Everything you need to know about admissions, scholarships, financial aid, and visas to study in France is found here.
With about 300,000 international students, France is one of the most popular study destinations in the world. It offers a broad cultural environment in which to study. Whether you wish to strengthen your French language abilities, explore the wealth of cultural activities available, or follow in Marie Curie’s footsteps, France has some of Europe’s best colleges.
France is a desirable study destination because of its international reputation for investing in teaching and education. Because of the large number of international students enrolled at its universities, most French universities provide a variety of student support services, such as an international students office, student associations, and buddy programs, to smooth the transition and meet the needs of students.
Paris, the most popular international student destination in France, was recently ranked 5th on the QS Best Student Cities list and is still the world’s first student city.
Why should you study in France?
France, as one of the world’s leading countries for higher education, offers a wide choice of educational opportunities. Many of these institutions are ranked alongside some of Europe’s and the world’s greatest universities. You may be confident that a degree from a French university will be a stepping stone to a variety of global prospects, as France is known for producing the most Nobel prize winners.
Despite an increase in tuition rates in 2019, France remains a less expensive place to study. It offers a variety of incentives to its foreign student community and is regarded as one of the top countries for student discounts. Student discounts may be provided in stores, restaurants, and tourist attractions, and many galleries and museums are also free for students.
Education in France vs. Education in the United States
There are numerous distinctions between studying in the United States and studying in France that students should carefully evaluate before picking where to study.
In the United States and France, the admissions process is significantly different. While admission to American universities is highly tough, any students who have completed a bachelor (secondary school certificate) are eligible to enroll in a public university in France.
This implies that first-year class numbers are very big, and learning is thought to be more rote as a result. The university holds extremely competitive examinations at the end of the first year. Only candidates who pass these tests will be considered for the limited number of second-year study spots.
The sport is ingrained in the culture of college life in the United States. While the students union, or bureau des étudiants, provides sports and social events at French institutions, it lacks the same status and concentration.
From their first year at university, students in France must specialize in the relevant topic of study. This means that students should have a clear idea of what they want to get out of their degree, or which future employment they want to pursue, from the start of their study.
The hierarchy of institutes in the United States and France is a fundamental resemblance. In France, there is an exclusive group of institutes known as the ‘grandes écoles,’ similar to the Ivy league in America and Oxbridge in the United Kingdom. These are highly recognized in the French public eye and have extraordinarily stringent admissions requirements.
The best universities to study in France
France has over 3500 public and private higher education institutions, providing students from all over the world with a diverse range of options. The QS World University Rankings 2018 includes 39 French universities, 11 of which were among the top 300 in the world.
Here are some of the top universities where you could study:
- Université PSL is a Paris-based university. Science, engineering, humanities, social sciences, and the arts are all available for study. The university has been recognized for awarding 26 Nobel Prizes to researchers.
- Palaiseau is home to the École Polytechnique. A university that focuses on science and technology. With fewer than 300 pupils, 30 percent of whom are international, the school is well-known.
The Sorbonne University is a Paris-based university. Humanities, science, and medicine are the three faculties of this public institution. Well-known for: having an Abu Dhabi campus!
- École Normale Supérieure de Lyon: Lyon is home to the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon. A private institution that educates scientists and educators in the sciences and humanities. Being a highly exclusive grande école has made it well-known.
The American University of Paris is a university in Paris, France. A private, independent, and accredited institution in the United States. Known for: providing complete programs in English and annually awarding more than 3 million euros in financial aid.
ESCP Europe, ESSEC Business School, HEC Paris, and INSEAD are just a few of France’s prestigious business schools.
Popular Courses to Study in France
French institutions provide a diverse range of undergraduate programs. The following are some of the most popular degree subjects:
- History of the Past
- Language of the Present
- Theatrical Arts
- Finance and Accounting
- Management and Business Studies
- International Relations and Politics
France is regarded as a global leader in graduate education, and as a result, graduates enjoy a wide range of good job options. Many institutes also offer English-language postgraduate programs. These are primarily found in economics, management marketing, international business, and the MBA, but they are also found in international studies, technology, engineering, and law.
Master’s degrees in France are divided into three categories:
- Educated Masters (MAs, MScs, MEng)
- Masters of Science in Research (MRes, MA by Research)
- Doctorates and master’s degrees
Students from other countries
The language is an important aspect for students considering studying in France. Many colleges provide students with the choice of enrolling in a bilingual or all-English program, depending on their language aptitude.
You must have an intermediate level of French in order to enroll in a French-taught degree program. Depending on the course you want to study, many universities will ask for an intermediate or advanced certificate in the diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF).
There are many chances to learn French alongside your degree if you want to study in English but want to increase your French skills.
You should carefully select your destination as a non-French speaker. While Paris and other major cities are densely populated with English speakers, you may find that you need to brush up on your French in order to connect with the inhabitants in smaller villages.
International Students’ Fees
Tuition rates in France have long been regarded as among the lowest in the world, with annual expenses for both domestic and international students averaging under $100 USD per year. Non-EU/EEA students, on the other hand, will face higher costs beginning in September 2019.
You can study in France for free if you are a permanent resident or citizen of a nation in the EEA (European Economic Area) or Switzerland.
A tuition charge must be paid by students who are neither Swiss or European Economic Area citizens. The government has set the tuition fees for 2019 at:
- Bachelor’s degree programs cost €2770 per year.
- Master’s programs cost €3770 per year.
- Doctorate (PhD) programs cost €380 per year.
These costs are normally due in full at the start of each academic year.
Private institutions, which have the freedom to determine their own annual prices, charge substantially higher tuition fees, ranging from €3,000 to €20,000 per year. Some of France’s best management schools charge annual tuition fees of up to €30,000.
Foreign students wishing to study in France must demonstrate that they have the financial resources to support themselves while studying. Students are supposed to have €615 per month (€7318 per year) in their accounts.
With the recent hike in tuition costs, the government has stated that the number of scholarships available to international students would be tripled. Scholarships are available through the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the French embassy in each nation. 25% of these are funded directly by the Ministry. Every year, universities award scholarships to both overseas students and local residents. Scholarships might be entirely funded, partially funded, or merely cover the cost of tuition. The Campus Bourses web tool can provide further information on these scholarships.
Top Scholarships in France to Apply For
- Excellence Scholarships for Master’s Degrees, Paris Dauphine University, France, 2019
- Sciences Po University’s Emile Boutmy Scholarship
- Labex DigiCosme Master Scholarships for International Students at Paris-Saclay University in France, 2019
- French Master’s Scholarship Program
- Rene Seydoux Scholarship at Sciences Po in France
- International Students in France can apply for an IESEG MSc Scholarship in Digital Marketing and CRM.
- Undergraduate Scholarship for International Students in France and Germany, Stephen M. Kellen, 2019
- Campus France PRESTIGE International Fellowships for Postdoctoral Research, France
- In 2019, the IARC WHO Senior Visiting Scientist Award will be presented in France.
- MSc Scholarships at the IESEG School of Management in France, 2019
- IESEG MSc Fashion Management Scholarships, France
Students participating in the Erasmus program can apply for the programme through their university.
Working Part-Time and Earning Money in France
In France, many students work part-time or do an internship in addition to their education. Students can work up to 19.5 hours per week during the school year and full time during the summer. Students may formerly apply for a 6-month temporary work permit from the French government to help them find jobs after completing their postgraduate studies. However, this clause has subsequently been tightened, and several applications have been turned down.
It is not expensive to be a student in France. Students in larger cities, excluding Paris, may live comfortably on €850 to €1000 per month, including housing costs. However, if you want to study in Paris, as do the majority of international students who come to France, be prepared to pay at least €1250 to €1400 each month!
In France, student housing is available.
Outside of Paris, most universities provide subsidized student housing, either on campus or nearby. However, student housing in Paris is exceedingly restricted, and as a result, lodging rates can be rather high. The Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, a huge student housing in the south of Paris, is made up of dorms populated by students of many countries. However, this housing is only offered to students pursuing a Master’s degree, and many students apply, so acceptance is not assured.
If you decide to hunt for private housing, keep in mind that desirable flats will be in high demand right before the start of the new academic year.
Obtaining a Student Visa
Once you’ve been accepted into a French university, you’ll need to apply for a student visa if you’re a citizen of a country outside the EU. You’ll require a VLS-TS (étudiant) visa, which permits you to live, study, and work in France for up to 964 hours per year (which is the equivalent of 20 hours per week).
The visa is €99, but you must confirm it within three months of your arrival, which will cost you an extra €60. The visa, on the other hand, allows you to travel across the Schengen area, which includes Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, and Spain!