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Academics

Fall Semester 

Dates: Beginning Sept - mid-Dec.

Credits: 30 ECTS (15 US credits) - If you have any major or distribution requirements that require you to complete a minimum of three credit to fulfill that requirement, it is important to discuss with your academic/faculty advisor about being able to meet that requirement if one of the courses taken at ISARA will not meet that full three credits (i.e. course that is worth 3 ECTS is only 1.5 US credits). 

Students select one of two semester study programs:

  • Agroecology Semester: Learn project management and expand on application of agroecological science in real-world situations.
    • Students will visit different stakeholders to analyze specific question on landscape and agricultural management such as constraints and potentials of the prevailing cropping and livestock production systems, or landscape and biodiversity management systems.
    • In the second module, students will gain applied knowledge on different agroecological cropping practices such as conservation tillage, direct seeding, intercropping, cover crops, and biological control.
    • The third module deals with the world ecosystems and their prevailing agricultural systems, but also with influencing factors such as economy, politics, land tenure or social issues. Students will learn which resource conservation techniques are feasible in the different agroecosystems, but also what role indigenous knowledge of farmers plays in traditional and modern agriculture.
    • The fourth module deals with the management of agroecosystems and implication from policies and nature conservation. Topics dealt with are for example agri-environment measures, international conventions impacting agriculture, protected areas and agriculture, and ecological corridors in agricultural landscapes.
    • In the project management module, students will deal with different real -life projects. In groups they will analyze a demand from an external client or a research project during the whole semester. The objectives are to use different methodological and project management tools, and to apply disciplinary knowledge acquired in previous courses.
  • Sustainable Development in Food Industries Semester: Apply sustainable development in food production units.
    • Students will acquire this knowledge from lectures, personal research work and literature, external conferences on hot topics (e.g. eco-conception,...) and apply them within real-life group projects proposed by food organizations.
    • At the start of the module students will participate in a 4-day study trip in a European country to compare European approaches of sustainable food processes. Teaching is given by professors from ISARA-Lyon but also by advisors and professionals from the food sector, in order to provide the students with a variety of operational points of views on the subject. The objective is to provide openness on international food issues including country-wise and cultural differences.
    • Based on the knowledge and skills acquired, the students organize debates on various hot topics. In this respect, they should be careful to cover the wide spectrum of each issue (e.g. economic, environmental and social aspects of the question). Examples of topics debated: Can we feed the world with insects? The history and perspectives of blue-collar work in the food industry… Throughout the module, creativity tools will be used for problem solving or business creation perspectives.
    • Students learn to put together technical knowledge (food science, production management, energy saving….) and a holistic view on the food production chain including management, profitability and social considerations.

Spring Semester

Dates: Beginning Feb. - Late June (students must stay until the end of the semester-cannot leave before June)

Credits: 24 ECTS (12 US Credits) - If you have any major or distribution requirements that require you to complete a minimum of three credit to fulfill that requirement, it is important to discuss with your academic/faculty advisor about being able to meet that requirement if one of the courses taken at ISARA will not meet that full three credits (i.e. course that is worth 3 ECTS is only 1.5 US credits). 

Typically students are required to take the equivalent of 15 US credit hours while abroad but due to the spring programs at ISARA, students enroll in 24 ECTS (12 US credits). 

Students select one of two semester study programs:

  • Agriculture, Environment & Resource Management:
    • Students will address the complexity of biodiversity management through lectures, discussions, critical reflection, agricultural activities, and case studies on biodiversity management in agroecosystems. 
    • Students will study the changes in sustainable practices in viticulture and agriculture in general. Students will discuss impacts on practices resulting from climate change, biodiversity loss, pesticides, etc.). 
    • Students will do a two part group project and will work with a stakeholder company to answer a research question. Students will use observation, reflection, conception, and action to develop a solution to the research question.
    • Students will gain knowledge in international trade in food products
    • Students will learn about rural development specifically in the mountain regions
  • Food Science and the Management of Food Industries:
    • Students will study urban agriculture, organization and governance of urban food systems, and learn about tools to support urban food strategies and projects
    • Students will learn basic concepts in nutrition and biochemistry, nutritional information, food consumption and health, and regulations on nutrition
    • Students will do a two part group project and will work with a stakeholder company to answer a research question. Students will use observation, reflection, conception, and action to develop a solution to the research question.
    • Students will gain knowledge in international trade in food products
    • Students will learn about rural development specifically in the mountain regions

Reference the course list from 2020/2021 for more details. 

Students are required to take a beginner French course which is offered throughout your program. 

credit hour equivalency and grading scale conversion chart is available for reference. 

Summer Program (optional)

  1. PURPAN SSAP Summer Program in Food or Viticulture & Enology (Toulouse, France)12 ECTS credits = 6 US credits.
    • On-campus program: May 28th-June 2nd. The first two weeks are dedicated to culture, agriculture and animal chains in Europe. The last two weeks focus on either crop production and food processing or viticulture and enology. Includes field excursions to the city of Toulouse, PURPAN's experimental fram, Carcasonne and a week-end in the Pyrenees Mountains, and more! View the full Itinerary of courses and activities HERE.
    • Farm Internship Program: June 15th - July 20th. Designated for students with interests in farm/ag business. According to interests, PURPAN places students in animal production, agro-tourism, plant production, and vineyards/wineries. 
  2. ISARA Summer Program in AgroEcology (Lyon, France) - 9 ECTS credits = 4.5 US credits
    • Summer Program: 5-week program (June - mid-July). The agroecology summer program consists of coursework and excursions in applying agroecological practices, managing biodiversity and diversifying food systems and in linguistics & culture. Cultural excursions include visits to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vineyards, cheese makers, chocolate factory, and CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, and tastings of traditional French foods
    • Optional Farm Internship Program: 4 weeks (July - late August). Students need sufficient knowledge of French for this farm stay experience. Examples of farms include goat cheese production, vine and wine, livestock and meat, organic grains, crops, pasture, sheep and aquaponics.
    • Read student testimonials, watch the video, and review the program brochure for more detailed information. 
  3. Lille European Summer Program: Science and Engineering (Lille, France) 7 ECTS credits = 3.5 US credits on campus program: May 24 - June 22nd. The Lille European Summer Program (ESP) is a four week academic course offering with four unique academic tracks. CALS students participate in the Science and Engineering track which includes the following courses: intensive French (beginner to advanced), project management, molecular biology, intro to renewal energies, and French gastronomy and food science. The program includes excursions to Bruges and Brussels, and multiple course field trips.   

Courses Taken In Previous Semesters

Below is a list of courses taken in previous years for reference and not a list of course offerings. There is no guarantee of course availability. Courses are listed in alphabetical order by the subject and course code at ISARA. The majors that students were in while abroad are in ( ). 

  • Agriculture and Landscape Management (IARD)                          
  • Agriculture and Landscape Management in Region (IARD)                       
  • Agroecological Cropping Practices (IARD)                                     
  • Agroecological Practices & Sustainable Wine Production (IARD)                          
  • Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture (IARD)                             
  • Beginner French (IARD)                                                     
  • French as a Foreign Language (IARD)                                      
  • Group Project (IARD)                                                                     
  • Group Project Management (IARD)                       
  • Intensive French Language (IARD)                                    
  • Internship on a Farm (IARD)                                                 
  • Management of Agroecosystems (IARD)                         
  • Viticulture & Agroecology at Regular Scale (IARD)                      
  • Viticulture, Terroir and Environment (IARD)                                     
  • Wine, Strategy and Market (IARD)                                    
  • World Agroecosystems and Agricultural Use (IARD)