country-guide-image
France flag

Study in France

Overview

France is an EU country that excels in multiple fields, including biology and pharmaceuticals, nuclear energy and research, automobile and aviation, food and cuisine, high fashion, art etc. The French have such multifaceted development in such varied fields that they have some of the best schools throughout the country. France has been a melting pot of cultures since the conception of La Sorbonne, the first French University, which was more than 800 years ago, Medicine, law and Theology was taught to students who came from all over Europe. However with the coming of modern times the French have opened their doors to the rest of the world and it has become a true mixture of races. Since France is such a country with a population that comes from a myriad of countries, foreign students fit right in, and the warm French demeanor only eases the process. The French government in 1998 made multiple changes in the education system so as to ease the availability of French education to foreign nationals who come to France to get educated. The country is utterly elegant in every imaginable way, and something that one must experience. Some of the world’s best restaurants, art galleries and entertainment venues are only the tip of the iceberg as far as what the country offers. If you happen to attend a college in Paris, you can experience the wonder that the Eiffel Tower is.

The government offers medical insurance to students (including international students) under 28 years of age for free and for anyone above the age, a nominal fee of 211 euros an year would make them eligible for the insurance scheme. Besides this lucrative detail, the government also allows students to work for 20 hours a week, if the student is enrolled for a full time course to help the students sustain themselves during their stay in the country. The students may employ themselves informally with a minimal pay of 9.61 euros (pretax)/hour. An average student requires about 600-650 (may change based on the city of residence) Euros to sustain the expenses of the month, excluding tuitions, and a part time job should be able to cover these expenses without any problems.

There are a plethora of reasons why attending an institution in France is an interesting proposal for a student who is not of French origins, these include the lowest tuition costs, the chance to explore the amazing country that France is and the benefit of receiving some of the most valued education and training from top notch tutors. The benefits that come with a European degree, and a French one at that, extends way beyond what can be listed in this article. Don’t think twice, the French will welcome you with open arms, and it will without doubt be the best decision that you make if you choose France for your higher education.

Education System

The French educate 1.5 million pupil in a year ( graduate and post graduate levels) and whopping 10 % of this is composed of international students from all around the globe. With a diverse platter of courses that the French universities have to offer, one is sure to be able to find the specific course that one desires. The higher education system in France is the similar to the pan European style of administration, called the Bologna system, which eases the international mobility as the degrees are valid in most EU countries. France utilizes the same three-level higher education system as do the rest of the 29 European countries involved in the Bologna system. The ‘Licence’ and ‘Licence Professionnelle’ degrees are undergraduate, recognized throughout the world as a Bachelor’s. Post graduate courses include Master’s and Doctorate (PhD).

The French implement a credit-based system whereby each module within the course is given a certain amount of ECTS (European credits). These credits are usually transferable within courses. Once a student is able to acquire 180 ECTS, he/she will earn a Licence, and a further 120 ECTS must be acquired for a Master’s qualification. The low tuition fees are a hallmark of universities that are government institutions (most are government run). However, the most prestigious of the French institutions are the Grandes Écoles. These are private institutes that offer degrees that are sought after by the top most organizations in the European Union. Students must have completed 2 years of validated study after graduating the Baccalauréat (Secondary education, a degree like the 12th std in the Indian educational system) or equivalent - an addition that public universities bypass.

Choosing a course and University in France:

Choosing a University is just a matter of choosing ones with lower ROI ranks. Besides that, one has to look at the fact that the university has the course you are interested in as well as other factors like the tuition fees, living expenses in the city and whether the institution gives out scholarships.

Research and dive into every aspect of the course. Study the course content over the duration of the degree. One must go through the modules covered in each course thoroughly and identify the ones that are necessary for enhancing one’s employability. If you as a student do not understand the significance and the brief contents of the modules that each course has to offer, then it may lead to the realization that the course is not the one that you can cope with or you have interest in. Changing courses or repeating first year can become an extremely pricey affair so research, and research well. It is simple to look up the institutions’ web pages for a complete breakdown of each module and its learning outcomes. Find peers and seniors who are enrolled in the same courses through the tool (Yocket) and through third party networks like LinkedIN and facebook, clarify all doubts that you have about the course, with questions that are specific and to the point (how many students failed the course, how many were recruited last year, Is module X taught by professor Y difficult or easy, do you get to have real world internships and professional experience). In the end you have to get your doubts cleared and weigh your options, and choose the course that suits your needs.

Top Courses

If you want to move out of the Paris, then southern France is something you should be looking at. Management is the top favorite among all the courses.

Study Management / MBA in France:

  • INSEAD.
  • HEC Paris.
  • ESSEC Business School.
  • Grenoble Graduate School of Business.
  • EDHEC Business School.

Admission Process

University shortlist:
Before you jump into conclusions based on your bias, it is always better that you make a list of universities that you would want to get into depending on variables such as preferred course/supervisor, tuition fee, availability of scholarship, cost of living in the particular city, availability of informal employment, proximity to known relatives etc.

List of documents/Application requirements:
Each university requires at least two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose and the copy of your passport for applying for a normal course. Applications for different institutions with multiple courses can be filled online and uploaded using the CampusFrance website. This centralized application process makes it easy on the student. After filing the application, the candidate will be allotted a Student ID. This ID must be mentioned in the all the supplementary documents that we are going to upload ( transcripts, passport copies etc.) .

Apart from this the candidate also needs to prepare a list of documents required for the visa process once the candidate receives admittance into one’s university of choice.

Choosing the university:
Depending on your eligibility you may get admits into multiple universities and this is great, because now you can go back through your university shortlist and compare the pros and cons of the universities that you got admission in to. Normally, it would be best to consider the ROI ranks of the university in such a situation to improve one’s chances at employability and naturalization in France. Along with this one can also contact peers who used Yocket and have been inducted in such programmes; other Indian nationals who are alumni or are currently pursuing their education in that particular institute either through linkedIN or facebook.

Applying for a student visa:
Applying for a student visa is a bit time taking as it may take up to 8 weeks in certain cases, and requires some form filling and documents.However, Campus France makes it relatively easier for the student; helping them with the documents required and serving as a mediating party between the student and the French Government. It is important that one must make a judicious and quick decision regarding the university that one wants to choose so that the visa applications may proceed as quickly as possible. The complete details for visa applications can be found here (link to self).

Flight and accommodation:
It is recommended to book flight tickets well in advance so that one reaches at least 15 days prior to the commencement of the course. Advance booking is best recommended when chances of getting admits to the chosen course is very good.

Apart from this one requires to make preliminary preparations like converting some amount of money to euros, carrying a international roaming supported sim card or activating international roaming on your present cell phone service, learning about the French culture so as one doesn’t come off as rude as soon as one lands in the country.

Cost of Attendance

Tuition fees at public universities

Tuition fees at public universities in France have variable prices, depending on the level of the course (graduate/post graduate/doctoral)

For Bachelor’s programmes, the average tuition fees are around 190 EUR per year.
Engineering degrees have higher tuition fees of around 620 EUR per academic year.
The average tuition fees for Medicine studies can lead to 450 EUR per year.
The average fees for a Master are around 260 EUR/year and for a PhD 396 EUR/year; you should expect higher fees for certain specialised degrees.
A contribution to campus and student life of 90 EUR is mandatory for students.

Tuition fees at other types of institutions:

Grandes ecoles – Students will pay more at France’s highly selective grandes écoles and grands établissements (great schools and establishments), which set their own fees (about 500-600 EUR per year, but in some cases, they can lead up to 10,000 EUR per year).
Private universities –Tuition fees in private universities start at 1,500 and can reach 20,000 EUR per year.
In business schools, regardless of the degree level, fees range between 5,000 and 7,000 EUR a year.
Most affordable universities in France

Here is a list of French universities with the most affordable tuition fees:

University Lille Sciences et Technologies – average tuition fees 261 EUR/year
Université de Lyon – average tuition fees 500 EUR/year
Université du Maine – average tuition fees 500 EUR/year
Grenoble INP Institute of Engineering Univ. Grenoble Alpes - average tuition of 261 EUR/year
University of Burgundy – average tuition fees 500 EUR/year
Books or other stationeries average at 50 EUR/month;

Average living costs in French cities and towns:

The overall living costs in France depend on your lifestyle, but, most of all, they depend on your chosen location, mainly the French city you live in. It is estimated that you will need around 430 EUR per month to survive while you attend college in the country, but this is a no frills or bare minimum figure. All of the things that we’ve talked about above do not include that many things that will be needed while you study, such as clothing, entertainment, school testing fees, etc. If you are an international student, the laws in France allow you to work part-time up to 20 hours per week while you study in France. While this money can certainly help, it may not be enough to cover all of the things that you will need.

Check the average budget you would need for each of the large cities in France:

Paris: between 1,200 and 1,800 EUR/month (sometimes including the accommodation, if you choose to live in a student hall of residence);
Nice: between 900 and 1,400 EUR/month;
Lyon, Nantes, Bordeaux or Toulouse: between and 800 – 1.000 EUR;
For the rest of France, you can manage with smaller amounts (at least 650 EUR).
Accommodation

Prices for accommodation are usually above the international average of 200 – 300 EUR/month.

The main housing options for students in France are:

Student halls of residence – between 150 and 600 EUR/month, including facilities, if the room is private or shared.
Rent/share an apartment – between 400 and 700 EUR/month, while in smaller French cities you can rent a small apartment for about 300 EUR/month; ( this is the most viable option for Indian students as sharing the rent brings the individual costs down)
If you will live with your partner and/or children, the price for rent would range from 700 to 1,000 EUR/month, and you could pay higher if you choose an apartment in the city centre. The utility bills (electricity, water, the internet) would be another 200 EUR/month;
Host family (Paying guest) – you can find rates that are only 200 EUR/ month to about 800 EUR/month in Paris. However, they all include at least one meal per day.
International students also have access to VISALE, which offers free rent deposit. It allows students to give a guarantee on the payment of rents t and increase their chances to quickly find accommodation.

Food costs:
One person can expect to spend on average about 250 – 300 EUR/month on groceries in Paris, or less in the provinces. The average price for a meal in the least expensive restaurant costs between 10 and 15 EUR. A more affordable option where you can have a meal anywhere in France are the bistros, brasseries and crepe stands. Some bistros serve substantial meals, and a crepe can take the place of lunch and prices are from 5 to 8 EUR.

You will get the best value if you buy from the supermarket; the cheapest supermarkets in France are Leclerc, followed by Géant Casino. Affordable places to have dinner include the Courtepaille restaurant chain, Buffalo Grill, or inexpensive restaurants in Paris, like Michi. Besides this a student can also have lunch at the university cafeteria for as little as 3 EUR.

Transportation in France:

A monthly pass for the bus, metro or tram sets you back by approximately 30 EUR;
You can also rent a bike through the Vélib bicycle rental programme, Bordeaux is the most bike-friendly city in France.
You can also use the TGV (Train de grande vitesse/ the high speed train transit system) to visit other cities in France, for around 30 EUR a trip.
If you purchase an international youth travel card, you can get major discounts to visit sights around France.

Best student cities

France is a vibrant country in western Europe. With more than 800 english programs and numerous french programs in business, engineering, technology, arts, literature, music etc. the city has seen large numbers of international students flocking to be a part of french education & culture. Paris has been ranked world’s no.1 student friendly city by QS but there is more to France than just the capital city. a list of top 10 such cities in the country based on the parameters like presence of schools, student mix, affordability and employment opportunities are presented here

  • Paris
  • Lyon
  • Toulouse
  • Nice
  • Montpellier
  • Grenoble
  • Lille
  • Rennes
  • Bordeaux
  • Marseille

Visa

Visa Application for international students from India is a fairly simple process. The student has to go through CampusFrance, an organization (French national agency) that helps international students to ease the process to get higher education in France. CampusFrance serves as an information resource for you in planning every stage of your stay in France – helping you define your study plans, choose and apply to programs, and assist you with the visa processing. Campus France does take a fee of Rs. 8500/-.The student has to deposit Rs. 8,500/- (Cash/Demand Draft - drawn in favor INSTITUT FRANCAIS EN INDE, at a BNP PARIBAS branch) by filling a deposit slip available in the bank. The receipt of this fee payment is very important as it is one of the mandatory documents required during the academic interview that is carried out prior to applying to French institutions.

The following are the basic steps for the application of a French student’s long term visa.

1. Create an online account with CampusFrance and upload required documents ( all documents below 300KB).

2. Prepare all the hard copies of the documents that are required for the academic interview including the Rs. 8500/- receipt from BNP Paribas.

3. Depending on your applications and the chosen institutes, you shall be either accepted or rejected for the chosen course. In case of acceptance, you will receive a mail from the institution to your CampusFrance account.

4. CampusFrance will then validate your online form and schedule an academic interview with you, where you will be asked about your motivation for studying in France. (This also where the student pay a additional fee of Rs. 13500/-). Following the interview, Interview completion certificate will be given to you along with the original copies of the hard copies of the documents that were bought..

5. After one receives the letter of acceptance, one can go to the VFS-France and schedule an appointment to deposit the documents required for visa application and then deposit them on the requested date of appointment. (scheduling of the appointment can also be done via http://www.vfs-france.co.in/ )

The following documents are required for the academic interview by CampusFrance:

1. Grade XII / 10+2 (ISC, CBSE, PUC or equivalent) – marks card and pass certificate

2. Bachelor degree certificate (Provisional degree certificate / Course completion certificate) and marks cards (if applicable).

3. Master degree certificate (Course completion certificate) and marks cards (if applicable).

4. Categories 1, 2 & 4 - Acceptance / admission letter from the French Institution has been accepted for an internship program

5. Language test certifications if required by your institution in France ( not required unless you opt for a course in French)

6. Passport (valid for the entire duration of the course)

7. Curriculum vitae / resume

8. Experience Letter (if applicable)

9. Payment acknowledgment slip from BNP Paribas.

10. INR 13,500

11. Any other documents that you may have uploaded on the Campus France online form

The following documents are required for the visa application: (along with a visa application fee of 50 EUR in Indian currency)

1. Complete your application on the CampusFrance online portal. You will be asked to create a France-Visas account, which you will need for each step of the process.

2. Two passport size photographs of the past 3 months meeting set standards – one must be attached to the application form (Size 3.5 cm x 4.5 cm, with clear background). (Download application form here http://www.inde.campusfrance.org/sites/locaux/files/long_stay_visa_application_form_0.pdf )

3. Passport: a full national private passport or official travel document with a minimum of three months validity beyond the validity of the requested visa, with two blank visa pages with the mention “visa” to affix the visa sticker. The passport should be issued less than 10 years ago.

4. One copy of the passport mentioning personal identity and validity extension informations, “note on remarks” page and all the pages which contain Schengen visas.

5. Old passports: if you own one or more former passports, you must bring them.

6. A print out of your CampusFrance ID number.

7. A letter of registration from a French Academic Institution or a certificate testifying that you will follow a European Union Training Program or proof of scholarship.

8. Cover letter explaining the study project and your motivation, including a short curriculum vitae/ resume.

9. Proof of resources: tuition fees + a minimum of 615 Euros/month x by number of months of stay (living expenses). Only liquid assets will be considered. In the case of family member/friend funding your studies, an undertaking must be provided on plain paper duly signed along with supporting financial documents. Bank statements of the last 3 months (of the individual sponsoring the education and the student’s bank statements if he/she has an account in his/her name). If you are being hosted by a family in France, an “Attestation d’accueil” will have to be provided by the family (A sample of this document may be downloaded from http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/particuliers/R10751.xhtml). In such a case you will have to show resources for a minimum of 300 euros per month for your living expenses. Note: holders of a scholarship are not concerned. A certificate mentioning the amount and the duration of the scholarship is only required.

10. Proof of medical insurance with coverage valid for France if you are attending a school or university for a stay which is less than 6 months, or if you are 28 or older regardless of the length of your studies (+ 1 photocopy). You will have to prove that the coverage is valid while you study in France with a letter from your medical insurance.

11. One copy of your round trip ticket if you are studying 6 months or less (+ 1 photocopy) or a one way ticket only if you are studying in France more than 6 months (+ 1 photocopy).

12. The “Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration” OFII form duly filled and signed. Download the OFII form here.

Accommodation during the first three months of the stay: (à verifier). Proof of residency in France such as a lease, electricity bill, title of property etc. for a minimum of 3 months + 1 photocopy. Hotel: reservation and necessary resources to cover costs. Accommodation provided by an individual : “attestation d’accueil”, or attestation by solemn undertaking (in this case, the copies of identity card and electricity bill and receipt for rent payment or title of property must been provided). Accommodation in an establishment (or in an institution) or provided by an establishment (or an institution): attestation by the establishment or the institution
Applications earlier than three months before the scheduled date of departure will not be accepted for verification at the VFS-France office. The whole process can take anywhere between 4weeks to 8 weeks. In case of rejection, one can apply again and contest any unjust rejection and the reapplication results will be announced passively ( no reply) or actively within 90 days.

Top Scholarships

Given below is a set of universities, third parties and government institutions that offer scholarship opportunities to international students wanting to pursue their studies abroad.

List of scholarships for Study Abroad for Fall/Spring 2021.

Government Scholarships for International Students:

  • The Eiffel Scholarships
  • Erasmus Mundus Scholarships
  • Ile-de-France Masters Scholarships


University Scholarships for International Students:

  • Centrale Nantes
  • The Ecole Central Paris Graduate Fellowship
  • SciencesPo Emile-Boutmy Scholarship
  • HEC Paris
  • INSEAD
  • ISM Global Leadership Scholarship

Work Opportunities

International students by default have a right to work when in France, provided that they are enrolled in institutions that participates in the national student health-care plan. The student must also hold a valid residency permit so as to be eligible for part-time work. One definitely has to learn French if one wants to work in any French establishment as these jobs will mostly involve interacting with native French speakers and unlike the course which is taught in English, the people will not respond very amicably to English. It is therefore important to get your spoken French polished.

Working part time with full time course

International students who have received a student visa (student resident permit) for long stay in France are eligible to employ themselves on a part time basis. French law allows foreign students to carry out part time (part time is mandatory) work of 964 hours during the year, the equivalent of 60% of the legal work year. A part time employee is at least eligible for the minimum wage decided by French law, which is commonly called the SMIC (Salaire Minimum Interprofessionnel de Croissance - the minimum wage). It is 9.76 Euros gross per hour as of January 1st, 2018. This wage is gross; you have to deduct mandatory taxes (about 20%) so as to get €7.61/hour. If you work 10 hours per week for the minimum wage, you will earn about 78 Euros net.

University as a place of study and work

French universities may employ international students within the campus. These work contracts for students last at most twelve months, from September 1st to August 31st. The various jobs include: receiving students at the start of the academic year, tutorials, cultural or sport activities, assistance for students with disabilities etc. In order to help students succeed and find work afterwards, student work in a university is adapted to their timetables and classes. For the same reason, students who work in French universities may not work more than 670 hours from September 1st to June 30th, and no more than 300 hours from July 1st to August 31st.

Carrying out a mandatory internship

As part of some degrees, the student must do an internship. French and foreign students are subject to the same rules:

1. The internship must be contractual (signed by the establishment and the structure hosting the student);

2. In the event that the internship lasts more than two months, the student must be paid 577,50 Euros per month (as of 1st January 2018).

Working after you have finished your course

Students who have completed their masters degree may approach the visa office for a 6 months temporary extension beyond the expiration date of the residency permit. It can be done only once per student and is officially referred to as APS (authorisation provisoire de séjour). However even with this extension the applicant can only work for 60% of the official working week as prescribed during the time when the course was active.

FAQs

Does a student need to know French to study in France?

No. Not all courses require a student to know French, there are many courses in engineering, management, hospitality and fashion studies that are taught in English. However it is always advisable to learn French, to enjoy a good stay

What are the tests to be taken while applying to universities in Paris?

GMAT is required for MBA and management courses.However there are also many management courses that do not require GMAT. GRE is certainly not required.

Are Indian degrees recognized in France and vice-versa?

A Bachelor's degree is obtained after 3 years, a Masters's after 5 years and a Doctorate after 8 years, all after the baccalaureate, which is similar to the Indian education system.