France is well known for its high life quality, also one of the founding countries of the European Union. Moreover, it is the second-largest country in the EU. France has been one of many major study destinations in Europe. France raises up a distinct set of associations in our collective imagination. From the urbane sophistication and history of its cities to its legendary food and wine to the spectacular scenery – think rugged mountains and verdant forests, golden beaches and azure seas, rolling pastures and mighty rivers – everyone has their own idealized conception of France. This is reflected in its status as the world’s most popular tourist destination, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
Most people associate French culture with Paris, which is a center of fashion, cuisine, art, and architecture, but life outside of the City of Lights is very different and varies by region. France doesn't just have different cultures; the word "culture" actually comes from France. "'Culture' derives from the same French term, which in turn derives from the Latin colere, meaning to tend to the earth and grow, cultivation and nurture," Cristina De Rossi, an anthropologist at Barnet and Southgate College in London, told Live Science. Historically, French culture was influenced by Celtic and Gallo-Roman cultures as well as the Franks, a Germanic tribe. France was initially defined as the western area of Germany known as Rhineland but it later came to refer to a territory that was known as Gaul during the Iron Age and Roman era.
In France, you can choose to study your bachelor's ("Licence"), masters or Ph.D. ("Doctorat") degree, or participate in a summer course program, as the French educational system is designed to provide students with a wide range of study opportunities. You may consider enrolling in the university if you opt to have more theoretical education, or if you prefer to have a degree with a vocational approach, you may want to consider Grandes Écoles or University Institutes of Technology. The French degrees awarded are based on the European system of Bachelor, Master, and Ph.D., expressed in credits as defined by the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).
There are few countries which concentrate to invest much in research and education and France is one among few.
In 2020, France is ranked first among the best establishments in mathematics, according to US News & World Report, a famous media in the United States for these numerous rankings. Moreover, the Times Higher Education has published its annual ranking, certifying that 5 French higher education institutions appear in the Top 200 and 40 in the Top 1000, including Paris Sciences et Lettres University (46th), Sorbonne University (87th), École Polytechnique (93rd), Paris University (136th) and Paris-Saclay University (178th). And this year, for the first time, French Higher education has been awarded by the traditional annual Shanghai Ranking with 30 establishments in the list: one in the top twenty, three in the top 50, and five in the top 100.
In addition, France is a popular study destination for international students with many renowned well-developed research facilities and over 800 English-taught courses.
France is also known for its strong contingent of specialized business schools. However, due to their subject-specific focus, these schools are not placed in the overall rankings but nonetheless enjoy wide-reaching international reputations. Notable examples include ESCP Europe, ESSEC Business School, HEC Paris, and INSEAD.
France is one of the forerunners of scientific and technological innovation. It owes this standing to its research capacity and its many achievements in such fields as aerospace, transportation, electronics, telecommunications, chemistry, biotechnology, health and mathematics, successes attested to by the number of French winners of Fields Medals and Nobel Prizes
To add more, tuition fees at the leading universities in France are among the lowest in the world, with annual fees averaging under US$1,000 per year for domestic and international students alike.
Since the language of instruction at French universities and colleges is French, you are required to prove your level of command of the French language. If you are enrolling in the first or second year of a study program at a university in France, you must prove you have an adequate level of knowledge of French by either passing a language test or by obtaining a degree in French. If you are applying for studies at a Grande École, or you intend to study in the third year of a study program, or plan to enroll in a master's or Ph.D. program, you will have to check the French language requirement with your school in France since it varies depending on the study program. In general, you are expected to have a level of command of the French language corresponding to B1/B2 in the European Language Passport.
For language test that is acceptable to enroll for a degree in France, you can contact the nearest Campus France or you can browse their website http://www.campusfrance.org/en
If your study program or course is taught in English, you will be required to prove your level of command of English by presenting the results you received at English courses. Please, always check with your university whether your English studies are sufficient for you to meet this requirement.
5th destination for international students - 350,000 international students in France.
You will, no doubt, already have your own set of ideas regarding Paris, which may well be the result of a visit to the so-called City of Light. Around 45 million tourists descended on the city in 2015, pulled in by attractions including the Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame, and world-famous galleries like The Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay, or just to experience the city’s celebrated café culture.
Like any other great city, the only way to truly get to know Paris is to live there and intermingle with the people who make the city what it is. If student life in Paris appeals to you, there is no shortage of great universities to choose from, including 17 public institutions (with varying specializations) and several prestigious grandes écoles. As a result, the city has a large and diverse student community, which goes a long way to guaranteeing the continued vibrancy of its long-established intellectual and creative culture.
With some of the top schools not just in France but Europe, Lyon situated in South Eastern France, is no less than an international student city. Its strategic location in French Alps and proximity to Swiss and Italian borders, offers you to travel to a new country over the weekends. A picturesque medieval city (though its history goes back even further than this), Lyon is situated close to France’s borders with Switzerland and Italy. It is known for being one of the culinary capitals of France, and is also within spitting distance of the French Alps, for those who like to hit the piste.
Lyon’s well-preserved architecture has earned it UNESCO World Heritage Site status, but there is more to France’s joint second city (there’s some debate over whether Marseille or Lyon can claim this title) than spectacular architecture. Its many higher education establishments mean that it boasts a large student population, and, consequently, the vibrant nightlife commonly found in all student hubs. If it’s more civilized cultural pursuits you’re after, Lyon will not disappoint on that front either, while those who have one eye on their future career may be interested to hear that it is one of France’s main financial centers.
Another major student community is found in Montpellier. Around a quarter of the city’s population consists of attendees of its universities, two of which are featured in the QS World University Rankings 2016-2017, and one of which (Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier III) is the seventh-oldest in the world.
Montpellier’s location near France’s Mediterranean coast makes it a good option for sun-worshippers, though it also means you’ll have to brace yourself for a mass influx of tourists in the summer months. The benefit, of course, is that in the off season you can enjoy almost exclusive access to the beaches, and will be left with plenty of time to explore some of the more well-hidden pleasures that the South of France has to offer.
A historic city situated not too far from France’s south-western borders with Andorra and Spain, Toulouse is known in the modern age as one of the capitals of the European aerospace industry. Its universities are also historic, with the institution that is now split into Université Toulouse 1, Capitole and Université Toulouse II, Le Mirail having been founded in the 13th century.
Toulouse has a large student population, and is known for being a hotbed of alternative culture – alongside more traditional cultural outlets in the form of opera, theatre and immaculately preserved architecture. And if you want to get out of the city, then the South of France is your oyster, with the proximity of the Pyrenees allowing skiers to get their fix.
In former times, Lille was one of the main industrial centers of France, which meant an inevitable period of decline as the world entered the post-industrial age. However, in recent years the picturesque city has undergone something of a renaissance and is now considered by many to be one of France’s lesser-known treasures, with a vibrant cultural scene and a strong commercial backbone. The city has jumped five places in this year’s rankings after improving in each category
With its Eurostar terminal, Lille in northern France is always attractive for British students worried about being homesick. One of the main advantages of being based in Lille is the ease of travelling to explore other parts of France, and much of northern Europe. You can, in fact, catch an express train directly from Lille to the world’s two most popular tourist cities, Paris and London, or to Brussels, which can serve as a gateway to the Netherlands or Germany. If you’ve got the travel bug, Lille could be for you!
The major benefits enjoyed by those who study in France include relatively low tuition fees at public universities. For the majority of courses at most public universities in France, you will have to pay only EU€189 (around US$210) a year for a bachelor’s degree (there are exceptions – engineering courses tend to cost more for example).
It should be noted that universities in France tend to levy additional administrative charges, which are known to bring the price up considerably. That said, the final figure is still likely to be far lower than you would pay in a comparable destination.
You will pay more to study in France’s highly selective grandes écoles and grands établissements (great schools and establishments), which set their own fees. Some of these operate only at postgraduate level, and some – like Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris – require students to either complete two years of preparatory school (which is nearly as selective as the grande école itself) or to transfer across after two or more years of an undergraduate course. Top management schools can charge up to €30,000 a year (~US $33,500).
The application process and visa requirements to study in France will depend on whether you come from a country in the EU, or from further elsewhere in the world. Students from Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are treated the same as EU students in this case.
Applicants from the EU:
If you want to start in the first year of a program and you hold a French baccalaureate, you must use the online application system used by French students (APB – admission post-baccalauréat). If you want to enter the system a little further on, you may apply directly to the institution at which you want to study.
If you have a different high-school qualification, you should get in touch with the institutions you want to apply to. They may request that you apply directly to them, rather than through the centralized system.
Grandes écoles and grands établissements have their own application procedures, so it’s advisable to get in touch directly to find out what it is required. You can apply to preparatory classes and to some establishments through APB if you want to enter in the first year.
You will not need a visa.
If your course is in French, as is likely, you will need to prove you are sufficiently fluent. You can do this by taking an exam such as the TCF DAP (Test de Connaissance du Français, Demande d’Admission Préalable), DALF (diplôme approfondi de langue française) or CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). Similarly, you’ll need to prove you can speak English if that is the language of tuition. It’s advisable to check with the university to see which language test scores are accepted or preferred.
Applicants from outside the EU:
The application procedure will vary depending on whether or not you are from one of the 31 countries in which CampusFrance runs the CEF procedure. If you are from one of these countries (listed on the CampusFrance website), then you are obliged to use the CEF online application system. This guides you through the entire application process, including obtaining a visa, how to apply and which documents you require. You can create your personal profile in the CEF system through the CampusFrance website.
If you are not from one of these countries, you will need to submit a preliminary application at your local French embassy before applying to one or more French universities. The way in which you apply will depend on your previous qualifications and where you are applying. Contact the establishment(s) you’re thinking about attending for guidance on the correct procedure to follow.
Once accepted by a French institution, you’ll need to apply for a visa, which also includes a residence permit, called the VLS-TS. This is valid for a year at a time. In order to obtain this visa you will need to present a completed application form, passport photos, your passport, proof of your previous qualifications, a police certificate attesting to your lack of a serious criminal record, proof you can speak French to an appropriate level (if your course is taught in French, see above for details of French language tests) and proof you have sufficient financial means. You will, of course, also need to prove that you’ve been accepted to study at a French university.
When you arrive in France, you will need to contact the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFFI), who may request that you undertake a medical examination.
Sources: Eurydice database (Eurydice is an international educational database developed by the European Commission and Member States of the European Union with the aim of facilitating and improving the understanding of the different educational systems in Europe).
TCF (Test de connaissance du français - Test of knowledge of French)
Le TEF (Test d’évaluation de français - French assessment test)
DELF (Diplôme d’études en langue française - Diploma of French-language studies)
DALF (Diplôme approfondi de langue française - Advanced diploma in French language)
Did you know that the chic country of France is also known for its excellent Master programs?
France has a government investing heavily in the quality of their country's higher education, hence why it is becoming an increasingly popular studying destination for students worldwide. So far, the country recruits about 300,000 students per year.
France offers a unique Higher Education Experience
Aside from its affordability, language, and historic universities, French's unique higher education experience had been one of its main attractions.
The higher education system in France follows a three-level system. Undergraduate students will begin by pursuing a License (similar to a bachelor's degree), followed by master level training, then finally, the doctorate level. The license takes three years to complete, with two years necessary for a master program. A doctorate usually requires three additional years.
For an overview of studying in France, click here
France also different types of higher education institutes:
These public institutes of higher education are financed by the French State. Located all around France, the universities confer national degrees (Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate) that all have the same academic value.
Public and private institutes of higher education, such as Écoles Normales Supérieures (ENS -Institutes of Advanced Education), Instituts d’Etudes Politiques (IEP - Political Science Institutes), engineering schools, business and management schools, veterinary schools, that are recognised by the State.
They confer degrees for 5 years of undergraduate studies, and some award the title of Master. Much of the training is provided in English. Entries to these kind of institutions are highly competitive.
3.Specialized School and specific programmes
Public and private institutes of higher education that offer courses in specific sectors such as medicine, audio-visual, communication, journalism, fashion and design, agronomy, political science, etc. These institutes confer degrees and certificates that may or may not be recognized by the State. Studies there generally last two to five years.
4.School of art and applied art
Training in art, design, and communication is provided in two steps of three or five years, with national degrees awarded on successful completion. There are nearly 50 public schools of art and design directly overseen by the Ministry of Culture.
Opportunities for Indonesian students
The fact that the French government includes non-European students to their 1/3 university fee support goes to show their wide-stretched arms towards international students. French universities are also offering more and more of their Master programmes in English, especially within the fields of International Business, Management, Marketing, Economics, and MBA, but also in fields such as International Studies, Engineering, Technology and Law, to name just a few.
We've listed below scholarship programmes offered by Campus France, under the auspices of the French Institute in Indonesia (IFI), where Indonesian students are able to apply to.
Focus Scholarship: Master
Competition: Designated countries: Indonesia
Scholarship Coverage: The living cost, tuition fees (5,000 euros per academic year), social insurance for the duration of studies and student visa application fees for France.
The French Government, through the French Institute of Indonesia (IFI) - Embassy of France in Indonesia, opens a scholarship program addressed to Indonesian students with a track record of excellence and wishing to pursue Master's degree studies (M1 or M2) in France.
This scholarship program is open to all fields of study. This year, as part of the French initiative Make Our Planet Great Again (MOPGA) (https://www.makeourplanetgreatagain.fr/), a priority will be given to the following themes :
The application form must be sent by email in PDF or Word format to Campus France Indonesia (firstname.lastname@example.org), mentioning in the subject line "Application - IFI 2018 Scholarship Program", no later than 22 June 2018 at midnight (Jakarta time). Files received after this time will not be considered.
* in English or French, in accordance with the language used in the program selected
Focus Scholarship: Master and PhD
Competition: Developing Country
Scholarship Coverage: Full Scholarship
Eiffel scholarship programs are available for students from developing countries who would like to continue their studies in France (one to two years). Eiffel scholarships will cover the living cost during the study period with the amount of 1181 Euro for master's level and 1,400 Euro for doctorates program. In addition, tickets for round-trip as well as health insurance also covered by the program. Eiffel scholarships available on 26 – 1st December each.