Study in France
The Land Of Unmatched Academic Research
France has one of the most beneficial, accessible and internationally renowned systems of higher education. No matter what country you are from, France will welcome you with open arms. Diversity is one thing that makes the country one of the best places anyone would love to be. If you come from another country and you don’t know the culture of France or anyone else, the atmosphere and the people will make you feel at home. Also, no matter what region you go to, numerous universities and educational institutions offer world-class education. With excellent global rankings, exceptional French researchers, 62 Nobel Prize winners, France is the destination for high-quality education with an affordable budget.
Why Study in France?
France has over 3,500 public and private institutes of higher education. The country has developed their quality of education with a single-minded focus and a colossal budget. Their long term and continuous political vision have helped establish themselves as a leading benefactor of quality education.
Public institutes, financed by the State, offer a wide choice of programmes, covering all areas of learning and research. The Grandes Ecoles also offer excellent programmes, ranging from political science subjects to veterinary courses. Aside, the specialised schools have a host of programmes to choose from.
Research is a required field for French. There are many Nobel Prize winners and Fields medal recipients coming from French academia.
Here are few points to consider, why you should study in France;
Education System in France
The education system in France is organised into the three globally recognised levels to facilitate international mobility. These are undergraduate degrees, Masters and Doctorate degrees. French universities are also aligned with the Bologna process, adding to the ease of movement for students between different countries that are a part of Bologna Process.
Besides the universal system of universities, France also offers the elite and prestigious ‘Grandes Ecoles’, which are public and private institutes of higher education recognised by the State. The programs usually focus on a single subject area and are exhaustive and demanding. The schools/institutes under Grandes Ecoles confer degrees for five years of undergraduate studies, while some also award a Master’s degree. Admission is rather selective; post a competitive entrance exam and an appropriate degree. The tuition fees are consequently higher than those for regular university.
A third parallel to the above is the specialised schools and institutes offering courses in specific sectors, like medicine, audio-visual, journalism, agronomy, fashion and design. There are 3,000 such institutes, providing students with abundant alternative career choices. The State will recognise not all these institutes since they mix both public and private institutes. Admission is an entrance exam based, and the programmes are between 2-5 years.
France also has over 50 public schools of art and design; some offer all three levels of study. These specialised schools are highly selective of their students via an entrance exam.
All teaching institutions in France sincerely follow religious freedom. There are no religious instructions imparted as a principle, advocating secularism. This gives students from minority communities a great sense of safety, security and equality, while positively influencing the youth to embrace all religions and cultures.
An academic year is called a year of a degree course the student has enrolled in.
The universities in France offer a total of 2 significant intakes, namely, Fall & Spring.
Types of Institutes in France
The higher education system in France includes five different types of institutes, namely:
These are state-affiliated universities, financially supported by the state/government.
Private firms run these universities without any financial support from the state/government.
These institutes specialise in Engineering and Science and are known for their research and graduate programs.
French Grandes Écoles
The French system of Grandes Écoles groups more than 100 elite universities covering various specialities: art, literature, business, engineering school, etc. Some of these big schools are private and expensive, while others are public.
These institutes are an affordable option. They provide higher education/lower-level tertiary education, granting associates degrees, certificates & diplomas. After graduation from community colleges, you can continue your university studies for another two years to complete an undergraduate program.
Types of Degrees in France
A student needs to clear all the subjects that he/she has enrolled for to achieve their certificates/degrees.
Offered by community/junior colleges, students complete 1/2 years of studies depending on their program.
Also known as an undergraduate degree, depending on the university a student takes admissions in, he must successfully clear all the subjects in that program. These programs are for 3-4 years.
Depending on the university a student takes admissions in, these programs are for 3-4 years. To get a masters degree, he/she must successfully clear all the subjects in that program.
The highest level of education one can attain! A Doctorate/PhD can take anywhere between 3-10 years, depending on your research & course duration progress. To earn a Doctorate/PhD, students must produce an original piece of research and complete coursework and written examinations.
French Grandes Écoles
More than 100 elite universities covering various specialities: art, literature, business, engineering school, etc., are in Grandes Écoles groups. Some of these are private and expensive, while others are public.
Graduating from a Grande École de France guarantees excellent employment opportunities.
The Grandes Écoles is equivalent to a master’s degree and generally lasts for 5 years. These titles can be;
Master of Science (MSc), Master in Business Administration and Management (M.B.A.) or Specialised Master (Ms), which requires an additional year of study after obtaining a degree from a Grande École)
Admission to the Grandes Écoles is selective. It’s carried out through an entrance examination after a two-year preparatory course, with a degree, or directly after the baccalaureate in the case of schools offering an integrated preliminary cycle.
Once you are admitted, you will have to complete three more years of specialised studies. However, currently, schools offer alternative admission procedures that allow you to apply regardless of the stage you are in your career as an international student.
Types of Grandes Écoles
Écoles in engineering
French engineering education combines a high level of theoretical training in scientific subjects with business internships. In France, there are more than 250 engineering schools. Together, they cover all areas of engineering science, but each one has a separate specialisation.
An engineering degree is equivalent to a Master’s level and can only be obtained in the engineering courses of public or private establishments that have previously received the C.I.T. (Commission des titres d’ingénieur) qualification.
Les Écoles de Commerce
In France, around 230 business schools offer careers adapted to the economic environment and business administration evolution. Most of the programs are organised around internships and are supported by the most advanced technologies. These schools, having international exchange programs, offer international students guaranteed access to the European market.
Instituts d’études politiques
In addition to the prestigious Sciences Po Paris school, nine other I.E.P.s “Instituts d’Etudes Politiques” attract numerous students each year.
Écoles Normales Supérieurers
The ENS offers 4-year training of excellence in various fields (letters and languages, art and design, human and social sciences, law, economics, science and technology, sport).
There are only 4 ENS in France: Lyon, Cachan, Paris Ulm, and Rennes. It is the best training to be a teacher or researcher. The selection exam is of a very high standard and is often accepted after 2 or 3 years of class préparatoire.
There are scholarships for international students: in Paris Ulm, about 30 students receive a Master’s scholarship of € 1,000 per month.
During the four years of studies, ENS students have civil servant status and receive a salary. In return, they agree to work for the French State for at least ten years. Many students continue their studies doing a Doctorate thesis or access the selection exams for the schools that lead to high positions in the State.
Cost of Studying in France
The French educational system is one of the best in the world, and at the same time, it is one of the most accessible. This country offers low tuition fees, making the dream of many international students more possible. Beyond that, the most important thing is that French universities are among the top positions in the World University Rankings every year.
However, as the French State significantly subsidises them in terms of enrollment, the cost of studies in France is not very high for students.
The cost for Undergraduate/Bachelors Programs is EURO 7,000-EURO 13,500 per year.
The cost for Post-Graduate/Masters Programs is EURO 10,000-EURI 16,500 per year.
The cost for M.B.A. Programs is EURO 23,000-EURO 25,000 per year.
The cost of Doctorate/PhD Programs is CAD 7,000-CAD 15,000 per year.
On average, the cost of living in France is approximate EURO 600-EURO 1,000.
This depends on which part of France you will live in and the kind of accommodation you take.
Fortunately, students are often eligible for subsidised restaurant and transportation rates while living in France.
It is also essential to select the city you will study strategically, since the main cities are the most expensive, while the smallest has a much lower cost of living.
For accommodation, if you live in university accommodation, it is accessible, but the demand in these places is very high; the selection is based on social criteria and is awarded for exchange or scholarship students. You will also have the option of renting a flat or a studio apartment. There is also the option of a family home that can vary its monthly price depending on the location.
The good news is that students have the option of applying for a scholarship from their local Caisse d’Allocation Familiale (C.A.F.). The application is free, and if you meet the requirements, you can receive up to 35% of the monthly rent.
Student Life in France
Studying in a French university offers students an opportunity to socialise, understand and integrate with other students from across the globe. Collaborations on research, conferences and other events and activities, on and off-campus, allow for new experiences and interactions.
Excellent sports facilities are provided and encouraged in most colleges and universities, which usually become an integral part of most students’ schedules.
Class timings in most universities are flexible. A wide range of schedules is usually provided to students to choose from. This allows students to leverage their time management skills and plan their part-time work or other events in their program to their advantage.
French law allows international students to work for 60% of the legal work year, as long as they have a student resident permit. There is also a minimum wage guaranteed by law. This allows international students to plan expenses accordingly, become familiar with a typical work environment, and interact with individuals hailing from various cultures and backgrounds.
Being in France also allows students to visit the hugely famous tourist attractions, like the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, The Palace of Versailles, The Cathedral of Notre-Dame, amongst many more. France has a rich religious history to explore.
Job Opportunities Post Studying in France
France offers internationally recognised high-level qualifications so that you will have an exceptional network of hundreds of internationally renowned higher education institutions and research centres at your disposal.
Likewise, the country has some crucial industries in aerospace, the motor industry, the pharmaceutical industry, industrial machinery, metallurgy, electronics, textiles, food and beverages, tourism, and many other areas.
This country is recognised worldwide for its scientific, industrial, and economic experience: it is at the origin of great technological and industrial successes: the high-speed train, the smart card, the Ariane rocket, Airbus, etc.
In recent years, some industries have shown exponential job growth, which is good news for academic graduates who may want to apply for a job.
Studying in a foreign country certainly increases the value of your degree. It demonstrates an individual’s enthusiasm for getting out of their comfort zone to learn and discover new horizons in a completely new and stimulating environment.
The Application Process & Visa Requirements for Studying in France
To be eligible for applying for admission in a university in France, the student must fulfil the below criteria based on the degree he/she is applying for;
- Must be an Undergraduate: 10+2
- Minimum 3 years of Bachelors Degree to apply for Master’s program.
- Can apply with/without IELTS*
- It would help if you had a good score in IELTS.
- Strong Recommendation Letters
- Statement of Purpose/Personal Statement, Essays & Resume
- Certificates of achievement & extra-curricular activity participation
- Sound financial background
Once you have all the above in place, you can apply for admissions to your chosen university.
On securing admission, get ready for a round of Interview with Campus France. In the interview, you need to satisfy the officer on the following grounds;
- Your intentions to enter the France are for educational purposes only.
- You have sufficient funds to cover your study and living costs in the France.
- You will leave by the end of the authorised period of this stay.
- You will not breach the conditions of admission (e.g., you will not work without prior authorisation)
After your interview with Campus France, get ready to file your Visa application. In your visa interview, you need to satisfy the officer on the same aspects as you did in your Campus France Interview.
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