Emerson partners with Paris College of Art

by Katherine Salzberg / Beacon Correspondent • October 19, 2017

Emerson is crafting an agreement with Paris College of Art to create an accelerated film degree spanning both schools’ campuses. The agreement is in its final stages, but the college did not specify when it would be completed.  

The BFA program is expected to begin recruiting incoming freshmen in summer 2018, with between 25 and 30 students being accepted in its first year. Classes will begin in fall 2019.

According to Anthony Pinder, assistant vice president for internationalization and global engagement, the 3-year bachelor of fine arts joint degree will consist of summer classes in Boston and other established Emerson campuses, two academic years in Paris, and a year in either Boston or Los Angeles. The program will only be open to future incoming freshman.

Pinder said PCA students will also have the option of studying at Emerson through the joint degree program, following the same accelerated schedule. PCA does not provide dorms for its students, but joint degree students would be guaranteed housing in Paris for at least one year and in Boston during summers as part of tuition and fees.

According to Pinder, President M. Lee Pelton came into contact with the school through affiliated networks outside of Emerson and believed the agreement made sense for both schools.

“It’s a natural progression that we would partner with an institution like PCA, given its strength in art and design, and so forth, in fine arts, and given our profile,” Pinder said.

In addition to the courses in Paris, he said Emerson is interested in partnering with an Australian institution for a communications-focused curriculum in the future. The initiative is still in the planning stages and no agreement has been made with a school at this time.

Established in 1981 by Parsons School of Design, PCA became independent in 2010 and serves about 300 full-time students from over 50 different countries. Classes are taught in English and the school uses the American credit system, offering degrees in art and design-related fields.

The college is located in the 10th arrondissement, or district, of Paris, with access to theaters and photography studios nearby.

In a written statement, PCA Dean Linda Jarvin said the college was excited to begin the partnership with Emerson.

“PCA sees this as a wonderful opportunity to capitalize on our respective strengths in film, art and design, through a joint program with Emerson College,” she wrote. “We look forward to opening our international campus in Paris to a new cohort of students and to sharing and learning from each other.”

Pinder said he is also interested in developing a Global Pathways Program in Paris, a faculty-led, culture-focused summer study abroad program. He emphasized President Pelton’s commitment to bring Emerson opportunities to as many people as possible.

Pinder said he does not anticipate an increase in tuition for the college overall as a result of the expansion.

Linda Fitzpatrick, a sophomore visual and media arts major, said she would still like to see more international opportunities but believes the Paris initiative is a valuable option for new students.

“I know of some other schools that do similar things, so I think for some people that could be a really cool opportunity,” she said.