Study Away

Students wishing to study abroad may apply for Vassar sponsored programs, exchange programs, or pre-approved programs offered by other institutions. For more information, see the Office of International Programs.

The Vassar College-Toulouse School of Economics Student Exchange Program

About the Program

The Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) is one of Europe’s premiere institutions for study of Economics. Home to many of today’s top economic theorists—including Jean Tirole, the 2014 Nobel laureate in Economics—TSE is consistently ranked among the top three Economics departments in Europe, and among the top ten in the world.

Vassar is proud to be the only American institution with an established exchange relationship with TSE. This program offers well-prepared Vassar Economics majors a truly unique study-abroad opportunity. One and two-semester options are available.

Serious students of Economics will take all Economics classes in English alongside some of the best students and most challenging faculty in Europe. Outside of class, students can immerse themselves in the rich culture, history and language of France as they experience daily life in one of France’s most lovely southern cities. Known as “La Ville Rose,” Toulouse sits astride the winding Garonne river and is the capital of France’s great southwestern region, L’Occitanie, near the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean sea and the Pyrenees mountains.

Video: An Introduction to TSE

Video: La vie à Toulouse


The first French university degree is a three-year degree, called the License. After that, students at TSE may go on to two years of study (M1 and M2) leading to a Masters degree, and then to the PhD. At TSE, all fourth-year (M1) and fifth-year (M2) classes are taught in English. Some third-year (L3) classes are also taught in English, but most are taught in French.

It is expected that Vassar students at TSE will take Economics classes in English—either at the M1 or L3 levels.[1] Opportunities exist to enrich that academic program with additional courses in French language and culture through the facilities of the Office of European and International Relations of the Université Toulouse Capitole.

The number of Vassar students who may attend TSE under this program each year is limited, and nomination by the Department of Economics is required. The department will seek to ensure that students electing this program have the necessary background in economics and mathematics to enable easy integration and a successful academic experience at TSE.

While the Economics Department will consider each applicant’s case on its merits, overall academic performance and specific preparation will be required.

  • GPA
    Participation requires a GPA of 3.7 or higher.

Listed below are courses in Economics and Mathematics that provide a solid foundation for study at TSE.

  • Economics
    102, 200, 201, 203, and at least one of 303, 304, 310. 215 and 210 is also recommended.
  • Mathematics
    220, 221 At least one of 241, 321 and 341 is also recommended.
  • Language
    There is no French language requirement for students applying for study at TSE. Students with little or no French language will be required to take a French language course in Toulouse. You should contact the program’s Academic Coordinator with any questions.

View course descriptions and recent syllabi for courses at TSE

Beyond the study abroad experience, other academic opportunities may be open to Vassar students who study at TSE. For example, were a student with an acceptable academic background at Vassar to complete a full year of approved L3 and M1 classes, TSE could award a full French License, or European Bachelor’s degree. There may also be opportunities to earn guaranteed acceptance and advanced standing in the graduate program at TSE after graduation from Vassar. These and other options should be discussed with the VC-TSE Program academic coordinator.

[1] Qualified French-speaking students may elect classes in French, as well.

TSE as a Junior or Senior?

The VC-TSE Exchange is open to qualified juniors, but not all economics majors with an interest in TSE will have completed the necessary preparation before beginning their junior year. Study at TSE is, therefore, an opportunity that should also be seriously considered for the senior year.

First-year students and sophomores who may be interested in making one or two semesters at TSE part of their four-year academic program in Economics should plan to talk to their academic advisor, and to the Program’s Academic Coordinator, as early as possible in their Vassar career.

Student Life in Toulouse

Toulouse is one of the largest university towns in France, with over one hundred thousand students in all. The larger university system, which includes TSE, offers extensive assistance to students coming from abroad.

To Apply

Students should make appointments with the Program’s Academic Coordinator, Professor Geoffrey Jehle, and with the Office of International Programs (OIP). After a student receives permission to study abroad, following the December deadline, the OIP will refer applications of qualified candidates to the Department of Economics which will decide upon nominations. Nominated applicants will then receive further instructions.