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Maryland-in-Nice Academic Overview

Academic Program

The Maryland-in-Nice academic program is designed to promote cultural and linguistic immersion. Offered by the Department of French and Italian and in partnership with Centre Universitaire d' Etudes en Français Langue Étrangère (C.U.E.F.L.E.), a department of the Université de Nice, it is a hybrid program. This means that some of your credit is conferred by the University of Maryland, while some is transferred directly from the Université de Nice.

Students working towards the French minor can often complete the entire minor in one semester in Nice (12 to 18 credits of the 18 credit minor depending on the student’s current level). Students working towards the French major typically complete half of the required major credits (18 out of 36 credit hours) in one semester

Students studying for a semester on the program will enroll in 18 credits comprised of the following courses:
UMD Resident Credit Courses Credits
FREN399A or FREN499X: Directed Study in French 3
CUEFFLE Transfer Credit Courses  
French Language (language level determined by placement) 9
French Civilization (Savoir culturels) 3
French elective (Savoirs disciplinaires) 3

Full year students will take 18 credits in the fall semester and 15 in the spring. The spring course load is reduced because they do not take the Directed Study in French course with the Resident Director during their second semester abroad.

Course Descriptions

FREN399A or FREN499X: Directed Study in French is a living and learning course that takes advantage of the unique cultural and linguistic resources offered to Maryland-in-Nice students. Visits to museums and sites, theater plays, current films and news, trips to other regions of France provide the basis for discussions and assignments selected by the instructor. This course is designed to allow students to take full advantage of their discovery and understanding of French culture and history, while strengthening their oral comprehension, reading, writing, and speaking skills. Separate assignments and additional coursework will be given to students in the 499 section.

Note: Enrollment in FREN399A or FREN499X will be based upon results from the placement exam. When class size exceeds capacity, FREN399A will be taught by an adjunct faculty resident in Nice. Full year students enroll in this course in the fall semester only.

CUEFLE Courses: A couple of months before arriving in Nice, the CUEFLE assigns students a preliminary placement exam which assigns a language level. During the first week of the semester, students take a second placement test which formally confirms their language placement or moves them to another level. The results of the second exam will place students in one of three levels of coursework:
  • Premier degré (1er degré)   Intermediate A2-B1*
  • Deuxième degré (2ème degré)   Advanced B2
  • Troisième degré (3ème degré)   Superior C1-C2**
Students enroll a block of language courses, civilization and elective courses. Syllabi for the civilization and elective courses will be available at the start of each semester. You can see an example of course descriptions for French Civilization courses offered for B2/C1/C2 levels here. 

*Students who test into A2/B1 also enroll in ateliers, which are designed to supplement students' language studies in the Premier Degre. The University of Maryland does not accept the ateliers for academic credit.   

**In order to place into the 3ème degré, a student must perform very well on the placement exam, demonstrating a very strong command of both written and oral French.  The 3ème degré closely resembles the French university system.  Most classes are based on lecture, rather than discussion.  Students who place into the second track within the 3eme degree (C2) have the opportunity to take classes at the Faculté de Lettres at the Université de Nice.

Premier degré A2, B1 (equivalent to 200 or 300-level FREN courses at UMD)*
Course Type Credit Description
French Language 9 6 hours written instruction and 3 hours oral comprehension and workshops. You will choose two courses on French civilization and culture. Examples include The equivalent to 200 or 300 level FREN courses at UMD)

Deuxième degré B2 (equivalent to 400-level FREN courses at UMD)
Course Credit Description
French language 9 8 hours of writing, grammar, and conversation
French Civilization
(Savoir culturels)
3 Choice of one:
  • Histoire du cinema français
  • Histoire de l’architecture
  • Histoire de la peinture
  • La France de l’Ancien Régime aux Révolutions
  • Europe et les institutions européennes
  • Géographie économique et sociale
  • Lieux et acteurs du tourisme en France
  • La société française contemporaine
  • La société française contemporaine à travers le cinéma 
  • Découverte du patrimoine architectural niçois
Elective course
 (Savoirs disciplinaires)
3 Choice of one:
  • Littérature (Literature)
  • Francais des affaires et institutions politiques (Legal French & French for Economics)

Troisième degree C1 -  C2 (equivalent to 400-level FREN courses at UMD)*
Course Credit Description
French language 9 2 hours writing, 2 hours grammar, 2 hours conversation
French Civilization
(Savoir culturels)
3 Choice of one:
  • Histoire du cinéma français
  • Histoire de l’architecture (C1 Only)
  • Histoire de la peinture (C1 Only)
  • La France de l’Ancien Régime aux Révolutions
  • Europe et les institutions européennes
  • Géographie économique et sociale
  • Lieux et acteurs du tourisme en France
  • La société française contemporaine (C1 Only)
  • La société française contemporaine à travers le cinéma
  • Découverte du patrimoine architectural niçois
Elective course
(Savoirs disciplinaires)
3 Students in the C1 level will choose between one of the following electives:
  • Littérature (Literature)
  • Français des affaires et institutions politiques (Legal French & French for Economics)
Students in the C2 level have the choice between the following elective below or directly enrolling in a course offered through a partnering department of the Université de Nice Faculté de Lettres (Modern and Classical Humanities; Information and Communication Sciences). Any student given this opportunity should work closely with the Resident Director in order to find courses that best fit his or her academic schedule.


Sequence of semesters for Year Students: Students studying at the CUEFLE for the full year may have the opportunity to improve their placement level for the second semester.  Students who pass the final exam for the 1er degré will move to the 2ème degré for the second semester.  Similarly, those who pass the final exam for the 2ème degré will move into the 3ème degré.

NOTE: Per university policy, UMD credit will only be granted for language courses taken at or above level of French already received at UMD. Credit will not be awarded for repeated courses or courses at a level lower than that already received at UMD (e.g. a student who has received credit for FREN301 may not earn credit for any 200-level equivalent course at the U de Nice). Students who test into A1-B1 can only apply 12 credits towards their French major/minor. Placement in specific levels cannot be guaranteed by UMD. For additional information on this policy, please refer to the UMD Academic Catalogue.

Credit & Grading


The Maryland-in-Nice program is a hybrid credit program. This means that upon completion of the program, students will receive two types of credit resident credit (RC) and transfer credit (TC).

Resident Credit: Courses refer to the UMD courses (FREN399A/499X)  that will show up on the UMD registration and for which you will receive a grade that is factored into your UMD cumulative GPA. Non-UMD students will receive a transcript from the University of Maryland for these courses.

Transfer Credit: Courses taken at the Université de Nice will be considered for transfer credit. Equivalents for transfer credits and applicability to degree will be determined by your academic advisor. Non-UMD students will receive a Université de Nice transcript for these courses While the grades for transfer credit courses are not factored into your cumulative GPA, the following conditions apply to all transfer credits:

    (1)    You may NOT take courses on a Pass/Fail basis.
    (2)    You must receive the equivalent of a C or better (8/20 or above) in a given subject in order for the course credit to transfer to UMD. Please refer to the grading scale below.
    (3)    According to the French Department, French majors and minors must earn a 10/20 in order to fulfill requirements for their French degrees.

At the end of the semester, CUEFLE will provide transcripts to Education Abroad for evaluation. EA will post any resident credit grades and evaluate transfer course for credit. Please note that these are typically available no earlier than 1-2 months after the end of the program.


The French grading system is on a numeric scale of 0 through 20.  In the French system, the only grades that count are those given for grading opportunities taken in class i.e. final exams. Accordingly, there is often not as much formal homework assigned during the semester as in the United States, and final exams typically carry significantly more weight on students' final grades than the American system.
Maryland-in-Nice Grading Scale
French Grade Approximate US Grade Equivalency
20-17 A
16-13 B
12-8 C
7-0 D/F

Université de Nice

The Université de Nice is a public French university with an approximate of enrollment of 25,000 students. The Université de Nice is divided into four separate campuses spread throughout the city and suburbs of Nice. Maryland-in-Nice participants will attend classes at the Carlone campus, which is on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean and a short bus ride from downtown Nice. In addition to the CUEFLE, the Unité de Formation et de Recherche Lettres, Arts et Sciences Humaines (UFR LASH) and UFR Espaces et Cultures are also located at this campus.

The Carlone campus provides students access to a library, languages resources center as well as student services offices for sports and athletic activities.