If you want to study in a country that is diverse and has an excellent academic reputation, France is the country for you. It is one of the most popular study destinations, making it perfect for international students.
There are currently more than 250,000 international students in France. In fact, around 10% of enrolments at French universities are international students, and many of these study at graduate level (masters and doctoral studies). The country offers an excellent environment for all international students. It has fantastic quality of education, lectures and research opportunities.
Why 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 low tuition fees, studying in France is more economical for international students. French universities are near the top of renowned university rankings each year. Their institutions offer an education that easily competes with other countries.
France is particularly a good choice for those wanting to study business related subjects. The country is a hub for international business and management education, and has lots of business schools in the worldwide rankings.
France has 71 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 (grandes écoles). 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 can be 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. This means you will always know of the most recent internship and job opportunities available to you.
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 2017, average annual tuition costs for undergraduate studies were less than €200 (under US$250). For master’s studies, the rates are around €259 (around US$305) and for doctoral studies it’s around €393 (US$460). Students are often required to pay certain administration fees which raise tuition costs slightly. 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$12,000) 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 subsidised rates at restaurants and transportation. There is also specialised housing for students which is available to international students who wish to study in France. Costs of living are lower in smaller towns, so this is something to keep in mind when deciding on where to study.
International students will have several choices for accommodation in France. You could live in university accommodation for around €120 per month. The demand for these is very high, however. Selection is based on social criteria and given to exchange or scholarship students. Renting a private studio apartment will cost around €457-€542. Homestay is another option for international students. This will cost around €200-€800 per month depending on the location. Homestay also includes at least one meal per day provided.
Students have the option to apply for a grant from their local Caisse d’Allocation Familiale (CAF). It is free to apply for, and if you are eligible you can get up to 35% of your rent back monthly.