help them understand French society. Conducted in French.

Courses open to Students in Program I & II

Open to students in both Programs I & II

This workshop allows students the opportunity to sing their way to a discovery of French language and culture. Students expand their vocabulary and improve their pronunciation through performance while learning about the history and context of this popular art form. The workshop culminates in a performance at the end of the semester. Conducted in French.

Sample Syllabus 

Open to students in both Programs I & II

In this workshop students have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of phonetics and improve their pronunciation and comprehension of spoken French. Through listening exercises, poetry, and role-plays, students will work on articulation, rhythm and intonation. Conducted in French.

Sample Syllabus 

Open to students in both Program I & II

Working in collaboration with the Theatre Workshop and Acting French courses, this course provides a coherent framework for students to produce and present a sustained body of visual work that will constitute an integrated part of the end of semester theatre performances. In Spring 2009, we will focus on the life and works of Eugène Ionesco. Students will have an opportunity to enter into the wonderful and absurdist world of this great 20th century playwrite (and sometimes painter), in order to imagine and create props, masks, and/or backdrops for the theatre productions. Students may work in a variety of media, e.g. drawing, electronic arts, installation, painting, photography, sculpture, sound and video, and will have the opportunity to create in the professor’s studio. The course includes visits to museum and galleries to explore the wide range of subjects and materiality available to contemporary artists, and culminates with the exhibition/ theatre performances in a prestigious Parisian venue at the end of the semester. Conducted in English.

Sample Syllabus 

Program I - French Language, Society & Culture - English Track

Open to all NYU-France students. NYU Art History students: This course counts as an elective for Art History majors.

Mounting poverty in the countryside, mechanization of labour, and massive migration into Paris (provoking flagrant disparities between the peasant, artisan and urban working classes and the rising bourgeoisie) culminated in the 1848 Revolution. This course investigates the manner and methods by which the Paris-based avant-garde appropriated these socio-political conditions to challenge the myths of modernity and give experimental artistic forms to a new modernity, from Realism, Impressionism, Symbolism to Fauvism and Cubism. Major retrospectives, permanent collections and a restaged Ballets Russes performance in original Picasso décors enhance our study of this explosive half-century. Conducted in English.

Sample Syllabus

Students come into close contact with the daily life of the site at which they are studying through a two-semester experiential learning sequence, which is designed to contextualize the site's culture and give students internship or internship-like experiences in the community. The fall Experiential Learning I course begins the immersion experience with a variety of community-based projects and an advanced introduction to the site's cultural and social identity. The spring Experiential Learning II includes a 2-credit on-site component that emphasizes internships (or the equivalent) and a 2-credit Junior Independent Research Seminar, in which students work online with a GLS faculty member and students with similar interests at different sites to craft an independent research project, an important preparation for the senior thesis. Conducted in English.

Presentation and systematic practice of basic structures and vocabulary of oral French through dialogues, pattern drills, exercises. Correct pronunciation, sound placement, and intonation are stressed. For students with little or no command of French. Completes the equivalent of one year's elementary course. Textbook: Libre Echange. Conducted in French.

Sample Syllabus

Prerequisite: FREN-UA 10 or FREN-UA 1-2. Open to students who have completed the equivalent of a year's elementary level and to others on assignment by placement test. Completes the equivalent of a year's intermediate level in one semester.

Acquisition and practice of more sophisticated structures of French. Development of fundamental oral and written skills, vocabulary enrichment, conversational ability. Short reading texts; guided compositions. Completes the equivalent of one year's intermediate course. Textbook: Libre Echange. Conducted in French.

Sample Syllabus

Prerequisite: FREN-UA 11-12 or FREN-UA 20. Open to students who have completed the equivalent of a year's intermediate level and to others who have passed the proficiency examination but who wish to review their French in order to take advanced courses in language, literature, and civilization.

Systematizes and reinforces the language skills presented in earlier level courses through an intensive review of grammar, written exercises, an introduction to composition, lexical enrichment, and spoken skills. Conducted in French.

Sample Syllabus 

This course examines the social, economic, and political role of cinema in Europe, with an emphasis on recent decades. It takes into consideration transformations in film as a narrative form and cultural product in the shift from national cinema traditions to global communications networks and media convergence. Films studied include popular, independent, and avant-garde films from a range of countries and cultures. The structures of production, distribution, and conservation are also considered through visits to exhibitions, archives and movie theatres. Conducted in English.

Sample Syllabus

NYU Art History Students: This course counts for Elective Credit

This course explores photography from the 1830s to the present day, emphasizing style and subject matter (rather than technical processes) in the work of the major photographers. We will consider how photography has enlarged and affected our vision and knowledge of the world and how photography and modern art have influenced each other. Conducted in English.

Sample Syllabus 

An introduction to classic texts of French political and social philosophy. Consideration of the historical influences upon and the historical impact of French thinkers. Through close readings and analysis of selected passages from primary sources (in English translation), and those few seminal non-French works that inspired new directions in French thought, we will explore the intellectual framework and historical references that inform French debates on politics and society to the present day. Philosophers to be considered include St. Thomas Aquinas, Machiavelli, Montaigne, de la Fontaine, Descartes, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Napoleon Bonaparte, Saint-Simon, Prudhon, Marx, Jules Ferry, Zola, Fanon, Camus, and Sartre. Conducted in English.

Sample Syllabus 

NYU Art History students: This course counts for Art History Elective credit.

This course aims to understand and appreciate the creativity and dynamism of the Parisian art scene today through an exploration of contemporary art in the capital. The course will focus on the diversity of resources provided by the city, with special attention to new artistic practices and loci of production, as well as the multiple actors involved, from artists themselves to private galleries to art critics and museum curators. Reference to major avant-garde art movements of the past such as dada, geometrical abstraction, surrealism and expressionism will also be made in order to better situate today’s artistic concerns. Conducted in English.

Sample Syllabus 

Please note that this course can be counted toward the NYU Media, Culture, & Communication major. Should you choose to enroll in this course, please notify your MCC primary advisor. He or she will make sure this course is accurately reflected in your academic record.

This course explores the evolution of French art across 200 years of tumultuous upheavals in Paris, 1630-1830, from the Ancien Régime of Louis XIII to the Revolution, into the Napoleonic Empire up to the Bourbon Restoration. Through analysis of the reciprocity between artists and politico-cultural institutions of the capital, we discover how art of diverse media―painting, architecture, and popular prints, including political broadsheets and caricature―operated as a visual language of persuasion and propaganda, and/or as a critique of social and moral values. Our ultimate goal is to establish how French art of the past serves as a model to investigate the role of contemporary print and electronic media (including advertising) in its representation of power and its influence on our perceptions of the global world. Illustrated lectures are enhanced by seminars, museums visits, architectural walks, analysis of visual press clippings, and independent assignments based on examination of original artworks. Conducted in English.


This class journeys through the long and lively history of protest movements that has marked the trajectory of modern France. Beginning with the 19th century, we will consider the Revolution of 1848 and the Paris Commune of 1871 when youth manned the barricades and paid with their lives for their ideals. In the 20th century we will focus on 1968, when the streets of Paris and other major cities witnessed an unprecedented level of contestation challenging the all powerful government of Général de Gaulle. We will end with the twenty-first century when young people’s refusal to accept employment reform forced the government to withdraw its proposals, and the youth in the banlieues (outer cities) revolted against social injustice. Conducted in English.

Sample Syllabus

In this course, we work closely with students in Acting French and the Visual Art Workshop, to create an original performance based on texts by a major French author. Students work in collaboration with the professor, trained in the experimental methods of the French director Jacques Lecoq, to define their roles and the mise en scène. In Spring 2011 we will focus on the French avant-garde from the first part of the 20th century, which had major repercussions in art, literature and the history of ideas, to create an original production with music and artwork (created by NYU in France students) for an end of semester performance in a prestigious Paris venue. Conducted in English.

In this course we focus on four contemporary novels in which the world of the character, the narrator, or the author, is read through a literary classic. In each case, the reading and rewriting of the primary text involves temporal and spatial displacements (from the 18th to the 20th century, from Europe to the Carribean and to the South Pacific) that generate shifting perspectives and a constant reshuffling of centre and periphery. Between a reverential affiliation to the past and a creative misreading and rewriting of it, these intertextual encounters with « great » Western literary works insistently raise the question of identity and originality. The approach being explicitly comparative, standard theoretical reference texts from comparative, translation, and post-colonial studies will also be used. Conducted in English

Following an analysis of cultural, social, political, and economic conditions in France before 1789, the course follows the Revolution through its successive phases. Narrates and analyzes the rise of Napoleon and his consolidation of France, his conquests and the spread of his system, and his eventual overthrow. Conducted in English.

France and the U.S. have a habit of looking at one another as anti-models when it comes to discussions of assimilation and difference, “race,” identity, community and diversity. In this course, we explore this comparison as a productive means for re-considering these terms. Why is the notion of “ethnic community” so problematic in France? And why do Americans insist on the “homogeneity” of the French nation, even as, at various points throughout modern French history, France has received more immigrants to its shores than the United States? Through readings, film screenings, and site visits we explore the movements and encounters that have made Paris a rich, and sometimes controversial, site of cultural exchange. Topics include contemporary polemics on questions such as headscarves, the banlieue, the new Paris museums of immigration and “primitive” art, affirmative action and discrimination positive, historic expressions of exoticism, négritude, and anti-colonialism. Occasional case studies drawn from the American context help provide a comparative framework for these ideas. Conducted in English.

Sample Syllabus 

This course examines fashion as a form of communication and culture. Through cultural and media studies theory, we will examine how fashion makes meaning, and how it has been valued through history, popular culture and media institutions, focusing on the relationship between fashion, visual self-presentation, and power. The course will situate fashion both in terms of its production and consumption, addressing its role in relation to identity and body politics (gender, race, sexuality, class), art and status, nationhood and the global economy, celebrity and Hollywood culture, youth cultures and subversive practices. Conducted in English.

This course introduces students to the basic structures and practices of media in Europe and their relationship to everyday social life. It pays special attention to the common models and idioms of media in Europe, with an emphasis on national and regional variations. Specific case studies highlight current trends in the production, distribution, consumption, and regulation of media. Topics may include: national or regional idioms in a range of media genres, from entertainment, to advertising and publicity, to news and information; legal norms regarding content and freedom of expression; pirate and independent media; and innovations and emerging practices in digital media. Conducted in English.

Sample Syllabus 

In this course, we will explore the ways in which Paris plays a role in the representation of the subject. Through the study of novels and autobiographies by Breton, Hemingway, Stein, Duras, Modiano, de Beauvoir, and Baldwin, we will ask, what is the role of place in the imagining or invention of the self? How does the experience of a specific city, Paris, influence the formation of identity? How do these authors represent, or subvert, the notion of the ‘real’? Although the focus of this course is literary, we will also engage with major political, cultural, and artistic movements of the period, exploring the ways in which our writers negotiate history through their writings. Conducted in English.

Sample Syllabus

Program II - French Language, Society & Culture - French Track

NYU Art History Students: This course counts for Art History elective credit.



This course studies the rise of modern and contemporary art in Europe in relation to its cultural, historical and    social contexts. The works of Matisse, Picasso, Duchamp, Dali, Miro and Magritte, among others, are considered. The course includes both class lectures with slides and museum visits. Conducted in French.



NYU Art History students: This course counts for Art History elective credit.

Paris of the 19th and early 20th centuries developed into a major urban center, in part because of the promise of liberty that drew people there following the upheavals of the Revolution. The urban renewal that occurred under the Second Empire in the mid-19th century in particular transformed the capital into a modern city of innovation and spectacle. While the official arts reflected the tastes and priorities of successive governments and the emergent bourgeoisie, it was the avant-garde that most marked the city as a site of resistance and daring. In this course we study these different art movements as they relate to the city of Paris, studying the sites, movements, and transformations that helped shape the modern arts. Conducted in French.

Sample Syllabus 

We begin with a definition of the term "democracy" as developed by the Athenian City-State in the 5th century before Christ, before moving on to discuss its reappraisal by such theoreticians of the 17th century as Locke, or of the Enlightenment, such as Montesquieu and Rousseau. Their versions, indeed, serve as the basis for the French Revolution of 1789. A long and difficult process, democracy needed nearly a century before establishing itself in France. Drawing on numerous examples from 19th and 20th century history, we will try to understand why the great contributions of democracy, such as universal suffrage and the concept of individual liberty, were so difficult to put into operation. We will also consider why these "givens" are still fragile. Conducted in French.

Sample Syllabus

 Prerequisite: FREN-UA 30, or assignment by placement test, or approval of the director.

Assumes a mastery of the fundamental structures of French. May be taken concurrently with V45.9105. Helps the student to develop vocabulary, to improve pronunciation, and to learn new idiomatic expressions. Introduction to corrective phonetics and emphasis on understanding contemporary French through a study of authentic documents; radio and television interviews, advertisements, spontaneous oral productions, etc. Conducted in French.

Sample Syllabus (Coydon)

Sample Syllabus (Guédon)

Prerequisite: FREN-UA 101, or assignment by placement test.

For students with relative fluency in French who wish to further strengthen their pronunciation and command of spoken French. Develops the skills presented in V45.9101 through an in-depth study of French phonetics (corrective and theoretical), and analysis of the modes of oral discourse in French. Emphasis is on understanding spoken French (modes of argument, persuasion, emotion, etc.) through analysis of authentic documents and development of student discourse in French. Conducted in French.

Sample Syllabus 

 Prerequisite: FREN-UA 30, assignment by placement test, or approval of the director.

Prof. Elizabeth Molkou
Designed to improve the student's written French and to provide advanced training in French and in comparative grammar. Students are trained to express themselves in a variety of writing situations (diaries, transcriptions, narration, letters, etc.). Focuses on the distinction between spoken and written styles and the problem of contrastive grammar. Emphasis is on accuracy and fluency of usage in the written language. Conducted in French.

Sample Syllabus 

Prerequisite: FREN-UA 105 or assignment by placement test.

Aims to refine students' understanding of and ability to manipulate written French. Students practice summarizing and expanding articles from French magazines and papers and learn how to organize reports and reviews in French. Focuses on the distinction between spoken and written styles and the problem of contrastive grammar. Emphasis on accuracy and fluency of usage in the written language. Conducted in French.

Sample Syllabus

Use of dramatic situations and readings to help students overcome inhibitions in their oral use of language. The graduated series of exercises and activities is designed to improve pronunciation, intonation, expression, and body language. The course culminates in a performance created in collaboration with students in Theatre Workshop and Visual Art Workshop of an original work inspired by texts of a major French writer or art movement. Students work closely with the professor to define their roles and the mise en scène. In Spring 2011 we will focus on the French avant-garde from the first part of the 20th century, which had major repercussions in art, literature and the history of ideas, to create an original production with music and artwork (created by NYU in France students) for an end of semester performance in a prestigious Paris venue. Conducted in French.

Prerequisite: FREN-UA 30, FREN-UA 105, or permission of the instructor.

Designed for students who wish to become familiar with the specialized language used in French business. Emphasis is on oral and written communication and the acquisition of a business and commercial vocabulary dealing with the varied activities of a commercial firm: advertising, transportation, banking, etc. Group work in simulated business situations and exposure to "authentic" spoken materials are stressed. Qualified students have the option of taking the Exam of the Chamber of French Commerce at the end of the course. Conducted in French.

Sample Syllabus 

In this course students read masterpieces of French literature from the French Revolution to the end of the twentieth century. Works are considered from various historical, aesthetic and theoretical perspectives. Texts include:Le Père Goriot (Balzac); Madame Bovary (Flaubert); Les Faux-Monnayeurs (Gide); La Nausée (Sartre); Le Ravissement de Lol V. Stein (Duras), and Du côté de chez Swan I (Proust), which will be the subject of a final essay. Conducted in French.

Sample Syllabus 

The course considers the concept of “French civilization” in both its mythical and real aspects. The first half of the course focuses on the political, socio-economic, and cultural history of France in the modern period, from roughly 1870 to the 1980. The second half of the course looks more closely at the contemporary period, focusing on the various ‘crises’ and transitions that have marked France during the past 20 years. Topics include the challenges of the post-colonial period (immigration, la francophonie, questions of identity), France in and of the European Union, France and globalization, and social issues in current events (the status of women, la banlieue, social exclusion). Conducted in French.

Sample Syllabus

Through a multidisciplinary approach, the course will address the different political, economic, historical and sociological issues raised by the current situation in the Arab world in order to determine the French and American answers especially in the context of the Arab spring and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The course will offer insights and analyses on the different roles which are played by France and the United States on the issues of youth, women, and Modern Islam in the Arab World and on how their soft power is perceived by the Arab countries and their populations. By addressing the foreign policies that have been articulated in the region, we will also bring into light the dichotomy between the “old” and the “new” diplomacy.

Study of the theatrical genre in France, including the golden age playwrights (Corneille, Racine, Molière), 18th-century irony and sentiment, and the 19th-century theatrical revolution. Topics include theories of comedy and tragedy, the development of stagecraft, and romanticism and realism. Also, the theatre as a public genre, its relationship to taste and fashion, and its sociopolitical function. Conducted in French.

 Art History students: This course counts for Art History elective credit.

In this course we explore the contemporary arts in France in their historic and social context. Beginning with current trends, we attempt to situate what’s new within a longer tradition of artistic production. Themes studied include the nature of the object, the monochrome, the body, the idea of nature, personal mythologies, the importance of light. The course includes visits to contemporary galleries and museums. Conducted in French. 

An analysis of North and French West African cinema. In this course, we consider the aesthetic and political choices faced by African filmmakers working in the post-Independence period. Questions concerning tradition and modernity, the search for a collective and/or national identity, emigration, exile and return, history and memory, will frame our approach. Conducted in French.

An introduction to the problems of gender as they have been expressed in France. Beginning with an historical overview, we consider the category of ‘woman’ as it was defined from the Revolution to the founding of French feminism at the end of the 19th century. The second part of the course is devoted to an exploration of gender as a political issue during the past 20 years, through consideration of such topics as parité, prostitution, colonialism, post-colonialism, and queer studies. Conducted in French.

Sample Syllabus 

Given in the form of a workshop, this course will allow students to improve their written expression through the study and practice of a variety of literary registers, mostly drawn from contemporary literature. Beyond the questions of genre that we will address, the workshop will allow students the opportunity to produce their own texts, improve their understanding of literary creation, and hone their writing skills in a creative vein. Conducted in French.

Sample Syllabus 

Through a conception of the city as a microcosm of the world, this course will initiate NYU in Paris students to international urban comparative methods. Focusing on the cities of Paris and New York, we will compare how each, over time, forms its own imaginary through literature, cinema, television, the press, architecture, and art.

As major metropolises, Paris and New York are deeply engaged in processes of globalization, of both the “hard” and “soft” version. Each city has to stay competitive, to accumulate wealth, to retain its inhabitants as well as to attract tourists, business professionals, students, and immigrants. Each dreams of one day becoming a “green” city. Each is also familiar with failure, needing to wrestle with problems of inequality and discrimination. The social disorder associated with these cities comes both from external forces (terrorism) and internal problems, largely urban violence in marginalized neighborhoods. The media propagates these fears by playing up urban anxieties. Danger exists in both of these cities, amplified also by rumor and fantasy.

In this course we will study these phenomena through the analysis of novels, films, television series, artwork, and architecture. We will examine the views of the upper echelons of the elite, consider the actions of citizens united in civic organizations or acting independently, and read analyses of scholars of the city. The testimonies of immigrants or their children will provide yet another comparative terrain. Finally, the course will study changes in each city’s image over time, and ask how various representations of the city have been managed by actors in the cities themselves.

Students will be asked to read and analyze texts as well as films. Each student will conduct an oral and written personal research project connected to the themes of the course.

Course description coming soon. Conducted in French.

Upcoming Application Deadlines

Spring Semester

Priority: September 15

Regular: October 15

Applications received after October 15 will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Admission will be granted only when space is available and time allows for required travel documents to be attained.

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