Les Sciences à Paris

France has a long and illustrious tradition in the sciences and mathematics, and a vibrant scientific community. So it’s fitting that Smith’s first study-abroad program targeted specifically to students in the sciences, mathematics and engineering will be housed at Smith’s Paris JYA campus.

As part of its commitment to forge students capable of participating in a global community, Smith’s Lewis Global Studies Center is introducing a new study-abroad option, Les Sciences à Paris (SAP), which began this academic year.

“Science is a collaborative undertaking, and increasingly, those collaborations involve scientists from many different countries,” explains Robert Dorit, professor of biological sciences and director of JYA Paris in 2012-13. “Despite the notion that science is an objective and impartial undertaking, it is also one more way for human beings to make sense of the world. Like any other intellectual endeavor, it is influenced by the culture in which it unfolds.”

As a result, Dorit suggests, “It is important for American students to be exposed to the scientific culture of another country.”

The new yearlong program, which runs from late August to early June, enables students in the sciences to pursue their majors and study in Paris by providing curricular and research opportunities suitable for their areas of academic focus.

The SAP, a coed program open to Smith and Five College students, as well as students from other schools, is intended for those majoring in scientific disciplines, mathematics, computer science or engineering, as well as students seeking to fulfill premed requirements. Applicants are expected to have completed a minimum of one year of college-level French language, to meet stringent minimal grade-point average requirements, and to have demonstrated commitment to their intellectual undertakings, Dorit says.

Students accepted into the program will work with an advisory board of Smith faculty and with their own advisers to design a program of study in Paris. Participating students intending to go to medical or graduate school will have an array of appropriate courses to choose from at Smith partner institutions in Paris, in disciplines such as biology, chemistry, mathematics and statistics, geology, environmental sciences, computer science, physics, neurobiology and psychology, and others. SAP students will also have access to intensive training in French language. Also, in-house offerings focusing on the role of culture in the scientific process, research design, and scientific controversies will further enrich participants’ experience, Dorit emphasizes.

Students in the SAP program will be eligible for a variety of research internship opportunities in their scientific disciplines.

Finally, as part of the JYA program, SAP students will join an immersion francophone program and live with a host French family in Paris, providing them with an opportunity to experience French life and culture and to explore France and other areas of Europe.

The Smith JYA program is the longest continuously running American program in Paris.