Study In France

Country’s official name: French Republic

Country’s national language:  French

Country’s currency:  Euro (1 Euro = Rs 74.66 )

Country’s population:   66.6 million

Country’s Indian population: 365,000

 Country’s higher education system

France’s 85 public universities are funded by the national government, which closely regulates the “national diplomas” granted by the universities. This system allows the universities to offer students an excellent education at a very affordable price. France’s universities are comprehensive—that is, they offer training in all disciplines. Most publicly funded research is carried out within the universities, which accounts in part for the high quality of teaching. Recent French recipients of Nobel prizes in science have been members of university faculties. Under France’s national research and innovation strategy research priorities are set every four years, setting new targets for knowledge, technology, and social progress. More than 300 doctoral departments staffed by a teaching and research faculty of 62,000 professors provide training in research in close cooperation with more than 1,200 research laboratories and centers.

Each year university programs become more open to exchanges with the professional world. Internships are an increasingly common part of university curricula, affecting about 30% of all students—and 60% of students in Master 2 programs.

Every university has an internship referral system and a career services office (known as BAIP) that informs students of available internships and job opportunities and helps them take advantage of those opportunities.

France’s 20 PRES are clusters of universities, specialized schools, and research organizations. The cluster structure enables members of the cluster to combine their activities and resources. The first mission of each PRES is to promote the institutions in the cluster. Because French institutions are often smaller than their international competitors, the PRES help them participate more effectively in international science.

The PRES are authorized to coordinate master and doctoral programs. They now confer degrees in their own name, even in the case of programs run by just one or just a few of the members of the cluster.

  • 85 Public universities
  • 224 Engineering schools
  • 220 Business schools
  • 291 Doctoral departments
  • 1,200 Research laboratories

 International student population in country

Each year more than 278,000 international students choose France for their higher education.

  Rankings and position at global platform

France’s strong academic and artistic tradition continues in the modern day; there are few countries which invest as much in research and education. Global university rankings reflect this; a total of 41 French universities are included in the QS World University Rankings® 2015/16, of which 11 are within the global top 250. The nation’s two leading universities, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris and Ecole Polytechnique ParisTech, both make the world’s top 50 at 23rd and 40th respectively, cementing their reputations as two of Europe’s and the world’s leading institutions.

In addition to the 41 French universities featured in the QS World University Rankings, France is also known for its strong contingent of specialized business schools. These are not placed in the overall rankings due to their subject-specific focus, but nonetheless enjoy wide-reaching international reputations. Notable examples include ESCP Europe, ESSEC Business School, HEC Paris and INSEAD.

 Highlights of ranking universities

Country Rank Institution World Ranking
1 University 23
2 Ecole normale supérieure, Paris 40
3 Ecole Polytechnique 137
4 Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) 156
5 CentraleSupélec 188
6 École Normale Supérieure de Lyon 222
7 Université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV) 223
8 Sciences Po 235
9 Université Joseph Fourier – Grenoble 1 240
10 Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne 241
11 Université de Strasbourg 241
12 Université Paris-Sud 261
13 Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7 293
14 Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan 314
15 École des Ponts ParisTech 361
16 Aix-Marseille University 369
17 Université Paris Dauphine 376
18 Université de Montpellier 387
19 Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon (INSA) 387
20 Université Paris Descartes 397
21 University of Bordeaux 441
22 Université Lille 1, Sciences et Technologies 471-480
23 Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 481-490

 Programs and courses offered by country

  • Agriculture and agro Industry
  • Mathematics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Law Economics
  • Humanities Language Literature
  • Architecture Arts Design/ Fashion

 Entry criteria

International students (including Europeans) are subject to this requirement, whether or not they hold a French baccalauréat, if they wish to enter the first year of French higher education at an institution or program not covered by the DAP. Such institutions and programs include IUTs, STSs, CPGEs, and some specialized schools.

In the 33 countries that use the CEF procedure, applications for admission to an IUT are submitted directly via the online application process.

The post-back admission site may now be used by all students to submit preliminary applications for apprenticeship programs, regardless of the applicant’s nationality or country of residence. The site offers information and links that allow international applicants to enter into an apprenticeship contract and, in so doing, to convert their preliminary admission into formal admission and enrollment.

 Fees structure

Annual tuition rates at public institutions are set by law. The rates for the 2015–16 academic year are, by degree program:

  • €183 for licence programs
  • €254 for master’s programs
  • €388 for doctoral programs
  • €606 for programs leading to the diplôme d’ingénieur

Additional fees may be assessed for specific services.

Tuition rates at private institutions—particularly schools of business and management—is generally higher (from €3,000 to €10,000 annually).

 Funding of VISA

The figure of $820 per month suggested on the Financial Guarantee form does not necessarily mean that each student will be spending this amount or that it will actually cost that much to live in France. Rather, this figure approximates expenses such as lunches, travel, and theater, and is a guarantee to the French government that the student will not be stranded in France without fundsas

 Admission procedures

  • The application procedure will vary depending on whether or not you are from one of the 31 countries in which CampusFrance runs the CEF procedure. If you are from one of these countries (listed on the CampusFrance website), then you are obliged to use this online application system, which takes you through the entire application procedure, including obtaining a visa, telling you what you need to do and which documents you require. The CEF system can be accessed through the CampusFrance website.
  • If you are not from one of these countries then you will need to submit an application for preliminary application at your local French embassy before applying, after which you may apply for your visa. How you will have to apply will depend on your previous qualifications and where you are applying. Contact the establishment(s) you’re thinking about attending to find out the correct procedure to follow.


In France, the academic year begins in September or October and ends in May or June, depending on the institution and program.
The year is punctuated by vacations, including two weeks at the end of the year (Christmas and New Year’s).
The two semesters are divided by a short break following final examinations at the end of the first semester.

The summer vacation lasts more than two months and always includes the months of July and August.

 Visa policies and procedures

The French Embassy in India has simplified visa procedures for Indian students wishing to study in France. Special attention is given to students living far from any French Consulate or “Campus France” office (governmental agency promoting French higher education) to simplify and expedite the visa procedure. In parallel, visa applications by Indian faculties and officials will be examined as a matter of priority. Campus France will establish partnerships with various Indian higher education institutions in order to accelerate the procedures for exchanges with French institutions and for their alumni.

In May 2012, in a major development, French authorities decided to ease considerably the conditions for obtaining a work visa after studies completed in France. This allowed a large number of students graduating from French business and engineering schools to extend their stay for acquiring work experience in France.

Furthermore, Ambassador François Richier has decided to facilitate travel to France for all Indian citizens who have studied in France. As of July 14th 2013, all Indian citizens who have graduated from a French higher education institution subsequently applying for a tourist or business visa for a trip to France, will be given a visa with a long period of validity – up to five years if the studies in France were at the Master or PhD levels.

 Documents required to process visa application

The visa you will need – which also includes a residence permit – is called the VLS-TS, which is valid for a year at a time. In order to obtain this visa you will need to present a completed application form and OFII (the French Office of Immigration and Integration) 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 in French – see above) and proof you have sufficient financial means. You will, of course, also need to prove that you’ve been accepted to a university.

Standard visa processing timing : 3 Months

 Benefits and opportunities

The quality of French higher education is widely recognized throughout the world. French institutions figure prominently in the Shanghai Classification of Universities, in the rankings of the Financial Times and Times Higher, and in the European Report on Science and Technologies published by the European Commission. Each year, France makes massive investments in education and research. In fact, education is the largest category of government spending, accounting for more than 20% of the budget

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