Columbia Summer in Paris: Art Humanities and Music Humanities

Language of Instruction: English
Term: Summer

Learn how to look and listen more deeply by simultaneously taking Art Humanities and Music Humanities together in one of the foundational artistic cities of Western culture.

Combining these two Core courses into a single experience offers the opportunity for a rich exchange between the multiple contexts of Western artistic and musical creation. Open to Columbia undergraduate students, this is a special opportunity to take the courses in Columbia’s Core that pertain to the arts while studying abroad in a city particularly suited to artistic investigation.

Program Overview

  • Take both Art Humanities and Music Humanities in 6 weeks
  • Distinct disciplinary focus with overlapping emphasis on Parisian musical and visual cultures
  • Shared concerts, museum visits, and trips to important sites in the region
  • Live and study with other Columbia undergraduates in a Parisian student residence
  • 3 points of credit for each course appearing on Columbia transcript

Eligibility and Application

  • Must be a currently enrolled student in Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, or the School of General Studies
  • May not have taken Art Humanities or Music Humanities
  • All students must meet the basic requirements for studying abroad: a 3.0 cumulative GPA and good academic and disciplinary standing in their home school; and
  • Though French is not required, some study in the language is highly recommended and may be considered in the admissions process

How to Apply

Want to apply? Click the “Start Your Application” button above. If the button doesn't appear above, the program is not yet accepting applications. You will be asked to set up a short profile, which will allow us to send you relevant information about your application. Once you’ve created a profile, you will see a checklist of items that you will need to submit. These generally include:

  • Application questionnaire(s)
    • Personal Statement
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • Official transcript(s)

NOTE: This program includes an interview process for admission.


Note: The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.

Humanities O1121. Masterpieces of Western Art. 3 points
Art Humanities teaches students how to look at, think about, and engage in critical discussion of the visual arts. The course focuses on the formal structure of works of architecture, painting, and other media, as well as the historical context in which these works were made and understood. In addition to discussion-based classes like those held in New York, Art Humanities in Paris will make extensive use of the city through field trips to museums, buildings, and monuments.

Humanities O1123. Masterpieces of Western Music. 3 points
The focus of Music Humanities is the masterpieces of Western art music in their historical and cultural contexts. The specific goals of the course are to awaken and encourage an appreciation of Western music, to help the student learn to respond intelligently to a variety of musical idioms, and to engage the student in the issues of various debates about the character and purposes of music that have occupied composers and musical thinkers since ancient times. Students become actively involved in the process of critical listening both in the classroom and in the live performances that are as central to the course in Paris as in New York. Using a “great works” approach, the course will look at the changing genres and styles of music, examining composers’ choices and assumptions, as well as those of their patrons and audiences, as it moves chronologically from the Middle Ages to the present.

**Please note that attendance at all class meetings, concerts, and excursions, unless otherwise indicated, is mandatory.

Academic Schedule

For each section, Art and Music courses will alternate from Monday-Thursday. All classes meet from 9:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.

Required site visits will take place on several days per week in the late afternoon and evening, and on some Fridays and Saturdays. In addition, the Music Humanities class will attend two evening musical performances together. Because of the intensive nature of the course and the number of excursions outside of class, students should not plan any weekend travel in advance.

Life in Paris


All students will be housed together in double rooms at a residence in Paris. It is required that you live in the program housing.


No meals are included and there is no meal plan. However, there are grocery stores, boulangeries, fromageries, and charcuteries where students can buy food for casual dining.

There are several low-budget travel guides that give information about where to eat in Paris, as well as many blogs devoted to eating in Paris. We recommend taking the time to do some research beforehand if you are unsure about what to expect.


The program already has many course-related activities that will help students engage with the cultural life of Paris. Instructors will also organize a few social events. However, students are encouraged to take advantage of the many student discounts available to them and to explore Paris on their own. In addition, the Columbia Global Center has many activities throughout the summer that are open to students on the program free of charge.

Daily Living and Schedule

This program has a very full schedule and students should expect to devote most of their time in Paris to the program and complementary activities. Class is every morning and Fridays and weekends are reserved for excursions. Students will spend a lot of time with each other and the instructors of the course.


Columbia Global Centers|Paris at Reid Hall is the home base of the program and where you will take all of your classes. Reid Hall is a small group of buildings owned and administered by Columbia. It also serves as an educational center for other American universities and for scholars from around the world. For over a century, its long and distinguished past of intellectual, artistic, and cultural exchange has made it significant to the relationship between France and the United States.

Located in the lively Montparnasse (sixth) district of Paris, near the Luxembourg Gardens and within walking distance of the Latin Quarter and several branches of the University of Paris, Reid Hall was constructed in the early 18th century, before the French Revolution. Modern additions have enlarged the facility, creating an interior courtyard and private garden. Reid Hall primarily houses administrative offices and classrooms and also has a small reference library, a reading room, lounges, a multimedia lab, and two large conference rooms. Students have access to WiFi in all common areas of Reid Hall.



Summer 2017

Susan Boynton is Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music, and has served as Director of Music Humanities. She is a recipient of the Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award (2016). With Professor Robert Harrist, Boynton taught the first session of the summer Art and Music Humanities program in Paris in 2015, and is teaching Music Humanities concurrently with a linked section of Art Humanities at Columbia with Professor Harrist in spring 2017. Boynton's research interests include medieval music and liturgy, monasticism, troubadour song, manuscript studies, liturgical drama, music and childhood, and the relationship between music and the visual arts. Her most recent publication is the award-winning coedited volume Resounding Images: Medieval Intersections of Art, Music, and Sound (2015).

Robert E. Harrist, Jr. is the Jane and Leopold Swergold Professor of Chinese Art. A former Chairman of the Department of Art History and Archaeology and former Director of Art Humanities, he is the recipient of a Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award. He has published books and articles on Chinese painting, calligraphy, and gardens, as well as on topics such as replicas in Chinese art, clothing in 20th-century China, and contemporary artists such as Xu Bing. Harrist's most recent book, The Landscape of Words, which studies the role of language in shaping perceptions of the natural world, was awarded the Joseph Levenson Prize in 2010.

Anne Higonnet is Professor of Art History at Barnard College, Columbia University. In 2016, she was the recipient of Barnard's Tow award for outstanding and innovative teaching. She has taught Art Humanities, and at Reid Hall. She is the author of books on the French Impressionist Berthe Morisot, on the history of childhood, and on the history of museums. She has also coordinated a book-scale exhibition, print catalogue, and website project on the New York City public sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington. Her work has been supported by the Gould, Getty, Guggenheim, Howard, and Mellon Foundations, as well as the Social Science Research Council. Most recently, she published an essay on a French portrait at the Met, set in Paris, In January, she becomes the art editor of the online book review Public Books.

Peter Susser, who joined the Department of Music as Director of Undergraduate Musicianship in 2011, has a long association with Columbia, where he earned his Doctorate of Music (DMA) and where he has taught as an adjunct instructor for many years. As a composer and producer, Dr. Susser has been commissioned by a variety of orchestras, ensembles and soloists including the Queen’s Chamber Band, the Sage City and New Amsterdam Symphonies, and Speculum Musicae. He is on the faculties of Columbia University and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA). In 1990, Dr. Susser was a resident of the MacDowell Colony. He received his DMA in composition from Columbia University and holds a Master’s Degree in cello performance from the Manhattan School of Music, where he won the Pablo Casals Prize and the Ravel Competition. His music is available on Albany and Capstone Records.

Financial Considerations

Program Fee Summer 2017: $9,750
Includes tuition, housing, local transportation, course-required excursions.

Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses for Program Duration: $3,230
Please note that out-of-pocket expenses are estimates and will vary considerably by student.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

If you are on financial aid, check to see if it can be applied to your study abroad. In general summer financial aid is not available to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering students, but may be available to School of General Studies students.

Funding Your Summer in Paris

There are currently no opportunities that are specifically targeted for this program. Please visit our primary Financial Considerations page for information about finding scholarships for summer study abroad.

Fact Sheet

Language of Instruction:

Dates & Deadlines

Application Deadline: 
Thursday, February 1, 2018
Admissions Decision Date: 
Thursday, March 1, 2018
Program Dates: 
Friday, June 15, 2018 to Saturday, July 28, 2018