Students participating in the Discovery Strasbourg program will enjoy a rich and varied introduction to France through a challenging semester-long curriculum. The program fulfills the same curricular requirements as those pursued by freshmen studying on Syracuse University’s main campus, while providing a course schedule unique to the Strasbourg experience. Upon return to Syracuse in the spring semester, Discovery Strasbourg participants will be on equal footing academically with their main campus peers.


CAS 101 – First Year Forum (1 credit)

This seminar welcomes new students to Syracuse University. The course helps you develop closer relationships with peers and an instructor and eases the entrance into University life. Special topics will introduce and orient you to Strasbourg and France and discuss adjusting to a new culture.

FRE 101 – French I (4 credits)

Introductory proficiency-based course that prepares you to understand, speak, read, and write in culturally authentic contexts. Meets four days per week. Activities are conducted in French. Other levels of French language instruction are available for students with some degree of proficiency. Your placement in a French class will be determined upon arrival in Strasbourg.

HST 200.1 – Of Barricades and Baguettes: Understanding Modern France (3 credits)

This course will introduce you to the history of France since the French Revolution. The journey through France’s past will be both chronological and thematic, to give students an understanding of how major events and processes have shaped French society, culture, politics, and identities right up to the present day. Taking advantage of Strasbourg’s unique surroundings, coursework will be supplemented with visits to the city’s European institutions and to key historical and cultural sites in the Alsace region, as well as to Paris. You will thus have the opportunity to experience history first-hand, gaining a better understanding of France’s past through Strasbourg’s multiple identities as a French, European, and formerly German imperial city. We will also consider the importance of public memory and commemoration in France, as well as foreign perceptions of France. This course satisfies a Liberal Arts Core requirement for social sciences. Students may not take this course and HST 360 on the main campus.

WRT 105 – Studio 1: Practices of Academic Writing (3 credits)

In WRT 105, you will focus on critical analysis and argument, practices that are central to the academic work in universities and in professional careers. The course will involve you in a shared topic of inquiry—an urgent issue that requires multiple points of view and kinds of knowledge— that you will engage with through readings, a range of informal and formal writing assignments, a modest amount of database and web research, and a lot of conversation with your classmates. You will compose for different audiences and experiment with a range of rhetorical approaches. You will learn to revise and refine your ideas with the feedback and suggestions of peers and the instructor. You will deepen your reading practices as you read both popular and academic essays. The course is structured on a studio model so that each and every day in class you and your peers will collaborate on, discuss, and share texts and ideas, and you will invent, compose, and revise in and outside of class. This course satisfies a Liberal Arts Core requirement for writing.

Optional Courses

You will round out your schedule by selecting one of the following optional courses:

REL 356/PSC 456 – Religion and Conflicts in Contemporary Europe (3 credits)

With the collapse of Communism, many people believed that conflict in Europe between differing worldviews was a thing of the past. Unfortunately, intolerance, discrimination, and renewed conflicts based on religion have shown this judgment to be premature. In this course we will examine the continent’s long history of religious conflict, and especially the ways in which local and global religious tensions have developed in recent years. We will also look at the ways in which contemporary religious leaders and communities of all faiths are profoundly involved in attempts to find solutions to these problems, together with such institutions as the European Union, the Council of Europe, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and will include discussions with representatives of various religious groups in Strasbourg. This course satisfies a Liberal Arts Core requirement for humanities (REL 356) or social sciences (PSC 456).

LIT 301 – French Cinema versus Hollywood (3 credits)

The French often speak of l’Exception Culturelle – their tradition of cultural difference and autonomy – and this term is most often invoked in discussions about French cinema. What makes French cinema distinctive? Why does this industry often insist on its uniqueness and its difference from Hollywood? To what extent do movies reveal different cultural values and different ways of seeing the world? Are there forms of censorship that apply in one country but not in the other? The course compares the ways in which France and Hollywood treat common themes or genres through lectures, discussions, readings, and film screenings. French films shown with English subtitles. This course satisfies a Liberal Arts Core requirement for humanities.

PSC 350/HST 415 – Europe, Russia and the Eastern Borderlands (3 credits)

The importance of Europe’s eastern borderlands is linked to the current expansion of the European Union eastward, resulting in a new status for a host of countries situated between the Baltic and the Black Sea. In this new configuration, Russia will play an important, though different, role than hitherto, especially when it comes to forging a new relationship with the EU. The first part of the course focuses on the historical question of borders and territorial change, the construction of nations, and the emergence and collapse of empires. The second part examines general problems common to all of these post-communist countries and specific questions of geopolitical character. This course satisfies a Liberal Arts Core requirement for social sciences.

All School Field Trips

During the semester, there will be a number of all-school field trips that provide students, including Discovery Strasbourg participants, the opportunity to learn about the history, art, architecture, and culture of France through traveling to other cities and regions of the country.