With course fees significantly lower than the UK, studying in France could be an appealing prospect. Before you don your beret and bid au revoir find out about entry requirements and student visas
France is one of Europe's largest countries and the worlds most popular tourist destination. Students who cross the Channel to study in France reap the benefits of one of the most prestigious education systems in the world; as well as enjoying the social life associated with the many bars, restaurants, cafes, museums, galleries and cinemas.
While studying you'll experience many different cultures as French universities are renowned for attracting millions of international students every year.
The French education system
There are three types of higher education institutions in France:
- Public universities - government-funded and open to everyone with the required qualifications.
- Grandes écoles - considered more illustrious and require candidates to sit exams.
- Technical institutes - part of the university system and cover vocational subjects.
A number of French universities are ranked in the QS World University Rankings, including the École normale supériere, Paris and École Polytechnique, Palaiseau.
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When applying to a higher education institution, you must present your A-levels (baccalauréat) or undergraduate degree (licence). Entry requirements vary for each university, so make sure you contact institutions directly to ensure your application is correct.
For French-speaking courses, you are required to take a Test de Connaissance du Francais (TCF). This can be organised by the French Ministries for National Education and Higher Education and Research and is designed to test your French language capabilities.
There are around 700 postgraduate programmes in France that are taught in English. Generally speaking, candidates for these courses are not required to speak French.
European Union (EU) citizens are entitled to attend university in France or any EU country (this means the 27 member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). The same conditions apply to all EU citizens whether a national of the country or not. This means that you are not required to pay higher course fees and that you are entitled to apply for any grants available to help with tuition fees.
Funding to study in France
Funding and study grants in France are assigned depending on individual circumstances. There is a variety of financial help and support available to students, from research allowances to assistance with accommodation and transport. The French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs allocates a large number of grants to international students.
Search for a grant for your nationality, subject area and level of study at:
French exchanges and placements
Students attending UK universities can take part in the EU's education, training and youth support programme Erasmus+. The scheme replaces its predecessor 'Erasmus' and offers study, training, work experience and voluntary placements to millions of young people, students and adults. Opportunities last from three months to one academic year in EU countries.
Financial support is available through the Erasmus+ initiative to any UK public, private or not-for-profit organisation actively involved in education and training.
Your university must have a formal agreement with a partner university in another EU country. Check that your university is involved in the programme and offers the Erasmus+ scheme in your subject.
You can arrange intensive language courses before you go, although it isn't always necessary to speak the language of your host country. Speak to the Erasmus+ coordinator at your university about available opportunities.
As an EU citizen, you are permitted to live in any EU country while studying as long as you:
- are studying for more than three months;
- are enrolled at an approved university/other educational institution;
- have sufficient income (from any source) to live without needing income support;
- have comprehensive health insurance cover.
Some countries require you to register with the local authority after three months. Find out how to register at:
- Europa - Rights, Conditions and Formalities
- Campus France - Obtaining and Renewing a Residency Permit
If you are not an EU citizen, you may require a visa to stay in France. To find out if you need a visa and how to apply, visit France Diplomatie - Getting a Visa.
Find out more
- Discover what it's like to work in France.
- To search for courses and learn about academic life in France visit Campus France.
- For general information on studying and living in the country see Studying in France.
- Read information from the French Foreign Ministry at France Diplomatie - Studying in France.