Education in France
France is the third most popular destination for international students after the UK and the USA. It has 83 public universities, about 200 engineering schools, 200 schools of economics and management, 120 public higher schools of art and 20 schools of architecture.
Primary and secondary education
Education for children of six to sixteen years is compulsory. The first level consists of two stages: three or four years spent at the nursery (école maternelle) and five years at primary school (école primaire). Secondary education covers four years at middle school (collège) and three years at high school (lycée) levels. After graduating from high school, teenagers take the French baccalaureate (baccalauréat) exam and can enter a university.
At state schools studies are almost free, except for lunches, school manuals and trips. Private schools charge tuition fees, but it is cheaper than in the UK or the US. Many French private schools are catholic and religious lessons are mandatory. They are popular as the education often caters to high standards.
The most prestigious Parisian lycées are located in the sixteenth arrondissement. These are the Lycée
France adopted the European higher education standards: the LMD system (Licence, Master, Doctorate). Earning a Licence (Bachelor’s) takes six semesters, Master's another four semesters, a Doctorate two more years with the possibility of extension.
The ability to write and speak French fluently is very important. Only business schools, like INSEAD where the learning and working language is English, are the exception. Admission requires a passport, birth certificate and diplomas. All the documents must have French translations and be apostilled. A motivation letter is also needed, along with the recommendations from teachers, employers, etc.
Grandes écoles are considered prestigious. They train highly qualified specialists in Engineering, Management, Economics, Military Science, Education and Culture. There are more than 220 of such institutions in France, including the Paris School of Engineering (École des Ingénieurs de la Ville de Paris), Polytechnic School (École Polytechnique), National School of Administration (École Nationale d'Administration or ENA), Superior Normal School (École Normale Supérieure). These schools are not easy to enter: there is a rigorous competitive admission process and many institutions are
Business schools (Ecoles de Commerce) are popular too. The most famous school is the School of Higher Commercial Studies (École des Hautes Etudes Commerciales or HEC Paris). Its alumni include the President of France, François Hollande, entrepreneur François Pinault (ranked
It's easier to enter one of the universities which consider applications based on the results of the baccalaureate exam. The most famous university is
Top French universities
|In France||Worldwide||University||French name||City|
|1||24||Superior Normal School,||École Normale Supérieure||Paris|
|2||35||Polytechnic School||École Polytechnique||Paris|
|3||115||Pierre and Marie
|Université Pierre et
Marie Curie (UPMC)
|4||179||Superior Normal School
|École Normale Supérieure
|6||210||Paris Diderot University –
|Université Paris Diderot –
|7||215||Joseph Fourier University||Université Joseph Fourier –
|8||222||Paris Institute of Political
|Sciences Po Paris||Paris|
|9||226||University of Strasbourg||Université de Strasbourg||Strasbourg|
|10||227||Paris Sorbonne University||Université
Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings
International students have the same rights as the French nationals. They have access to public insurance, subsidies for accommodation and discounts on public transport.
Expenses on preparing to study in France, EUR
|Online version of the student's record||70|
|Required annual bank account balance||6,150|
|Air tickets to France||About 200|
|University application fee||About 250|
The French government provides substantial financial support to universities. The annual subsidy per each student, both local and international, is about €10,000. That's why tuition fees rarely exceed €300 per year. In public higher engineering schools they are about €600 per year. In other higher education institutions, including business schools, they are notably higher:
Having entered an educational institution, students can apply for accommodation on campus, but the demand is very high. More frequently foreign citizens find private accommodation. Student property rentals are about
Average studio rental in French cities, EUR per month (2015)
According to the Observatory of Student Life (Observatoire de la Vie Etudiante, OVE),