Study in France
To put it simply, the French higher education system is one of the best in the world. It is also one of the most accessible ones. With dramatically reduced tuition fees in comparison to other leading study abroad destinations, studying in France is more economically viable for international students. Consistently appearing near the top of internationally renowned rankings, French universities offer an academic pedigree that easily competes with other countries.
France is particularly a good choice for those wanting to study business related subjects. The country is somewhat of a hub for international business and management education as it has lots of business schools in the worldwide rankings.
France has 83 public universities and they are all funded by the national government, offering excellent education at a very affordable price to all students, domestic or international. There are also a number of private universities. The academic year begins in September or October and ends in May or June, depending on the program and institution. There are two semesters, divided by a break following final examinations at the end of the first semester. There are two main types of courses offered at French universities: large lecture courses, where the professor speaks and students take notes, and sections & labs, designed for smaller groups of students where the material covered in lectures is explored in greater detail. Usually, attendance in sections & labs is mandatory. Some career-oriented programs also require internships and practical training.
When it comes to degrees, French universities use a format popular throughout EU: licence, master, doctorate. Licence refers to undergraduate studies and it lasts for 6 semesters (3 years), with 180 ECTS earned. Master studies last for an additional 4 semesters (2 years), for a total of 5 years of study and 300 ECTS earned. Doctorate is usually obtained after the additional 6 semesters (3 years). Find out what the ECTS is from Anna, our study abroad expert.
It’s also important to know that every university has an internship referral system and a career services office, so you will always know of the most recent internship and job opportunities available to you.
France is one of Europe’s largest country. It is bordered by six countries other nations: Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the southeast and Spain to the southwest. The United Kingdom borders France via the English Channel. The country is considered to be the gateway to Europe as there are several large international airports (two of these can be found in Paris), ferry terminals and the French rail service. France is the most popular tourist destination in the world. There are many reasons why so many people enjoy visiting the diverse country, including the natural beauty, the amazing climate, outdoor recreational activities such as golf courses, art museums and galleries and so much more. There are many different activities that outline the history of the country which are enjoyable to visitors, especially considering its turbulent past.
People in France are courteous and very formal. People in the country are also known for being chic, taking great pride in their personal appearance and clothing. Some countries view France as an arrogant country because of these characteristics, although those in the country attribute this to simply being fashionable and cautious of the appearance.
Document Checklist for Study Abroad
- Passport photo
- Photocopy of valid passport
- Photocopy of valid visa
- Personal ID card
- Health certificate
- Certification of no criminal record
- English language proficiency certificate
- Letter of guarantee (parent or legal guardian of student signs a declaration by which he/she assumes responsibility for the student to abide rules and regulations of China and of the university)
- Proof that you can support your studies in French
- Certificate/diploma from last graduated school
- Academic transcript from last graduated school
- More documents may be required, depending on each school’s request.
- For the pre-Masters courses, typical entry requirements are at least 3 years of higher education and UKVI IELTS 5.5 (minimum of 5.0 in all skills).
- If you do not meet the English language entry level but have at let UKVI IELTS 4.5 (minimum 4.0 in all skills) you can do a course that includes extended English and skills (EES).
- Students may be able to start in spring (January – April), summer (May – August) or autumn (September – November).
Five Reasons to Study a French Degree
Commonly regarded as the language of love, from a nation of sophistication and culture, French hardly needs selling any more than it already does for itself. Nonetheless, for those of you who are still on the fence regarding whether or not it's the subject for you, we've put together just a few of the many reasons to study French at university:
1. You'll get the chance to study abroad
Well, maybe "chance" is a slightly misleading word – most foreign language degrees include a period abroad as a compulsory element of the course, and French is no exception.
- Use our Course Chooser to search through French courses with time spent abroad
Choose to study this subject at university, and you'll almost certainly find yourself studying in France or another French-speaking nation for up to a year. Many students aspire to be accepted onto their university's foreign exchange programme, so having it stipulated as a requirement of your degree must be seen as an enviable bonus.
2. A second language is a huge bonus to have on your CV
The job market, especially for graduates, is as competitive as it has ever been – that's no secret. Luckily for students of French, one of the best ways to make yourself stand out from the crowd is to have proficiency (or even better, fluency) in a foreign language.
World where so much business is done on an international level, companies are always on the lookout for employees who can easily converse with their overseas colleagues. If you want your CV to find itself at the top of the pile, a French degree is a great start.
3. French is a subjects with a good professional premium
The professional premium refers to the difference between the mean salary for those starting professional employment (a job that usually requires a degree) and the mean salary for those entering employment in a non-professional occupation (a job that doesn't usually require a degree).
- Does a degree help you earn more money? Read our content on the professional premium to find out
Our November 2017 analysis of graduate salaries found that the professional premium for French was over £4,000. In other words, if you're looking to work in a field where French is relevant, a degree in the subject is massively beneficial.
4. Many of the universities offering French degrees have great Graduate Prospects
While the overall Graduate Prospects for French students are about average, the scores for a good proportion of the universities in the subject table are very impressive.
- View the French subject table sorted by Graduate Prospects
In a table containing around 50 universities, almost all of the top 25 (and many outside of it) have Graduate Prospects of at least 70%, with a fair chunk boasting a score of 80% or above. With job prospects a concern for graduates and non-graduates alike, these kinds of numbers will make reassuring reading for prospective French students.
5. French is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world
In terms of the number of countries in which a language is officially spoken, English is by far and away the most widely used in the world. However, along with Arabic and Spanish, French is one of a small group of languages that can claim to be at least close to the popularity of English.
wing to the former French empire, large swathes of Africa speak the language, as does Canada, and of course, a handful of European nations. If that's still not enough to convince you that French is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, bear in mind that it's also one of just six official UN languages. Useful.
Tuition fees in France
The major benefits enjoyed by those who study in France include relatively low tuition fees at public universities. For the majority of courses at most public universities in France, you’ll have to pay only EU€189 (around US$210) a year for a bachelor’s degree (there are exceptions – engineering courses tend to cost more for example).
It should be noted that universities in France tend to levy additional administrative charges, which are known to bring the price up considerably. That said, the final figure is still likely to be far lower than you would pay in a comparable destination.
You will pay more to study in France’s highly selective grandes écoles and grands établissements (great schools and establishments), which set their own fees. Some of these operate only at postgraduate level, and some – like Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris – require students to either complete two years of preparatory school (which is nearly as selective as the grande école itself) or to transfer across after two or more years of an undergraduate course. Top management schools can charge up to €30,000 a year (~US $33,500).
Not only do you get a world-class education in France - the tuition charges at public universities are more a symbolic formality than a real cost factor. That essentially means you can study in France for free! The annual fee for Master’s degrees in France are set to around 250 euros per year for anyone, regardless of their nationality. Studying at private universities will set students back anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 euros per annum, on par with other European countries. Take into account, however, that some cities are somewhat expensive when it comes to rent or the general cost of living. That is especially true for Paris.
Applications and student visas for France
The application process and visa requirements to study in France will depend on whether you come from a country in the EU, or from further elsewhere in the world. Students from Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are treated the same as EU students in this case.
If you wish to study in France, it’s important to inform yourself about all the possible visa requirements. French government regulates these issues and regulations depend on your citizenship.
For EU citizens and citizens of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, no visa is required.
Applicants from outside the EU: You will need to obtain a visa, which includes a residence permit (VLS-TS). It is valid for one year and can be renewed later if necessary. In order to obtain this visa you have to complete an application form as well provide OFII (the French Office of Immigration and Integration) passport photos, proof of your qualifications, a police certificate attesting that you don’t have a serious criminal record, a proof you can speak French (if your course is in French) and a proof you have sufficient financial means. Once you arrive in France you will need to contact OFII (they may request that you undertake a medical examination).
Applicants from outside the EU:
- The application procedure will vary depending on whether or not you are from one of the 31 countries in which Campus France runs the CEF procedure. If you are from one of these countries, then you are obliged to use the CEF online application system. This guides you through the entire application process, including obtaining a visa, how to apply and which documents you require. You can create your personal profile in the CEF system through the Campus France website.
- If you are not from one of these countries, you will need to submit a preliminary application at your local French embassy before applying to one or more French universities. The way in which you apply will depend on your previous qualifications and where you are applying. Contact the establishment(s) you’re thinking about attending for guidance on the correct procedure to follow.
- Once accepted by a French institution, you’ll need to apply for a visa, which also includes a residence permit, called the VLS-TS. This is valid for a year at a time. In order to obtain this visa you will need to present a completed application form, passport photos, your passport, proof of your previous qualifications, a police certificate attesting to your lack of a serious criminal record, proof you can speak French to an appropriate level (if your course is taught in French, see above for details of French language tests) and proof you have sufficient financial means. You will, of course, also need to prove that you’ve been accepted to study at a French university.
- When you arrive in France, you will need to contact the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFFI), who may request that you undertake a medical examination.
Cost of Studying & Living in France
France uses the Euro (€) for its currency. Tuition rates at public institutions are set by the government and they are very affordable. In fact, tuition rates at France’s public institutions of higher education are identical for domestic and international students.
Tuition costs are set every year. In 2013, annual tuition costs for undergraduate studies were set under €200 (under US$300). For master’s studies, the rates are around €245 (around US$320) and for doctoral studies it’s around €370 (US$488). Students are often required to pay certain administrative fees which raise tuition costs a bit. Despite these fees, studying in France remains one of the most affordable options for international students who seek a quality higher education.
These rates apply to public institutions only. If you wish to study at a private institution, the rates tend to be much higher and go up to €10,000 (US$13,000) per year.
There are also certain scholarships and mobility schemes available for those who wish to study abroad in France. Some of the most popular ones include grants from the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research, funding made by National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), awards from regional councils, Erasmus and Erasmus Mundus programs.
Unlike tuition rates, costs of living in France tend to be higher than neighbouring countries. Luckily, students are often eligible to subsidized rates at restaurants and transportation. There is also specialised housing for students which is even available to internationals who wish to study in France. Costs of living are significantly lower in smaller towns, so this is another thing to keep in mind when deciding on where to study in France.