Course Load

Students take the equivalent of four courses per semester that must equate to a full load of four courses/credits at Hamilton College or other American institutions. A full course in France carries five to six European Credit Transcript System (ECTS) or more (see credits below). With permission of the director, students may over-elect by one course during one semester. Because of expectations from sending schools, students cannot be enrolled in less than four credits. 

Note that because some courses carry fewer than five ECTS (thus receive a half credit), it may be necessary for students to take more than four courses to earn the equivalent to their home institution full load.

The expectation is that all students take at least one university course and one HiF course. Students at the 4th semester level in French may be allowed to take all HiF courses. 

Regular attendance at all classes is expected and is factored in the final grade. Deadlines for dropping classes vary at different institutions and will be communicated to students at the start of the semester.


Examination periods vary according to Paris institutions but usually take place at the end of the first semester and in mid to late May. In addition, shorter examinations, papers and reports are scheduled during the year. The examinations are given either by the professors of the institutes and schools, or by professors appointed by the resident director, or a combination of both.

Grades and Credits

Like French students, HiF students will normally be graded according to the French system, from 0 to 20. At the end of the academic year, grades are converted into letter grades equivalent to those used in the United States according to a conversion table that takes into account the French institution where courses were taken.

The number of credits recommended for each course depends on contact hours and the amount and nature of the work required. Hamilton follows the ECTS (European Credit Transcript System) which standardizes course credits throughout the European university system and guarantees accuracy and fairness in credit recommendations. Some courses require a mandatory tutorial.

Students who are not Hamilton students are registered as special students and must meet all Hamilton standards.

Certificates and Diplomas

French majors and students intending to use French in their future careers are encouraged to earn one of the certificates offered by Parisian institutions. Additional information regarding which certificates will be available in Paris.

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