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Education system

A degree from a French university is accredited throughout Europe thanks to the county’s affiliation with the Bologna system (an agreement between 29 European countries which aims to standardize schooling across the continent, creating international mobility). Thus, study in France covers a comprehensive range of disciplines at nationally recognized levels: Bachelor’s (known in France as ‘Licence’), Master’s and Doctorate. Courses can almost always be undertaken in English to accommodate the high numbers of international students. The pinnacle of study in France is represented by the Grandes Écoles – prestigious institutions that produce high-earning graduates. These schools provide specialized courses such as engineering or architecture and require a two-year preparatory course for admittance.

Housing & living costs

There are many options for accommodation while you study in France. CROUS owned housing exists in every region and comprises the cheapest option for housing, however non-CROUS bodies exist that may be more expensive, but provide more amenities and services. Some private institutions will own their own student housing, in which case you will need to research individual schools. Alternatively, you can rent a space from a private owner. In general, living costs are slightly more expensive than the international average, although this is variable depending on whereabouts in France you are.

Tuition fees

Tuition costs for studying in France are low because schooling is funded by the state – a Licence degree can cost as little as 200 EUR per year. Longer and more specialized courses cost more, with an engineering degree totaling around 620 EUR per year, for instance. Private institutions and Grandes Écoles will also be more expensive, and can charge up to 20,000 EUR per year. Students who do not have the financial means to study in France, however, can apply for scholarships, loans or monthly stipends for living expenses.

Language & culture

French is spoken by 200 million people worldwide and is the national language of 29 countries. Thus, whether you are looking for a more immersive experience of studying in France, or simply want to make your life a bit easier, learning the language is never a bad idea. It would be beneficial for international students to have some prior knowledge of the language, however there are plenty of language courses available on arrival.

Entry requirements & student visas

Entry requirements for studying in France depend on the establishment, so students should check the website of their chosen institution for specifics. However, you will probably require transcripts of former diplomas and study results, proof of proficiency in the French or English language (if you are a non-EU student) and sometimes a standardized test in your chosen subject area. Applicants to the Grandes Écoles take an entrance exam at the end of their two years of preparatory study.

Once (non-EU students) have been accepted to an institution, they will need to apply for a visa – the type of visa depends on the length of your study in France. If you are doing a short course you will probably require a short stay student visa, and a slightly longer course will require a temporary long stay visa. A degree or similar will require a long stay visa and for an ongoing research project or teaching position you will need an extended stay research scholar visa.

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