All you need to know about education in France

Known for being the country that has produced the most Nobel prize winners, France is a very desirable study destination.

Students in France must specialize in the relevant field of study from their first year at the university. Hence students need to have a clear understanding of what they want to achieve from the degree, or which future jobs they are interested in pursuing, from the beginning of their degree program.

Compared to the US universities, French universities are not so selective and accept students who attain secondary school education. As a result, class sizes are large in the first year of study. However, in order to progress to the second year, students have to pass very competitive exams and qualify for the limited number of places.

Much like the Ivy league in the US and Oxbridge in the UK, there is an elite group of institutes in France known as the ‘grandes écoles’. These are regarded highly in France and have extremely selective entry examinations. 

Some of these are:

  • Université PSL
  • École Polytechnique
  • Sorbonne University
  • University of Paris
  • École Normal Supérieure de Lyon
  • Sciences Po

The top business schools are:

  • HEC Paris 
  • ESCP Europe
  • ESSEC Business School

Language requirement:

  • Many universities offer students the option of a bilingual programme or a programme taught only in English.
  • Proof of English proficiency is shown with IELTS/TOEFL.
  • For programs taught in French, Level B2 is required for admission to 1st year in the framework of the DAP (demande d’admission préalable – preliminary request for admission). Some French institutes of higher education may require a higher level, C1 or C2, for specific programmes.

Cost of education:

Public universities’ fees usually have to be paid in full at the beginning of each academic year.

  • €2770 per year for Bachelor’s programmes
  • €3770 per year for Master’s programmes
  • €380 per year for Doctorate (PhD) programmes

Private universities, who are able to set their own annual fees, charge much higher tuition fees, which often range from €3,000 to €20,000 per year. Some of the top management schools in France charge up to €30,000 as an annual tuition fee.

For living expenses, international students are expected to have funds of €615 per month (€7318 per year). In larger cities, other than Paris, students are able to live on €850 to €1000 per month, including the cost of accommodation. However, if you wish to study in Paris, as most international students heading to France do, be prepared to spend €1250 to €1400 per month.

You require health insurance – national or Private of €300-700

Universities also offer scholarships to international students every year. Scholarships range from being fully funded, partially funded to tuition fee only support. 

Top Scholarships to Apply for in France

Part time work opportunities:

You can work part time 20hours/week during term time and full time during vacation.

Post study work permit: 2 years

France opens doors for Indians:

Indian students in France can now extend their stay in the country beyond completion of their studies. Under this arrangement, Indian post graduate students shall be allowed the benefit of a 2 years special residence permit in France.