Sciences et Montagne Faculty - Earth Sciences Program (Spring Semester) 

Students should pay particular attention to the semester offered as well as the campus location.  This program is located on Le Bourget du Lac campus. 

The UFR Sciences et Montagne (Unit of Formation and Research for Mountain Sciences) at Université Savoie Mont Blanc offers a semester-long Earth Sciences program in English designed to provide students with in-depth practical knowledge about geological environments, with a focus on alpine terrains.

The program has a strong emphasis on field work, with two one-week field camps. It also offers students an introduction to research through supervised projects in one of two university laboratories. In addition, ISEP students can participate in organized cultural, social and sports activities while studying at the USMB! 


ISEP students are accomodated in a university residence hall and recieve a meal stipend. 

Program Website

Course Description

This program helps students acquire knowledge and skills in the areas of field geology, data analysis, tectonics, geophysics and geosciences. The semester also includes a for-credit research project and a French as a Foreign Language course. 

Classes: (see website for course availability for full course descriptions)

- Field Geology: Sedimentary Terrains (5 ECTS)

-Mapping; palaeoenvironments; sedimentology; structural geology; tectonics

- Field Geology: Metamorphic Terrains (5 ECTS)

- Mapping; petrography; structural geology; tectonics

- Data analysis (3 ECTS)

- Data processing; statistics; Fourier analysis; practical sessions with Matlab

- Geophysics: Electrical Methods (2 ECTS)

- Electrical resistivity imagery; induced polarization

- Gravitational Mass Movements (3 ECTS)

- Landslides; rheology of mass movements; hydro-mechanics

- Tectonics 2 (3 ECTS)

- Orogenesis; modelling; geodynamics; active tectonics

- Beginner French as a Foreign Language (6 ECTS) OR Intermediate French as a Foreign Language (3 ECTS) 

- Research Project (6 ECTS)

Students intern in a university laboratory and complete a research project on a topic proposed or defined at the beginning of the term by a university supervisor.  The subject will aim to give a realistic view of the work carried out in the field of geosciences, by involving the student in all stages of the project: review of the scientific literature, field, analyzes (instrumental or otherwise), data processing, modeling, formatting of results, discussion. The project will result in a report and an oral presentation. The face-to-face hours are devoted to a presentation of expectations, the presentation of standard templates for the report and the defense, and personalized follow-up interviews.

Host Laboratories: 

ISTerre: Institut des Sciences de la Terre

EDYTEM : Environnements, DYnamiques et TErritoires de la Montagne

Field Work 

- 5 days of training in folded and faulted sedimentary terrain (Lagrasse Range, Corbières or Baronnies, South of Drôme). Implementation of knowledge acquired in the classroom during sedimentology, structural geology and cartography. Realization of a geological map from a minute of terrain and reconstruction of the major geodynamic phases of the studied region. 

- Part of the Field Geology: Sedimentary Terrains course

- 6 days of field school in metamorphic and/or magmatic domain. Specifically, this will involve learning to map in the crystalline domain: field identification of crystalline rocks, identification and structural analysis of microstructures, interpretation of geological structures at the local scale, and integration into regional geological history.

- Part of the Field Geology: Metamorphic Terrains course

Website for Course Availability

ISEP STUDENT SERVICES OFFICER Gretchen McCarthy 703-504-9980 | Thanks for your interest in ISEP Study Abroad! I’m your Student Services Officer and main point of contact here at ISEP. As you search for programs, I'll be available to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to contact me at any point in your search process for help, tips or advice.


(in English)

*This program is OK for Sophomores

Fields of Study

  • Physical Sciences:

    Geochemistry and Petrology Geology/Earth Science

Academic Requirements

  • U.S. GPA: 2.75 or higher
    *accepts lower GPA with explanation
  • LPR accepted as alternate to TOEFL or IELTS
  • LPR Writing Score: B2 - Intermediate High-Advanced
  • LPR Reading Score: B2 - Intermediate High-Advanced
  • LPR Listening Score: B2 - Intermediate High-Advanced
  • LPR Speaking Score: B2 - Intermediate High-Advanced
LPR = ISEP Language Proficiency Report

Special Application Instructions

Non-native English speakers must provide a language test score or a Language Proficiency Report in English. 

Non-native French speakers must still submit at Language Proficiency Report for French. Students with no French background should contact the ISEP Student Services Officer for France before applying for this program. 

Special Needs Support

  • Mental Health
  • Learning

Other Academic Conditions

General prerequisites: 

- Good level of English

- Open-minded, especially as regards learning from and adapting to other cultures

- At least one and a half years of university studies.

- Students should be pursuing a degree in a field related to Earth Sciences or Geology, and have general knowledge in the subject area. 

Students should note that, while all course content is offered in English, students should have a working knowledge of the French language in order to navigate daily life in small-town France. ISEP recommends at least two semesters of French. If you have less than two semesters of French, please contact the Student Advisor for France.

PASSPORT: All students must have a valid passport to participate in this program. If you do not have a valid passport, we suggest you start the application process as soon as possible. 

VISA/RESIDENCE PERMIT: Most students attending this program will be required to obtain a visa/residence permit. For more information on the process and estimated cost, please review the ISEP Country Handbook here.

Semester & Prices (based on your filters)

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ISEP Application Fee US$100

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