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2020-11-30 00:00:36

Study in France: primary, secondary, higher education for foreign students

Study in France: primary, secondary, higher education for foreign students

The French love to be ahead of everyone, following fashion trends, including in education. It is no coincidence that the French education system is highly valued for its progressive approach, advanced technologies and innovative ideas. Let's get to know her better?


Facts about the country and the education system

The period of compulsory education in the country is 6-16 years. The training system includes several stages: primary, secondary and higher education.

  • Capital: Paris
  • Official language: French
  • Currency: Euro
  • Population: 67,848,156
  • Language of instruction: English , French
  • Tuition fees: from 2000 to 7000 euros.

Basic principles of French education:

  • Freedom of teaching (public and private institutions)
  • Availability
  • Secularism.

Kindergarten is not considered compulsory, but most children aged 3-5 attend this preschool educational institution. In elementary school, teachers pay attention to the adaptation of children and preparation for study loads, teach in the directions established by the French Ministry of Education:

  • Mastering speech and French
  • Living together
  • Mathematics
  • Knowledge of the world
  • Art education.

A student who has moved to the middle stage of education attends college (grades 3-6), and in grades 5-6, a career guidance cycle begins. Senior classes children finish their studies in three types of lyceums - general, technological and professional.

The main distinguishing feature of the higher education system is the variety of universities and the specialties they offer. State higher schools - Grandes Ecoles - are in many ways unique educational institutions, in which about 4% of students study, but at the same time, the volume of funding "grabs" 30% of the total budget of higher education. It is very prestigious to study at Grandes Ecoles, but it is extremely difficult to enroll.

Programs for students and the cost of studying in France (prices in euros)

  • Undergraduate = 3000-15000 per year
  • Master's degree = 4000-15000 per year
  • Doctorate = 500-8000 per year
  • University preparation = 200-4000 per year
  • Secondary education = free or up to 20,000 per year
  • Language schools = 200-400 per week
  • Summer camp = 180-400 per week.


Studying at a French university is in many ways an independent process for a student that requires a lot of effort. Students attend lectures - the main format of undergraduate studies - and complete numerous tasks that require self-organization. For these reasons, only 27% successfully graduate from university in France.

Key facts:

  • Duration of bachelor's programs: 3-5 years
  • Strong specialties: mathematics, business, engineering, information technology, ancient and modern history, arts
  • International students: 18%
  • Deadline for submission of documents: March 31
  • English: IELTS 6.0
  • Age requirements: 17+
  • Are there entrance exams: established by universities
  • Are there any pre-university training programs: yes.

There are more than 800 programs in English in the country in the most popular areas: business, management, exact sciences and engineering. It is somewhat more difficult to find an English-language program in humanitarian subjects.

Master's degree

Master's programs in the country are perceived as the next stage of education, rather than additional training. Therefore, master's courses are an important stage of training aimed at developing professional skills.

  • Duration: 1-2 years
  • Language of instruction: French, English
  • Probability of admission: 100%
  • Average cost: about 300 euros per year
  • Deduction statistics: 47%
  • English: IELTS 5.5-7.0
  • Final volume: 60-100 pages
  • Post-university prospects: 96% of masters find a job within 6 months
  • Percentage of admission to doctoral studies: 16%.

Preparatory Programs

Usually, to enter university, students do not take a one-year preparatory program. But the situation changes dramatically if applicants consider prestigious universities and grandes écoles - in this case, they enter the CPGE programs (Classe préparatoire aux grandes écoles ). The duration of the courses can be two or even four years, and each institution sets the criteria for enrolling students independently.

Provisioning profiles:

  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Literature
  • Philosophy
  • Foreign languages
  • Biology
  • Geology
  • Chemistry
  • Programming
  • Biotechnology
  • Geography
  • French.

Scholarships in France

The government, universities and foundations are developing scholarship programs and grants for students, for example:

  • Couverture sociale = a one-time payment from the government issued to undergraduates and covers all costs in the country
  • Vernadski doctoral program = PhD student receives € 767 per month and is exempt from visa and tuition costs
  • Copernic Scholarship = for Masters in Economics, Law and Engineering
  • A grant for women in science = 15 thousand euros is given to women who study in postgraduate studies in economics and engineering programs.

Work while studying and prospects after university

Students are allowed to earn no more than 20 hours a week: they often find work in restaurants, cafes, exhibition centers and libraries. Finding a job in France is difficult due to the high unemployment rate, students and graduates face high competition for places and the demand for an advanced level of French. The most favorable prospects for finding work in France with diplomas from medical faculties, exact and natural directions.

Admission to universities in France

Progressiveness is also expressed in the admission of students - foreigners can enter any university in the country. At the same time, the conditions for admission are much milder than in other European countries and the USA. French universities do not require the legalization of diplomas, but each institution independently establishes the equivalence of qualifications.

Rankings - 10 best universities in France

Paris Sciences et Lettres - PSL Research University Paris

  • International Ranking = 72
  • Paris.

École Polytechnique

  • International Ranking = 115
  • Paris.

Pierre and Marie Curie University

  • International Ranking = 123
  • Paris.

Paris-Sud University

  • International Ranking = 181
  • Paris.

École Normale Supérieure de Lyon

  • International Ranking = 182
  • Lyon.

Paris-Sorbonne University - Paris 4

  • International Ranking = 196
  • Paris.

Paris Diderot University - Paris

  • International rating = 201-250
  • Paris.

Aix-Marseille University

  • International rating = 251-300
  • Paris.

École des Ponts ParisTech

  • International rating = 251-300
  • Paris.

University of Bordeaux

  • International rating = 301-350
  • Bordeaux.
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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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