Study in France: Top Universities, Cost, Admissions, Funding, Visa & Scope for International Students

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    Sugandhi Sood

    Study Abroad Expert

    France ranks amongst the most popular higher education destinations in Europe, just after the UK and Germany. Numerous French universities and Grandes Ecoles rank highly in the various reputable international rankings, such as THE, the FT ranking, and the QS. The perfect blend of ancient and modern universities along with 5-star rated quality education is what allures international students to study in France.

    The French government is also keen on inviting students to study in France and diversifying the education system. Presently, around 3,50,000 students from countries across the world are enrolled with higher education institutions in France. Around 70% of the total international student population is pursuing studies in public universities, where the tuition is charged at subsidized rates. Students are required to pay tuition fees of 2,770 to 3,770 EUR (around 2.5 to 3.5 Lakhs). However, the tuition fees at various Grandes Ecoles and other private institutions can be as high as 35,000 EUR (around 31 Lakhs).

    Along with studying in France, international students have a chance to stay in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The cost of living for a single international student can be as low as 800 EUR and as high as 1,900 EUR. International students planning to study in France have an opportunity to work while studying, allowing them to explore different sectors and countries. Post completion of their program, graduates can expect to earn somewhere between 40,000 EUR and 100,000 EUR.

    Top Universities to Study in France

    France is home to more than 3,500 public and private institutions categorised as universities and Grandes Ecoles.Of its 83 globally renowned universities, France boasts 37 entrants that made it top ranking universities in the world in 2022 by QS.

    Amongst the list of renowned universities and higher education institutions following ten are best-ranked universities of France:

    University Name QS Ranking 2022 Annual Fees (in EUR)
    Paris Sciences et Lettres University 44 2,770-3,770
    Ecole Polytechnique (ParisTech) 68 12,000-16,000
    Sorbonne University 72 2,770-3,770
    Université Paris-Saclay 86 2,770-3,770
    École Normale Supérieure de Lyon 130 2,770-3,770
    Sciences Po =261 13,000 to 18,000
    Université de Paris =261 2,770-3,770
    Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne 290 2,770-3,770
    Université Grenoble Alpes 314 2,770-3,770
    Université de Strasbourg =421 2,770-3,770

    In addition to these globally ranking institutions, France is home to some of the best B-schools in the world. From INSEAD to HEC Paris, from EMLYON Business School to Rennes Business School, students can choose to study in any top MBA school.

    Study in France: Top MBA Colleges

    As per Financial Times 2021 rankings, 5 business schools of France rank amongst the top 100 in the world. The table below highlights the top B-school in France along with their location:

    College Name FT Rankings 2021 QS Ranking 2021 Location
    INSEAD 1 6 Paris
    HEC Paris 7 5 Paris
    EDHEC Business School 76 40 Lille
    ESSEC Business School 81 27 Paris
    EMLYON Business School 90 62 Lyon
    ESSEC Business School - 27 Paris
    ESCP Business School - 48 Lyon
    Grenoble Ecole de Management - 84 Grenoble
    KEDGE Business School - - Bordeaux
    Toulouse Business School - 121-131 Toulouse
    Audencia Business School - 151-200 Nantes
    Rennes School of Business - - Rennes

    How to Study in France: Admission Process

    For French institutions, the academic session begins in September, October, or November, depending upon the institution in question. Before starting your application forms, identify the program that you are interested in. Then prepare your application timeline and supporting documents.

    Application Timeline to Study in France

    Most of the universities in France have their own fixed admission timelines. However, based on the application deadlines of the universities, we have formed an approximate admission timeline for international students planning to study in France.

    • 8 to 9 months before Admission Session: Choose your program of study and shortlist the French institutions you want to apply for.
    • 3 to 4 months before Admission Dates: Appear for standardised tests required to study in France such as IELTS, GMAT, etc.
    • November to July: Depending on the university deadlines, apply for your shortlisted course(s).
    • For the majority of UG courses, the deadline is either in January or in April.
      • For PG courses in France, the deadlines vary tremendously.
      • MBA admissions take place in between March-July.
    • December to August: The admission decisions are notified by the institutions. Generally, the universities provide their decision within one month of application submission.

    How to Apply to Study in France

    International applicants are advised to start their applications only when they have gathered all the necessary documents. Though the entire process is simple, it can be gruelling for a few. To serve you in the process, the step-by-step guide for the application process of France is as compiled below:

    • Plan your finances: Cost of attendance at public french universities is nominal but that at private institutions like Ecole Polytechnique (ParisTech) is comparatively high. Therefore, it is important for you to make a budget for studying in France.
    • Explore your options: With more than 200+ engineering schools, 220+ business schools, and 100+ other specialized institutions, choosing the right institution is a tough decision. Choose wisely.
    • Prepare application package: Each institution in France has its own application system. Ensure that you have gone through the admission requirements and verified the eligibility requirements.
    • Submit your application: Once you have completed the application form along with student supporting documents, proceed to submit your application.
    • Apply for a visa to study in France: As soon as you have received your acceptance letter, begin the process for French student visa. Complete the online visa application along with necessary documents, especially the proof of funding 880 EUR.

    Admission Requirements for Studying in France

    • Completed Application form
    • Application fee
    • Educational transcripts starting from High school education till the recently completed academic degree/diploma etc.
    • Resume
    • Statement of Purpose
    • Evidence of Financial worthiness
    • Two Recommendation Letters (preferably from supervisors)
    • English language proficiency test scores- IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, etc
    • Passport Size photographs

    International students must note that the admission to Grandes Ecoles is very selective and is based on a competitive entry exam. The applicants can appear for the exam only after completing the two years of preparatory classes along with their relevant academic qualifications.

    Admission Requirements for Popular Programs to Study in France

    Specific admission requirements for some of the popular programs to study in France are tabulated as follows:

    Course Name Admission Requirements
    MBA Relevant UG degree, 2 years of work experience, IELTS 7.0, GMAT: 650+
    Masters in Electrical Engineering UG degree in Engineering with 55%, IELTS Score: 6.5
    Masters in Management UG degree in relevant field, IELTS score: 6.5, GMAT Score: 650+
    Masters in Biotechnology UG degree in biology, engineering or other relevant field, IELTS Score: 6.5
    Masters in Computer Science and Information Systems UG degree in CS with at least 60%, IELTS: 6.5
    Bachelors in International Management 75% or above in Class XII, IELTS Score: 6.0
    Bachelors in International Business 70-75% or above in Class XII, IELTS: 6.0
    Bachelor of Business Administration 60-70% or above in Class XII, IELTS: 5.5

    Visa for Studying in France

    Majority of international students planning to study in France need to apply for and obtain a long-stay visa (required for courses exceeding 90 days). The step by step guidelines for the student visa for France is:

    Step I: Fill out an online application form

    Step II: Attach the supporting documents

    Step III: Book an appointment with the visa application centre.

    Step IV: Submit your application in person at the centre.

    Step V: Get biometric done with photograph and 10- individual fingerprints.

    Step Vi: Pay the visa application fee of 99 EUR (around 8761 INR).

    Along with the visa application form, candidates are required to submit the following supporting documents:

    • Two recent passport-size photographs
    • Valid passport with at least 2 blank pages
    • Official enrollment/ acceptance letter from french institution
    • Proof of available finances ( approx 615 EUR per month)
    • Airline ticket showing departure date
    • Medical insurance certificate
    • Proof of French and English language proficiency

    Study in France Cost

    One of the key attractions of studying in France is its relatively low cost of attendance. For an international student, the annual cost of studying in France is somewhere between 7,500 EUR to 10,000 EUR. This estimated annual cost, that is quite low in comparison to other countries, includes not just the tuition expenses and accommodation but also expenses like entertainment, food, transportation, etc.

    Fortunately, French government offers a wide range of scholarships and grants at both institutional and national level. Potential students are advised to estimate their cost of studying in France accordingly.

    Tuition Fees for Studying in France

    The tuition cost varies for the public and private institutions in France. Since the French government subsidizes public higher institutions, the cost of tuition is quite low. The table below highlights the international tuition fees for public universities and colleges in France:

    Level of Study Annual Fees (in EUR) Annual Fees (in INR*)
    Bachelor Programs 2,770 2,44,993
    Master Programs 3,770 3,33,438
    Doctorate Programs 380 33,609

    *1 EUR=88.45 INR(June 2021)

    Contrary to this, the cost of tuition is relatively higher for the private institutions, ranging between 3,000 EUR and 25,000 EUR. Along with the choice of institution, the cost of tuition for studying in France depends upon your choice of program.

    However, applicants of both public and private institutions must note that they might be charged some additional administrative charges. Nonetheless, the overall tuition expenses will still be far less than the majority of other study abroad destinations.

    Cost of Living in France

    Undoubtedly, the tuition expenses are relatively inexpensive, and the cost of living in France is high. For Paris, the most expensive city in France, the monthly expenses for Indian students will be above 1 lakh. The average cost of living, for various cities in France, has been highlighted below:

    City Monthly Expenses
    Paris 1195-1780
    Bordeaux 750-1050
    Lyon 891-1300
    Toulouse 799-1160
    Nantes 600-650

    The biggest living expense that any student has to incur is the accommodation charges. In various French cities, international students can opt one of the following accommodation settings:

    • Private Apartment: 450 EUR per month
    • University Accommodation Room: 240 EUR per month
    • University Accommodation Flat: 405 EUR per month

    Along with the accommodation expenses, international students have to take on the following expenses:

    Expense Type Monthly Expenses (in EUR)
    Accommodation 200-500
    Meals 300-350
    Healthcare 20-25
    Transportation 100-250
    Entertainment 30-35

    International Scholarships to Study in France

    While France is a sought-after study abroad destination because of its low-cost tuition, its over-the-top living expenses puts students in doubt. Understanding this, the french institutions as well as the government offer a plethora of international scholarships to study in France.

    Between French government and Erasmus+ programme, international students seeking financial support are totally covered. Around 35% of total scholarships available for international students are offered by the French Foreign Ministry.

    Campus Bourses is an official tool to search for international scholarships available to study in France. Some of the popular scholarships are tabulated below:

    Scholarship Benefits Level of Study/Courses
    IAF Scholarship for Women, INSEAD 15000-25000 Bachelor and Masters
    Eiffel Excellence Scholarship 1,181 EUR monthly allowance;
    International air travel;
    Local transportation;
    Masters and Doctorate
    Excellence-Major Scholarship, Sciences Po 500 EUR (annually) or 222- 685 EUR (monthly) Bachelor and Masters
    Deutschlandstipendium 300 EUR per month Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate
    Early Bird Scholarship, ESC Clermont Full-tuition fees Bachelor, MGE and MSc programs
    The KEDGE Business School Scholarship 2500-3000 EUR Finance programs at Bachelor and Masters level

    Want to check other scholarships to study in France, Click Here In addition to the scholarships offered to students in France, Indian students can apply for the following scholarships to study in France:

    Scholarships Benefits
    Inlaks Shivdasani Scholarship Partial tuition and living waiver
    National Overseas Scholarships Partial funding
    Go Clean Scholarships 3500 USD
    QS Scholarship 2000-10000 USD
    Global Study Awards 10000 USD

    Work Permit to Study in France

    International graduates who wish to stay in France must have a potential full-time job lined up or a contractual position, paying them at least 1.5 times the minimum wage (2,220 EUR). Another way to stay-back in France after graduation is to obtain a temporary resident permit at the Autorisation Provisoire de Séjour (APS).

    The APS will allow graduates to stay in France for 12 months (not renewable) and secure a job. However, APS is only available as an option to students who have professional bachelor’s or a master’s level degree. International graduates starting their own companies are also eligible.

    Job Scope After Studying in France

    As discussed, one of the key attractions of studying in France is its low-cost fees with an experience of the modern world. However, that's not where the attraction of studying in France ends!!

    Over the years, France has emerged as one of the leaders in industries like aerospace, pharmaceuticals, industry machinery, food and drinks. Furthermore, public sector employees in France earn upto 5% more than those employed in the private sector. Some of the highest paying degrees in France are tabulated below:

    Degree Average Salary (in EUR)
    MBA 98,000
    Executive MBA 92,000
    PhD 74,000
    Masters in Finance 62,000
    Bachelor of Arts 56,000
    Masters in Science 54,000

    Though the salaries offered to the graduates are competitive in France, the average annual salary varies in different cities. The graph below highlights the same:

    Although English remains the primary language in many sectors in France, it would be an added bonus for international graduates to know French. Not just because they are working in France, but also because French is the third most common business language and the official language in over 30 countries worldwide.

    Located in the heart of Europe, France is a beautiful country with a long history of higher education. Culturally, France is a country with a long history as well as rich artistic, philosophical and scientific tradition. France is one of the major centres of culture, cuisine and literature. All these reasons make it an exciting destination for international students across the world.

    As the fourth most popular study abroad destination in the world, and with 12 percent of the student population hailing from abroad, there is often a dynamic cultural diversity on French campuses. Students attending a France university are exposed to the amazing French culture in their daily student life. While studying, students can look forward to a wonderfully interactive environment that brings students together from across the globe.


    Ques. How much money will it take to study in France?

    Ans. France is one of the few countries with low tuition fees. For international students, the tuition fees range from 2,770 to 3,770 EUR in public institutions. However, for private institutions or Grandes Ecoles the tuition cost can go upto 30,000 EUR per year. In terms of living expenses, international students need to incur an annual expense of around 1000 to 1600 EUR.

    Ques. Which course is best for study in France?

    Ans. MBA, Computer Science & IT, Engineering, etc are some of the popular courses to study in France at the PG-level. However, at the UG-level, around 88% of international students enroll for courses in the business, arts, and architecture.

    Ques. Which job has the highest salary in France?

    Ans. MBA is the highest paying degree in France with an average annual salary of 98,00 EUR. It is followed by Executive MBA and Doctorate with average pay of 92,000 EUR and 74,000 EUR per year respectively.

    Ques. What are some of the top B-schools for studying in France?

    Ans. INSEAD, Rennes Business School, HEC Paris, EMLYON Business School, EDHEC Business School are some of the top B-Schools in France.

    Ques. What kind of student visa is required to pursue a degree program in France?

    Ans. International students planning to a UG or PG-level degree course in France need to obtain a long-stay visa. For this, applicants need to submit the following documents:

    • Two recent passport-size photographs
    • Valid passport with at least 2 blank pages
    • Official enrollment/ acceptance letter from french institution
    • Proof of available finances ( approx 615 EUR per month)
    • Airline ticket showing departure date
    • Medical insurance certificate
    • Proof of French and English language proficiency

    Ques. What are the requirements to study in France?

    Ans. Admission requirements vary with level of study and course stream. However, all international students must have a valid study permit, passport, IELTS/TOEFL score, recommendation letters, personal statements.

    Ques. Can international students work part-time while pursuing studies in France?

    Ans. Yes, international students can work part-time while pursuing a degree program in France. Furthermore, working part-time will help them secure a temporary residence Permit post the completion of their program.

    Ques. What kind of financial aid is available for International Students to study in France?

    Ans. The French government as well as institutions are offering a plethora of scholarships to international students. Some of these include Eiffel Excellence Scholarship, Erasmus Mundus Program, IAF Scholarship for Women, etc.


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