Before students shout au revoir and jump on the next plane, they need to research the key factors of living in this beautiful country.
As France is one of the closest European countries to the UK, it can be an obvious choice for studying abroad. It is also one of Europe’s largest countries and one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. Students who decide to cross the Channel will reap the benefits of one of the most prestigious academic and educational systems around the globe as well as enjoying a wonderful social life of bars, cafes, museums, galleries, cinemas and restaurants alongside infamous tourist hotspots.
The education system in France
- Public Universities – these are government-funded and open to anyone with the required qualifications to gain entry.
- Technical Institutes – part of the university system and cover vocational subjects.
- Grandes écoles – considered more illustrious and candidates may need to sit exams for admission.
- Over 30 undergraduate degree courses are entirely taught in English and over 400 undergraduate and master’s combined.
- French universities offer high-quality education, with two Parisian institutions ranking in the Top 100 of the World University Rankings including; École Normale Supérieure and École Polytechnique.
- France is the home of 83 public universities which are funded by the national government. The government closely regulates national diplomas that are granted by universities. This type of system allows universities to offer students from around the globe an excellent education at an affordable price.
What do I need to study at a French university?
When prospective students are applying to a higher education institution in France, the requirements for undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses are A-levels (baccalauréat) and a degree (licence) consecutively. The exact entry requirements for each university will vary, and students can contact their chosen institutions directly to ensure they have the right information.
For students who want to take French-speaking, degree courses are required to take a test (Test de Connaissance de Francais (TCF)) to determine their ability. This test can be organised by the French Ministries for National Education and Higher Education and Research. For English-taught degree courses, candidates are not required to speak French. More information on the language of particular degree courses can be found on each institution's website. It's also worth seeing what your qualifications are equivalent to in France as well pre-application where possible.
Speaking the language in France will of course be essential to your time there, however, speaking a language that you've never spoken before will be a tough thing to do, so we recommend seeking some private tutoring beforehand, such as Bespoke Languages Tuition: French, German and Spanish Private Tutoring in Bournemouth and across the UK, who offer a number of key resources and educational services for those who are looking to study abroad, or even study right here in the UK, or for international degrees such as the International Baccalaureate.
How much will it cost me to study in France?
Nationals of the EU are entitled to attend university in France with the same conditions as French natives; they are not required to pay higher degree course fees and are eligible for any grants available.
The annual tuition fee rates at French public universities are set by law and are identical for home and international students. The tuition fee rates can range from £144 for an undergraduate degree course and £200 for a master’s. However, additional fees may be assessed and issued for specific services.
Tuition fee rates at private universities, in particular schools of business and management, are generally higher – averaging from £2,400 to £8,00 per annum. There are certain scholarships that exist for specific degree courses of study, for example, nursing or engineering. Details can be accessed via the French Embassy in the student’s home country.
Will I get funding to study in France?
Study grants and funding in the country are assigned on individual circumstances. There is a wide variety of financial help available to prospective students, from research allowances to assistance with transport and accommodation. The French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs usually allocate a large number of grants to international students too.
EU nationals, including UK students, can apply for a grant from the local Caisse d’Allocation Familiale (CAF) which will allow them to receive a student rebate for part of their rental costs. Claims and applications for financial support usually open in February and end in April for the following academic year; therefore, students need to prepare well in advance.
Will I need a student visa to study in France?
EU nationals are allowed to live and study in any other EU country if they are; enrolled at an approved university or other education institution, have sufficient income (from any source, work or savings) can live without income support and have health insurance coverage (EHIC cards and extra health insurance including).
Cost of Living
Students who are planning to study abroad need to conduct sufficient research to ensure they will be comfortable financially. Here are some everyday items and their average cost in France to help with the research process.
- Dining out: 12.00 euros/£10.50 per meal
- Mcdonalds: 8.00 euros/£7.00 per meal
- Beer: 5.00 euros/£4.38 per pint
- Coke: 2.40 euros/£2.10 per can
- Water: 1.55 euros/£1.36 per bottle
- Milk: 0.46 euros/£0.40 per pint
- Bread: 1.25 euros/£1.10 per loaf
- Bus ticket: 1.60 euros/£1.40 one way
- Bus ticket: 46.50 euros/£40.78 monthly
- Utilities: 138.00 euros/£120.89 per month
- Internet: 28.00 euros/£24.53 per month
- Cinema: 9.00 euros/£7.88 per ticket
- Rent: 610.00 euros/£534.38 per month