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Education System in France: Understanding French Higher Education System

Yocket Editorial Team

International students have put France on the list of the top student destination to pursue higher education. The number of international students enrolled in the French higher education system from 2017- 2020 increased by 10.4%. The prestigious education system in France is a prime magnet to capture multiple international students across the globe.

The diversity, tourist destinations, and social life make it a superior choice for student living. If you too wish to pursue your education via the education system in France, this blog covers all related information for your reference.  

Table Of Contents:

  1. Education System In France
  2. An Overview Of The French Higher Education System
  3. List Of Top French Universities In 2022

Education System in France

The former is divided into three stages about the France education system: Primary, Secondary, and Higher education. 

Let’s learn about them one by one:


1. Primary Education in France

The primary education system is the first step a child takes towards education. The enrollment age is from three years. However, in France, children six years of age must enroll in education institutes. The age groups of students here are between 6 years to 11 years, and the duration is five years to study in France


2. Secondary Education in France

After completing primary education, students will enroll in the high school category. Here the education system is divided into two stages:


  • College

Here students will study for up to 4 years. The age group in this category is between 11 years to 15 years. Upon completion, students receive brevet des Colleges and move towards Lycee. 


  • Lycee

Lycee functions as an excellent high school where the study duration will be three years. To be eligible for this category, students need to pass an exam to avail of baccalaureat qualification equivalent to a US high school diploma. 


3. Higher Education in France

Once students complete the above, they enter the higher education category. This category is also divided into two stages:


  • Vocational Diploma

Vocational diploma is a two-year technology degree that offers DUT (diplome Universitaire de Technologie) and BTS (Brevet de technician Superieur). Students will have an additional study year after which they become licensed professionals. Students can claim the BTS from the high school, and the universities will award DUT. 


  • Academic Diploma

The French higher education system is divided into three categories:


  • Universities

The French university system is provided mainly by public institutions. They offer three types of study degrees, Licence, Masters, and Doctorate. These study degrees are referred to as cycles in France. To be eligible, students should have a baccalaureate or an equivalent. 


  • Grandes Ecoles

Grandes Ecoles functions similarly as a university where public and private institutions are present. They are considered as the elite higher education. France has a total of 3000 high schools that offer this type of education. 

Students will pursue a specialized three-year course study, after which they graduate with a Master’s degree. To be eligible, students should have a baccalaureate and complete two years of preparatory courses of the program chosen. 


  • Specialized Schools

Specialized schools are offered most by public and private institutions. These institutes provide license and Master degrees where the main aim is to develop students' skills towards their career path. 

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An Overview Of The French Higher Education System

The French University system follows a Bologna Process. This France education system for international students offers License, Masters and Doctorat programs. 

Let’s learn about each one of them in detail:


  • License

License is also referred to as an Undergraduate degree program. Here is an overview about France education system here:

No. Of Semesters

6 semesters (3 years)

Popular Bachelor Program Choices

Bachelor in Information technology, Business, Finance, Computer Science, Art, Economics, etc

Admission Process

High School Diploma, English Language Proficiency Test Scores, baccalaureate scores

Average Tuition Fees

170 euros- 16,800 euros/ year

Language of Instruction

`English & French

Admission Intake


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  • Masters

No. Of Semesters

10 semesters (2 years)

Popular Masters Program Choices

Masters in Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Corporate Communication, International Finance, etc

Admission Process

Bachelors qualification, English Proficiency Test Scores

Average Tuition Fees

243 euros- 23,100 euros/year

Language of Instruction

`English & French

Admission Intake



  • Doctorat

No. Of Semesters

16 semesters (3- 6 years)

Popular Doctorat Program Choices

Doctorat in Manufacturing, Business Management, Engineering, Arts, etc

Admission Process

Bachelors +Masters qualification in an equivalent field, Professional Experience, Good Academic Scores, English language Proficiency Scores

Average Tuition Fees

380 euros- 31,650 euros/year

Language of Instruction

`English & French

Admission Intake


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Note: Visit the universities official website for exact tuition fee and admission information as the details vary based on the former’s choice. 


Key Factors To Keep In Mind When Applying To France Education System For International Students:

  1. Students require an attestation when submitting their application forms.
  2. When applying for a study program, based on the language of instruction, international students will write a proficiency test on the same ( For French- DELF, DALF, TCF, TEF), ( Fo English- IELTS, TOEFL iBT, PTE)

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  1. French universities require supporting documents to accept your application successfully. The essentials are official transcripts, identity documents, English/French language proficiency test scores, Academic references, Interview results, etc. 


List Of Top French Universities in 2022

The Ministry of National Education regulates the education system in France. It is a recognized education system referred to as the Bologna Process (EU recognized). Most of the French education system rankings are listed on the QS-World University Rankings 2022.

We have covered the top ones:

Top French Universities

QS World University Ranking 2022

Universite PSL


Institut Polytechnique de Paris


Sorbonne University


Universit Paris- Saclay


Ecole Normale Superieure De Lyon


Ecole Des Ponts ParisTech


Sciences Po


Universite De Paris


Universite Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne


Universite Grenoble Alpes


Suggested: Top Universities & Colleges In France

France is home to 32 QS World University Rankings in 2022 alone. The education system in France aims to help students develop the right skills and knowledge to conquer any career opportunities. While we are aware of the beauty of the French culture, it’s time to also ponder upon their valuable education system. To help you get started, explore the public universities in France for better clarity. 



Frequently Asked Questions About Education System In France

Does France have a good education system?

Where is France ranked in Education?

Is France good for international students?

Can I study in France without knowing French?

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