Institute for American Universities (IAU)
Institute for American Universities (IAU) is an American institution of higher learning located in southern France offering study abroad opportunities and degree programs in various fields including Business Administration, International Affairs, Art & Art History and French Studies. Its main campus is in Aix-en-Provence, France, and satellite programs span throughout Spain, Morocco, and the United Kingdom. Established in 1957, IAU was one of the first American-style, English language, liberal arts educational institutions in Western Europe. It is chartered by the Regents of the State University of New York and is recognized by the Rectorat of Aix-Marseille University and the French Ministry of Education. IAU is often considered the oldest and largest study abroad program in Europe and the first institution to offer a study abroad program to those studying programs other than French language.
Aix-en-Provence is located in the southern region of France and is home to the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, The Marchutz School of Fine Arts, The School of Business & International Relations and The French Honors Program. While the city offers access to traditional French culture in an intimate setting, it is still able to maintain the charm and elegance of a large metropolis. The quaint town is known for its beloved painter, Paul Cezanne, who painted the surrounding landscape. Local excursions during both semester and summer programs provide students with an enhanced awareness of Provencal culture while giving them a unique and unparalleled French experience.
Academic Programs & Courses
IAU offers a wide breadth of courses taught in English and French in the following disciplines: Art, Art History, Archaeology, Anthropology, Arabic, Business, Communication Studies, Creative Writing, Cultural Studies, Drawing, Economics, Environmental Sciences, Finance, French, French Studies, Film Studies, Geography, History, International Relations, Journalism, Literature, Marketing, Neuroscience, Psychology, Painting, Political Science, Photography, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Sculpture, Sociology, Theatre, Wine Studies and more.
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January Term Courses
IAU's School of Humanities and Social Sciences allows students to enroll in liberal arts courses designed for all majors and levels of French proficiency. The school is comprised of a variety of course disciplines including archaeology, anthropology, art history, studio art, business, communication studies, cross-cultural studies, economics, finance, marketing, education, literature, history, political science, international relations, psychology, theatre, film studies, and French. IAU classrooms are full equipped with wifi, and students have access to reading rooms, on-campus libraries, computer rooms, faculty offices, and a student lounge.
IAU's School of Business & International Relations gives all semester and summer students the opportunity to take business courses while studying abroad in France. IAU business courses are approved by Fairfield University, an IAU partner institution whose Dolan School of Business is accredited through AACSB, The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Through the Business & International Relations Program, students will have the unique opportunity to learn about international business strategies and procedures with a specific focus on the global market. Disciplines taught include, but are not limited to, economics, finance, international business, management and marketing.
The Marchutz School of Fine Arts Core Arts Program takes an interdisciplinary and holistic approach to learning and creating fine art. Students will learn from a myriad of available resources including masterworks, architecture, figure and portrait work, landscape and cityscapes. Students attend class at a studio alongside the historic Route de Cezanne and coursework is complemented by local and regional excursions. Studio work is enhanced by museum excursions, seminar discussions and on-site painting sessions.
The French Honors Program is designed for French Majors or other students with demonstrated advanced-level French, interested in a comprehensive linguistic and cultural immersion program. The French Honors Program comprises three components which are complementary and aim to enable students to make the most of their studies in Aix-en-Provence.
- A weekly French Honors course (FRE/LIT/ ART 411/412)
- One hour per week follow-up session which integrates the themes of the student's chosen course with current sociocultural-political events in France
- Integrated activities and field studies
Click here for more information about Academics in Aix-en-Provence.
Excursions enable students to expand their understanding of Provence. The cost of excursions is included in the program fee and as such, students are strongly encouraged to participate. Students have the opportunity to travel to areas in the region on field trips and day excursions that complement classroom learning. Previous excursions have included trips to Paris, Geneva, Arles, Isle sur la Sorgue, Fontaine de Vaucluse, Les Baux de Provence, Avignon, Marseille and Nîmes.
Students also have opportunities to participate in semesterly lecture series, open-mic nights, cooking classes, language partner exchanges, talent shows, wine tastings and other cultural events with other IAU students and students from the local French universities.
IAU has an on-campus Wellness Program that gives students access to a staff psychologist and counselor. IAU staff have offices and office hours available to students as drop-ins or by appointment.
Adapting to a new culture involves not only learning the language and culture but also a better understanding of the work environment and how methods and habits may differ from student’s home setting. Business students will receive priority placement in internships and can expect to earn three credits. Visit our web site to see a list of internship opportunities.
IAU offers a week-long, early start option for students enrolled in IAU's semester program. Students who enroll will be able to meet local French and foreign students through IAU, attend lectures on local culture, participate in a hands on learning environment with small classes and personal attention and jump start the French immersion process.
Living in a French home is considered the best form of housing because it provides an immediate introduction to life in this new place. It is an incomparable opportunity for those who seek knowledge that is neither superficial nor second hand. It provides an introduction into the community and is a great incentive to learning the language. IAU’s hosts come from a cross section of society; they belong to no particular professional or social milieu, but all are carefully chosen and many have hosted American students for several years. Most of the rooms available with the hosts are approximately a 15 to 35 minute walk from classes. When living in French homes, students are on a demi-pension “plan.” This includes daily breakfast and six dinners per week. Bed linen, pillow, and blankets are provided, but not towels, and the room is cleaned weekly.
More information and online application
The Aix Center
A university town, Aix-en-Provence has been a center of study for French students since a university was founded there in the 15th century. More than forty thousand students live and study in the city. IAU's Aix Center is located in the heart of this academic community -- in the oldest part of town, next to the Institut d'Etudes Politiques and opposite the Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur.
Designed for all majors, the Aix Center is renowned for its founding philosophy of making it possible for students with beginning French language skills to study in France. The structure of its program, which combines French language study with a range of liberal arts courses taught in both English and French, has opened the doors of cross-cultural learning to thousands of students who would otherwise have been denied the opportunity to study abroad. Proud of this heritage, IAU continues to work with colleges and universities throughout the United States to create opportunities for all students.
IAU requires all students without prior background in French to take at least two introductory French language courses per semester in addition to their courses conducted in English. Intermediate-level French students complement at least one language course with liberal arts courses taught in English or French, while students with advanced French competency may elect to take all of their courses in French.
The neighboring French university, the Université d?Aix-Marseille I, provides additional enrichment opportunities. Local university students participate with IAU students in a language partners program of mutual English and French improvement, and with the approval of IAU?s academic dean, qualified IAU students may enroll in courses at the university. From their first encounter, Anglophone and Francophone students help one another by sharing their expertise in their native tongues. Students from the Aix Center may also take advantage of volunteer opportunities in local elementary schools.
At the Aix Center, the principal areas of study are French language and culture (introductory through advanced levels of language, civilization, and literature); art and archaeology, including art history and studio art; and European/international studies and social sciences (business, comparative literature, economics, education, government, history, philosophy, political science, and psychology). A current and complete list of course offerings is available online at http://www.iaufrance.org/Programs/Aix?AboutAix.
The renovated Chapelle des Pénitents Bleus serves as the headquarters of the Aix Center. Located in the heart of the old city of Aix, the chapel houses classrooms; a library with a permanent collection, electronic databases, and reading rooms; a student lounge, and administrative offices. Classes are also held in the presbytery next to the Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur as well as in a nearby townhouse directly facing the magnificent 13th century façade of the cathedral. The townhouse also contains IAU?s central administration. Wireless high-speed Internet access is available in and near the chapel and the townhouse.
Fall, Spring, Summer and Academic Year.
Homestays, including most meals with French host.
More information and online application