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Programs : Brochure

Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: French Language Prerequisite: 5 semesters of college level language (or equivalent)
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0 Credit Available For: College, Huntsman, Wharton
Other Eligibility Requirements: Grades of B or better in French Type of Program: Semester/Year Study Abroad
Housing Options: Homestay Application Deadline: Fall/Year: March 1, Spring: October 1
Program Description:

Program Snapshot

Penn Semester in Lyon

Created in 1973 following the reorganization of Lyon universities, the Université Lumière-Lyon 2 is one of the city's three public universities. Lyon 2 specializes in Arts and Letters, and the Human Sciences and Social Sciences, providing multidisciplinary education in six faculties and is the home of eight institutes including the Institut d'Etudes Politiques (IEP), also known as Sciences Po.  The Penn Semester in Lyon program gives students the opportunity to directly enroll in courses at Lyon 2, including IEP.
For additional information, visit the Lyon 2 and IEP websites.
The City of Lyon

Located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France, Lyon is nestled at the junction of the Rhône and Saône rivers and is the second most populous metropolitan area in the country, Paris being the first.  Since Roman times, Lyon has played an important role in France’s history and culture and the city’s ancient past is still reflected it’s cobble stone streets, Renaissance mansions, and quaint market areas.  Its contemporary relevance however, also shines through in its vibrant cultural offerings, expansive shopping streets, and modern buildings.

Did you know…?

If France is the gastronomic capital of the world, then Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France.  The city is famous for its cuisine and boasts an impressive number of prestigious restaurants, bistros, and cafes.  



The Penn Semester in Lyon is for College and Wharton credit. 

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

Language Prerequisite: Grades of B or better in all French courses.  Successful completion of at least French 202 by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure.  


Language of Instruction


A full course load on the Penn Semester in Lyon program consists of 30 ECTS credits (typically 4-5 courses) per semester.  Since Penn students, unlike regular students, are permitted to choose courses in different faculties and at different levels simultaneously, only advisors on site are able to determine the proper weighting of course work in different subjects.

Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level.

In addition to regular semester courses, all students are required to complete an intensive pre-semester French language course prior to the start of classes. 

Grading Scale
As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average.  The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. For more information on Penn Abroad’s academic policies, click here.

French university grades are awarded on a 20 point scale (including decimal points, e.g. 13.5). The scale is not based on an equal distribution of points nor on a percentage.

Grades are reported to Penn on the Lyon 2 scale and then converted to Penn grades according to the following grade equivalencies:
Lyon Grade Penn Grade
14-20 A
13+ A-
12+ B+
11+ B
10+ B-
9+ C+
8+ C
7+ C-
6+ D

Special Features

BLL Special FeaturesOrientation Activities

All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by the Penn Semester in Lyon prior to the start of each semester. 

Language Courses

All Penn students are required to complete an intensive pre-semester French language course prior to the start of classes.  Students who need to work further on their French language skills will continue taking a language class during the semester.

Internship Opportunities

Spring semester students have the possibility of internship placement during the semester, which may or may not be extended into the summer months.  Interested students should apply in the first semester and provide an idea of their interests. This experience provides the student with the opportunity to study and to work in France, thus adding another dimension to the cultural and linguistic immersion.BLL Special Features

Please note that internships domains are limited and may not be remunerated.

Student Associations

Penn students studying at Lyon 2 have access to a wide range of student activities and associations. 


BLL Streets
Participants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.

Students are required to live in homestays organized by the program.  Host families provide breakfast, dinner, and weekend meals to students.  The location of homestays can vary significantly and students should expect to have a commute of 20-60 minutes to get to the Lyon 2 academic buildings.

Cost and Finance

Penn Abroad Financial Policies

Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs.  Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare.  Please see the program budget sheets below for more information.  For more on Penn Abroad’s financial policies, click here.

Financial Aid and Study Abroad

In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs.  Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. For more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad, click here.

Budget Sheets

Academic Year

Scholarship Opportunities

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Competition for awards for study abroad, for US citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university. 

Next Steps

For information on the Penn Abroad application process, click here.

To open an application or learn more about the program, please click here to schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager.

For a student perspective on life and academics in Lyon, contact a Penn Abroad Past-Participant or Exchange Student.