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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Cluny, France
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2020 03/01/2020 04/01/2020 TBA TBA
Fact Sheet:
Program Manager:
Stephanie LaCava
Language of Instruction:
Minimum G.P.A.:
Good Academic Standing
Number of credits per term:
Program Type:
Faculty Led
Program Description:
The Program
  • At the intersection of applied sciences and French cultural studies, this dynamic program investigates the microbiology of wine and cheese production and its central role in French patrimoine (cultural heritage).
  • Study the complex chemical and biological processes that create diverse varieties of cheese and wine, with techniques that blend modern scientific knowledge with traditional values and practices.
  • Learn to appreciate terroir, the set of special characteristics that the geography, geology, and climate of the region are expressed in wine and cheese. 
  • Explore the role of cheese and wine in the history, economy, culture, cuisine, art, and architecture of Burgundy, and of France as a whole.
  • Prior experience in microbiology is recommended for this program, but students should have at least taken an introductory course in biology or chemistry.
Your Host City: Cluny
Cluny is a haven for those who appreciate, or hope to discover, la France profonde--the deep, genuine French heartland. A medieval city with a modern population of just under 5,000, Cluny is rich in major historic monuments. These include the ruins of the once imposing Romanesque abbey, and unique townhouses dating from the 11th & 12th centuries. Today, Cluny is a charming city with friendly cafés and tiny restaurants, attractive boutiques and galleries, and a bustling Saturday market that's noted throughout the Burgundy region. And of course, Cluny has more than its fair share of fabulous wine and cheese shops!

Faculty Director Profile:
Max Haggblom

Dr. Haggblom is a professor of biochemistry and microbiology in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.  His research centers on environmental and applied microbiology specifically the study of the “unusual appetites” of bacteria and their roles in the biodegradation and detoxification of anthropogenic pollutants.

Email Dr. Haggblom at

To view a sample syllabus for the program, please click here.  Please note this is a sample syllabus, all of its content is subject to change.

This intensive two-week course, worth 3 credits, is structured through lectures, group projects, wine and cheese tasting and field trips to explore the microbiology as well as the socioeconomic and cultural history of cheese and wine in southern Burgundy. You will discover how bacteria and fungi are central in processing milk into cheese, and savor the complex tastes and aromas of the diverse cheese varieties of the region. You will also learn about the history of viticulture, how yeast ferments sugars to ethanol, and the complexity of the chemical and biological reactions during maturation which give wine their character.

You will also visit Louis Pasteur's home and laboratory in Arbois, where we can trace back his steps to the early discoveries in fermentation that laid the foundation for the science of microbiology. The course melds a comprehensive appreciation of the science, history and culture of cheese and wine. 

You can earn credit for either 11:680:102 (Science and Culture of Cheese and Wine, a science course for non-majors, no pre-requisites) OR 11:680:410 (Microbiology and Culture of Cheese and Wine, an upper-level microbiology elective). Assignments and report requirements will differ.

For information about study abroad credit transfer, registration, and transcripts please visit the Academics section of our website.

Field trips and excursions in connection with wine and cheese will include visits to local farms, dairies, vineyards, caves (i.e., wine cellars), weekly markets in Cluny and adjacent towns, the Louis Pasteur house and lab in Arbois, the Roman remains at Vienne, great monasteries and chateaux connected with the wine trade, and Beaune, the historic capital of the Burgundy wine region.

Sample Itinerary
Day 1. Joint departure from Paris, Welcome to Cluny.
Day 2. Review of microbiology and biochemistry of food fermentations. Discovering medieval and modern Cluny. 
Day 3. Making Cheese: fermentation, curdling and aging. Introduction to different cheese varieties. 
Day 4. Excursion to farms, cheese manufacturers, and wineries in the Macconnais. 
Day 5. Making wine. Microbiology and biochemistry of alcoholic fermentations. 
Day 6. Excursion to vineyards & dairies of the Côte d’Or.
Day 7. The Farmer's Market in Cluny.
Day 8. Free day.
Day 9. Viticulture and cheese making - history and trade patterns.
Day 10. Excursion to Beaunne, the historic capital of the Burgundy wine region.
Day 11. History of microbiology: from applications to fundamentals.
Day 12. Excursion to Jura: Arbois, Pasteur's house and laboratory.
Day 13. Excursion to Jura: Jurassic cheese and wine.
Day 14. Wrap up - Presentations of student projects.
Day 15. Departure.  

Accommodations and Meals
You will be staying in shared rooms at a hostel that is within walking distance of the center of Cluny and situated close to the Abbey of Cluny and the nationally recognized engineering school, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts and Métiers.

Continental breakfast is provided at the hostel.  You will have to provide for your own lunches and dinners.  Cluny is a student town with lots of inexpensive restaurants, cafés, snack bars and bakeries for your meals.  You can choose from crèpes at Le Cloître, quiche from Madame Germain, pizza at Le Forum (just across a medieval bridge from your hostel), and even burgers at Le Quebec!  Cluny also has plenty of beautiful spots for wine and cheese picnics in and around the abbey grounds.

Financial Information
For more information about the program cost and additional non-billable expenses for this program, please view the program budget sheet

For more information about finances, including information about financial aid, please visit the Finances section of our website.

As part of your preparation to apply for this study abroad program, please familiarize yourself with the Center for Global Education withdrawal policy.

Students are also encouraged to start researching scholarship opportunities as early as possible. There are many kinds of scholarships available, with different eligibility requirements and application criteria. To get a sense of what scholarships are available for your program, please download the Scholarships-at-a-Glance worksheet and visit our scholarship directory for a comprehensive list of study abroad scholarships. 

Student Testimonials
Blog by Scott Quarella

See the blogs by Louisa Lee, Laura Muller, and Adrianne Speranza on the SEBS International webpage.

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