A university town, Poitiers boasts a population of 85,000 within a larger metropolitan area of 140,000 and offers students a chance to live in a smaller city while still being close to the larger cities such as Paris and Bordeaux.  The Université de Poitiers is a comprehensive university comprised of 23,000 students taking courses in 14 different colleges, institutes and schools.  Poitiers is located in the storied western region of France, in close proximity to the Loire Valley and its châteaux, the Atlantic coast, Basque country, and Normandy, with Paris less than two hours by train.

This program allows students to enroll in either French language courses or regular university courses in many fields of study, taught entirely in French. Some University of Poitiers courses are also available in English. Students interested in a full schedule of direct enroll courses should complete at least third year college-level French. Minimum GPA required by host program: 2.75 GPA.


Find Poitiers program classes: (Classes are called "Cours")

The Poitiers program is ideal for students in a variety of majors who have a strong base in French language and are hoping to experience cultural immersion in the French context. It is a unique opportunity for students to improve their French proficiency and take courses for their major, minor or general education requirements within a French university.

Most students make use of the language institute courses at the Centre de Français Langue Étrangère (CFLE), which offers intensive training in French language skills at all levels. Students whose French skills are sufficient may select from direct enrollment courses in a variety of fields in the humanities, social and natural sciences. Most students who arrive in Poitiers with three years of college-level French completed are ready for direct enrollment from the first semester, whereas students who arrive with two years college French completed enroll in CFLE courses.

The fall semester begins with an intensive one-week cultural and linguistic orientation called a Stage. During the Stage, students complete a language skills evaluation that determines CFLE placement levels and/or confirms that students are ready for direct enrollment in general university courses taught in French. In spring semester student enroll directly into CFLE or University of Poitiers courses.

With opportunities for engagement in the local community and options to take studio art courses at Les Beaux Arts de Poitiers, the program offers unique aspects unavailable in other locations.


Students stay with a host family which provides an opportunity for cultural and linguistic immersion. A majority of meals are included.


The Poitiers program is available as a fall or spring semester. In general, the fall semester begins in late August and ends in mid-December. The spring semester begins in early January and ends in late May. NOTE: Students are required to attend an all-day pre-departure orientation session conducted by IE3 Global. This session is held at the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, Oregon.


Please see the Willamette Sponsored Programs Cost Matrix for detailed explanation of the cost of each program. If considering the program in Poitiers talk to an OIE advisor about the French Visa application process in your advising session.

Pre-Departure Resources

Willamette University

Office of International Education

Global Learning Center
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

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