Sorbonne Université - Science Only

Sorbonne Université (SU) is the largest scientific and medical complex in France. It is a world-class research-intensive university currently ranked #1 in France (ranked 36th in the world), with over 53,000 students, a fifth of which are international (ARWU 2018; THE 2019)

Sorbonne has nearly 3500 professor-researchers, and is also the home of the European Marine Biological Research Centre. Sorbonne excels in the fields of natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

Key information


Paris, France




Fall, Winter, Academic year, Summer 

Program type

Exchange, Research

Application information

Application status


2024-2025 applications

First come first considered for limited remaining spaces until

Winter 2025: August 15, 2024

University-specific additional requirements

No reference letter required; minimum GPA 2.7. See Eligibility section below for details.

2025-2026 applications

Open November 1, 2024

Program details

  1. Exchange

    Areas of Study: The agreement with Sorbonne University is through their Faculty of Science and Engineering. As such, students have access to Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Science, Geology, Geophysics, Physics, Mathematics, and Neuroscience courses. Students in 3rd or 4th year may be able to take Masters-level courses, some of which are taught in English, and Lab experiences are also available. Sorbonne works on the ECTS system and 24-30 ECTS per term is standard. 6 ECTS = 1 U of C half course.

    There are very few classes offered in English and they are at the master's level ONLY, so students will need to be able to take courses in French. These courses may be open to students in 4th year of their undergrad. 

    Course requirements:
    In Europe, full-time course load is typically 30 ECTS (European credits), and exchange students are typically expected to take 24-30 credits per semester. 6 ECTS = 3 UCalgary units (1 half-course). 
    The amount of credits each course is worth corresponds to the workload/contact hours, and can vary from 1-30 ECTS per course, so please be mindful of this in your selection.

    The exchange agreement with Sorbonne falls under TASSEP. TASSEP is the Trans-Atlantic Science Student Exchange Program, a consortium designed specifically with the curricular needs of science students in mind. Canadian science students have access to a variety of European Partners in the consortium.

  2. Research (Chemistry)

    Sorbonne Université offers research placements in their Laboratory of Excellence in Chemistry. The different research themes can be found here. Most research placements are during summer, however, placements could also be arranged for Fall or Winter. Please inquire.

The academic year is divided into two terms. The first term runs from early September to late January. Second term runs from early February - early July.

Please Note: French visa applications for Canadians may require travel to the Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto VFS Visa center to submit the documentation and take biometrics as needed within 3 months before departure to France, so students may not have access to their passports during that time. 

The Summer Research Program usually runs for 2 months in summer.

  1. Costs

    Exchange students pay their tuition and academic fees to the University of Calgary. Other expenses are paid directly to the service provider. 

    For a rough guide to expenses at Sorbonne, visit their budget page.

    Paris cost comparison vs. Calgary: Click Here

    Also, don't forget to include things like visas, insurance, vaccinations etc in your budget planning. All students on exchange in France will have to pay roughly €215 for French social security on arrival, which covers some costs of medical care, but comprehensive travel medical coverage will still be required.

    Please Note: French visa applications may require travel to the Vancouver consulate to finalize your student visa and take biometrics as needed - please speak with the exchange advisor as soon as possible about whether this will be required for you.

    Students considering significant rail travel in France may want to purchase a Carte Jeune via French National Rail (SNCF), which allows for reduced travel for every journey over a year.

  2. Funding

    Did you know that you can take your UCalgary funding with you on exchange?   
    Since you remain a degree seeking student at UCalgary while on exchange you remain eligible for any awards and scholarships you are eligible to receive from the university as well as student loans.

    Our office administers several awards, including the Global Access Fund (based on a funding-first model where students apply prior to committing to a global learning program) and the Global Learning Award (students apply after being accepted to a global learning program; the amount varies year-to-year as the money is split among chosen recipients). Students may only receive these awards once. Please see the funding page, linked below, for more information.

    France - Housing Aid
    All students in France who rent housing with a contract, regardless of national origin, are eligible for a National Housing Aid from the ‘CAF’, Caisse d’Allocations Familiales. For the subsidy application, please make sure to bring a copy of your birth certificate.

    E. Catherine Barclay Scholarship
    The E. Catherine Barclay Scholarship is a generous award of $7500 granted to one outstanding full-time student, registered in any faculty at UCalgary, who has been accepted by us to study for a full academic year (French-taught courses only) on one of our official exchange programs.

TASSEP students should apply for accommodation at la Cité international universitaire de paris (CIUP) or arrange a private rental.

This exchange is open to regular, full-time students in the Faculty of Science, who have completed at least 1 full year (10 courses) at the post-secondary level, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 (B-).

Most courses at Sorbonne are taught in French. As such, applicants must have a command of French at the B2 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR) at a minimum, or have completed at least two 300-level or above courses in French. Certification of language proficiency may be required. Students do have the opportunity to take French language courses during their stay.

Research (Chemistry):

Research applicants should be majoring in Chemistry and have completed at least 2 years at the undergraduate level, with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0. Previous research experience is an asset but not required. Summer research placements are available in English or French.

Do I need to speak French?

Yes. Since course instruction is mostly in French, it is required - most students will need to speak and write in French at this institution, and in some cases provide certification of their fluency level, even if taking a couple of courses in English. However, for students who still want to improve their language abilities, there are several supports.

Are there French Language Classes?

Yes! Sorbonne offers French classes during each semester for exchange students, at a variety of fluency levels. Students coming for second (Winter) term can take a 2-week intensive French course offered in January as well (not offered in September).

What supports does Sorbonne offer?

Sorbonne provides a customized welcome program to all incoming students and staff that can help with matters such as finding accommodation, resolving visa issues or applying for a residency permit, and providing helpful info on Paris and France.  

Students with accessibility or athletic needs like extended time for exams, tutoring, or adjustment of class schedules can also find support at Sorbonne. For information on accessibility of campuses across Europe, ESN has created "Inclusive Mobility" which allows you to check the accessibility of universities and cities across Europe. For city-specific services and places in Europe, the Jaccede interactive platform (website and/or smartphone app - both Android and iOS) also provides a searchable user-built database to identify important accessibility information of public places and locations.

Have questions?

Global Learning 101

Please watch this short YouTube playlist before reaching out or booking an appointment. In these videos, you will learn much of the basics about Global Learning, which may answer your initial questions.

Watch Global Learning 101

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how this program might align with your degree (e.g. best time to go, what courses you need).

After you are accepted, you should ask your academic advisor more specific questions about courses/transfer credits. It’s also recommended to follow up with your advisor again once you return to Calgary.

Find your academic advisor

Global Learning Advising

If you have questions, please reach out to our office! We offer drop-in advising for general inquiries, and if you have questions about this specific program or any others, you can book an appointment with the responsible advisor.

Please use the link below to find the most up-to-date information about our current advising options.

View the Global Learning Advising page

The exchange advisor for this program is: Tara Jorgensen

How to Apply

Download the application guide

This PDF contains information on how to complete your application and what to do after you have applied.

Application guide

Identify three programs of interest

We recommend applying for your top three programs for the priority application deadline, as placement may be competitive. We will assess your applications in ranked order.

Check requirements and deadlines

These may vary by program, so check the individual program pages and make sure that you are aware of any different application deadlines or eligibility requirements.

Start your application

Once you have gathered everything you need, you can begin your application!

Please note: Applications will not be considered complete until all required documents are submitted in full.


International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular global learning program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Global Learning Advisors will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

If you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Global Learning Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.

Please note: All participants must adhere to COVID-19 and other vaccination-related requirements for the destinations visited on this program. Failure to do so may have consequences such as being denied access to accommodation/housing, program activities, or to the host country itself.