Film Studies

Summer ~ Semester ~ Academic Year

Paris is a Mecca for film lovers and a pilgrimage to this great city of art and culture is invariably both stimulating and magical for the avid film student. Many of film’s iconic moments take place on the streets of Paris, and the city has nurtured and influenced numerous legendary filmmakers over the years such as Godard, Truffaut and Renoir, Jean Vigo, Chris Marker, and Agnès Varda. Students have access to comprehensive film libraries and archives throughout the city including La Cinémathèque Française and the Lexia film library, not to mention the endless number of French cinemas playing movies of various genres and time periods.

This interdisciplinary Film Studies program introduces students to France – to its history, politics, economics, society, and culture, as well as its cinematic traditions. In each of these areas, special attention is paid to the subject of national identity to help students develop an understanding of the history of France and French culture including contemporary issues.

The program is designed to accommodate both students with a background in film studies and those just embarking on this rich journey. For those with little or no background in film studies, the program is designed to be a challenging introduction to a thriving national cinema and to film theory. For film studies majors, the program provides a unique opportunity to sharpen critical tools in film analysis and the creative process.

No prior knowledge of French is required. However, intensive language training is provided, thereby helping students develop the skills and confidence to live, study, and conduct research in France. In addition to the language training, students will also be encouraged to participate in a variety of field trips and excursions to develop deeper insight into French culture and history, and how this is reflected in the body of French film.


"Ludmilla, our resident director, was great. She encouraged me in beginning my research for my thesis and is currently helping me plan my return to France in five months."


Program Options

Students on the Lexia Paris Film Studies program can choose whether to study abroad for a five-week summer term, a semester, or the academic year. When deciding how long to study abroad, students should consult their academic advisor, financial aid counselor, study abroad office and their family. Lexia staff can assist students with this decision. A list of courses and course descriptions can be found below:


Summer Program

Students on the Lexia Paris Film Studies summer program take two courses for a total of 8 semester credits or 12 quarter credits. 

  • French Film Studies / Area Studies and Culture Seminar
  • French Language Course


Semester Program

Students on the Lexia Paris Film Studies semester program take four courses for a total of 16 semester credits or 24 quarter credits. 

  • French Film Studies / Area Studies and Culture Seminar
  • French Language Course
  • Research Methods Seminar
  • Field Research Project


Academic Year

Students on the Lexia Paris Film Studies academic year program take eight courses during two semesters for a total of 32 semester credits or 48 quarter credits. 

Students on academic year programs complete the regular semester program described above during the first semester. In the second semester, students continue language training and their Field Research Project and choose two Elective Courses to complete their academic program. Key to a second semester in Paris is designing a program of study that immerses the student in the local culture via language study, internship or volunteer experiences, course work, and independent study and projects. Students are also encouraged to consider spending the spring semester at a different Lexia site, conducting a comparative or complementary Field Research Project. 

Semester 1

  • French Film Studies / Area Studies and Culture Seminar
  • French Language Course
  • Research Methods Seminar
  • Field Research Project

Semester 2

  • Field Research Project
  • French Language Course
  • Elective Course 1
  • Elective Course 2



French Film Studies / Area Studies and Culture Seminar (Four semester/six quarter credits)

The interdisciplinary Film Studies / Area Studies and Culture Seminar is designed to enable students to study French national cinema, concentrating particularly on understanding what is "national" about it: not only the historical conditions for film production and theory in France, but more broadly, the historical and cultural context that explains the "Frenchness" of cinema at different points in time.

The curriculum draws on the rich history of French film to illustrate the important events in this dynamic relationship between cinema and national culture, from the beginning of cinema to today. This examination takes the form of viewing and analyzing numerous films, lectures in English on the films and related topics, small group activities, and various excursions, all serving to provide students with the necessary background on French history and culture, as well as an understanding of the medium of film for the transmission of cultural ideas, ideals, and beliefs. This examination of French cinema prepares students to pursue their individual Field Research Projects.


French Language Course (six semester/nine quarter credits per term)

French language courses are taught at the elementary, intermediate, or advanced levels at the Cours de Langue et de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne with other international students.


Research Methods Seminar / Film Studies Workshop (Four semester/six quarter credits)

This seminar teaches a range of methods for engaging in sustained, original inquiry in the field and sets the framework for developing rigorous, individual projects. By exposing the students to the diverse environments of Paris and France, this course encourages students to examine and revise their ideas of French culture. By extension, students begin to question their own sense of self and to explore the culturally embedded nature of identities in general.

The course introduces a variety of research skills, methodologies and techniques including reading, listening, observing, choosing, questioning, summarizing, organizing, writing, presenting, and reflecting. A variety of techniques for collecting and analyzing data will also be examined.

Paris offers students a myriad of visual and cultural encounters, from architecture to the collections of images housed in museums, to the fascinating, often fleeting exchanges on every street corner and subway ride. Through a series of visual and writing exercises, students explore language ability, visual skills, ethical issues, theorizing about experience, and how to synthesize field knowledge into original work and/or formal academic writing.


Field Research Project / Visual Research Project (Four semester/six quarter credits)

The Field Research Project offers students the opportunity to pursue an independent, self-designed project in a specialized field of interest. A faculty member, professional, artist, architect, or other mentor serves as advisor for the project, meeting periodically with the student to provide necessary supervision and support. For academic year students, one topic may be explored in-depth throughout the academic year or different topics may be chosen each semester. Students are encouraged to use their language skills and knowledge of the local culture and subject matter to investigate their selected topic(s).

The range of potential projects is wide – from public culture and fine arts to urban life and business. The final product can take a variety of forms, but must express a rigorous, sustained inquiry into the chosen topic and demonstrate the student’s ability to engage with the resources available in Paris. Projects might range from a 20-25 page paper or summary of laboratory work to a collection of short stories or personal essays, dance performance, photo essay, or other project.

Students spend a minimum of 60 hours per semester conducting research for their project, meeting for a minimum of eight hours with their advisor and/or the Resident Director. A week at the end of each semester is planned for the synthesis of the students’ findings, writing, or other work, followed by the presentation and discussion of the projects in the group.

Grades for the Field Research Project are based on the required paper or project, meetings with the advisor and the final presentation. The faculty advisor and the Resident Director make final grade assessments. The final project must be submitted before departure from Paris. Late projects are not accepted.

Past projects have included:

  • Paris Landscapes in the Cinema; Paris as the Film Stage
  • American Influences on the French Cinema
  • From Novel to the Screen: Filming the Classics of French Literature
  • The Development of Cinema in its Homeland--France


Dates & Deadlines

Coming soon!


Homestays: Students live in homestays throughout Paris, which allows them to have a rich intercultural and linguistic experience. Students should be aware that the "traditional" family (two parents, children) is becoming a rarity in urban Paris; they may be placed with an older couple or single person, cousins, or in other family configurations. In single or double rooms, students share safe accommodations in apartments equipped with the essentials. Most housing providers are long-term Paris residents and offer insights and the chance to practice French and intercultural skills.



The program fee covers all Lexia excursions, which are designed to help students discover areas and aspects of culture that are typically less easily accessible to tourists and give a broad representation of the breadth of French culture and its people. Excursions outside of Paris may include some of the following:

Chartres: According the art historian Emile Male the Gothic cathedral in Chartres is “the mind of the Middle Ages manifest”

Lyon: Basilique de Fourviere; Vieux Lyon (Old Medieval Quarter); Musée des Frères Lumière (inventors of the first moving picture camera)

Strasbourg: Largest city in Alsace; Palais de l’Europe; Old Town

Burgundy: Visits to Dijon (capital of Burgundy) and Beaune

Normandy: Normandy Beaches, site of D-day landings; Bayeux

Mont St. Michel: 8th century abbey on an island between Brittany and Normandy


In additions to the excursions planned as part of the Film Studies Seminar, the program includes visits and lectures to museums, notably:

  • Henri Langlois Musem of Cinema
  • La Cinémathèque Française (Frank Gehry Building)
  • Paris film studios

Visits are also arranged to churches and historical sites in Paris and the surrounding regions. Students also visit a variety of cultural events, to experience French musical life, theatre, dance, and cinema.



Semester: $16,950
Tuition: $13,525
Housing: $3,425

Academic Year: $31,550
Tuition: $24,700
Housing: $6,850

Summer: $6,495
Tuition: $4,745
Housing: $1,750


Program Fees Include:

  • On-Site Orientation (2-4 days)
  • All Tuition and Fees
  • All Scheduled Program Excursions
  • Housing Costs
  • Services of Lexia Resident Director and Program Staff
  • Comprehensive Medical Insurance Policy
  • International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
  • Official Transcript from Elizabethtown College



Not included in the Program Fee are the following estimated expenses based past students' experiences during the semester-long program:

  • Airfare Ranges from $800–$1,100
  • Meals not Covered $2,080
  • Books & Supplies $230
  • Personal Expenses $1,400

Estimated Total Additional Expenses: $4,660 – $4,960

Students should also remember to budget for independent travel during the one-week break within the semester.  If desired, students may choose to remain in their Lexia accommodation in Paris during the break at no additional cost.



The typical course load is four courses per semester. Students who successfully complete Lexia’s program requirements are able to earn the equivalent of one full semester or academic year of college/university level credit, pending approval from their home institution.

It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of the credit transfer policies at his/her home institution and department, including advising appointments, paperwork and pre-departure or re-entry activities. We strongly suggest that students contact their study abroad or other appropriate office early in the planning stage to ensure that they complete all requirements. 

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