Rennes, France

Qualified St. Lawrence University students have the opportunity to spend the fall semester in Rennes through the CIEE Liberal Arts program. Rennes is located in northeast France and is known for its small historic city and large student population. Two hours from Paris and one hour from the sea, Rennes is the capital of the Brittany region and has distinctive Celtic traditions. 

Rennes has a thriving student community and is consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in France. The Liberal Arts program invites intermediate and advanced French students to immerse themselves in the language, culture, and history of France. Students are expected to commit to speaking French with fellow students, homestay families, and members of the Rennes community. Upon arrival, students take a two-week intensive course before taking a placement course. Each language placement level will come with a prescribed set of courses at the Centre International Rennais d’Etude Francais pour Etrangers (CIREFE) at Université Rennes II. If they test into the advanced level, students may opt to take one or two courses at the university alongside French students.

  • Based in Rennes
  • Fall semester
  • Enrollment caps may be limited to less than 15 per semester based on space limitations
  • Pre-requisites: Overall 3.0 GPA; 4 semesters of college-level French (or equivalent)
  • All courses taught in French
  • Live with homestay families

Apply to Study in Rennes, France

Location     Academics     Co-Curricular     Housing     Calendar     Orientation      Program Contacts


The Rennes Liberal Arts program is based at the Université Rennes II, home to a student body of 60,000. Rennes is the capital of the Brittany region and is known for its charming historic city, half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets, and green spaces. It offers a unique opportunity to study the distinct Celtic traditions particular to this region of France.

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All students take courses at the CIEE Rennes Study Center located in the Université Rennes II, one mile northwest of downtown Rennes, and 8 minutes by the metro from the historic center. Prior to coming to France, students take an online placement test. Once on-site, they take an intensive two-week language and culture course through CIEE. Upon completion of the preliminary language and culture course, students are placed in one of six language learning levels, each with a prescribed set of courses at the Centre International Rennais d’Etude du Francais pour Etrangers (CIREFE) at Université Rennes II. All students are encouraged, regardless of their language level, to consider auditing a regular course at the Université Rennes II; however, students in the advanced language levels (C1/C2) may opt to take one or two regular university courses for credit alongside French students.

Students must take a minimum of 15 credit hours of classes while on this program. Credit hours for each course varies on this program (typically between 2-6 credit hours), which means this may amount to 5 or more classes. Course credit from CIEE's Rennes program transfers back to SLU, provided students have received course approval from the department chair of the particular academic department in question. This process is explained at pre-departure orientation.

The academic culture at French universities differs in some ways from the American education systems. Syllabi are often less detailed and students are expected to be self-disciplined and self-motivated. Assessment is usually based on a small number of essays, exams, oral presentations, and/or out-of-class project reports.  

Registration is finalized on-site.

Courses and syllabi are available on the CIEE website.

Required courses:

Students are required to take the CIEE preliminary Language and Culture course (2 credits) and the CIREFE semester language course (4-6 credits) at the proper level. 

Elective courses:

Students may enroll in elective courses through CIEE; students placed into the Advanced Level at CIREFE may take 1 or 2 courses at the Université Rennes II.

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Every CIEE semester program has frequent cultural excursions and a multi-day study tour uniquely designed to complement the program’s academics and enhance students’ cultural immersion. In Rennes, past study tours and excursions have included:

  • Mont Saint Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Saint Malo, Brittany’s privateers’ haven and beautiful walled city
  • Paris and it world-famous landmarks
  • Medieval cities such as Fougères or Dinan

Students also have the option to teach English and earn Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) credit.  

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Students stay with carefully chosen French families in their homes in Rennes or nearby suburbs. Students are expected to be sensitive to cultural differences and open to understanding and sharing fully in the life of the French family. As a norm, the families host only one student and provide an individual room. Two meals on weekdays (breakfast and dinner) and three meals on weekends are included in the study abroad program fee. Students typically eat weekday breakfasts and dinners with your homestay family. Students may purchase lunches at local cafes, restaurants, and markets located throughout the city. Students receive a lunch stipend.

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See the CIEE website for program dates.

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Pre-departure: The CIIS office organizes in depth orientation sessions on-campus prior to the students’ participation in the program. This includes a program specific session(s) in which the students will learn more about the program, local culture, academic expectations, and any other important information. There is also an orientation session led by the CIIS office on culture shock, pre-departure preparations, as well as safety and security while abroad.

On-site: CIIE hosts thorough orientation before departure and at the start of the program in France.

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If you are interested in learning more about the program in Rennes, France for the fall semester, please contact:

CIIS OfficeCaitlin Hatz, Director of Off-Campus Programs - Questions about eligibility, program logistics, and other off-campus opportunities.

Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Maegan Bos - Questions about academics

Apply to Study in Rennes, France