The French higher education system is composed of more than 3,500 institutes, public and private alike. They are broadly divided into two categories, the grandes écoles and universities (universités or facultés). More than 1300 classes are taught in English, and around 10% of enrolments at French universities are international students (about 250,000 students in 2019).
For more information please refer to the official government website regarding higher education institutions: https://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/pid24544/formations-et-diplomes.html
The university system is similar to other European countries and is typically composed of three cycles - Bachelor’s degree (licence) lasting 3 years, Master’s degree (typically 2 years in France) and Doctoral degree (Doctorat), 3 years. In parallel, the grandes écoles admit students after two years of post high-school validated studies called preparatory classes (classes préparatoires). Most students who wish to pursue engineering or commerce go through the grande école channel. However, the two systems are not independent from one another, and it is not uncommon for students to integrate a grande école after obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Medicine studies require 8 years for general medicine with an additional 3 years for specialisation.
At the Bachelor’s and preparatory classes levels, French Baccalaureate students apply through an online portal named “Parcoursup”. The two parallel systems differ in their rate of admissions: universities accept all students allocated to them by the Parcoursup system, whereas preparatory classes (classes préparatoires) select students based on baccalaureate results. For international students, the process differs between universities and schools and the student should contact their chosen institutions to inquire about the entry requirements. At the Master’s, Doctoral and grande école level, most applications are submitted directly to the university or school and a language proficiency exam might be required for courses taught in English and/or French. Typically, Master’s degree applications require a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent and most institutions will ask for a cover letter and resume. There is a wider selection of English-language degrees at the Master’s level and above.
The average tuition fees are the same for domestic and international students and are as follows:
|Bachelor’s (License)||Master’s||Doctorate / PhD||Engineering school||Grande écoles|
|~€180 /an||~€250 /an||~ €400 /an||~ €600 /an||From €500 to €10,000 /an|
The tuition fees vary between €150 and €700 depending on the institution and level of studies for state funded schools. Private school fees can get up to €15000 per annum. Scholarships are available for students coming from low-income families