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Study in France

Graduate programs in France

France has a strong reputation for teaching excellence in postgraduate study and is one of the top destinations on Europe for international students looking for graduate programs.

French universities regularly rank highly for graduate study in global league tables especially in the fields of science and the humanities.

In these fields postgraduate programs in France are at the forefront of innovative research and techniques, offering a dynamic and exciting place to study.

Postgraduate courses in France combine both tradition and modernity, with a strong focus on quality facilities and teaching.

Population: 65,350,000

Education overview

The education system in France is home to 87 public universities, offering thousands of postgraduate courses.

Research is a strong focus of postgraduate study in France, with more than 300 doctoral programs working in collaboration with 1,200 research centres and laboratories.

At the core of French education is a set of national diplomas that have the same value regardless of which institution grants them. There are uniquely French institutions, the Grandes Écoles, which since the 19th century have been working parallel to the university system as public or private freestanding institutions which are extremely selective and renowned for offering a very high standard of learning.

Graduate programs in France fall into three main categories:
  • Taught Masters (MAs/MScs/MEng)
  • Research Masters (MRes/ MA by Research)
  • Doctorates and PhDs
Taught Masters are postgraduate courses that follow a similar pattern to undergraduate study, with lectures, seminars and tutorials. You will be expected to research topics yourself and take and independent approach to studying.

Research Masters are often seen as pre-cursor to a PhD. You will research a particular topic independently and focus on improving your research skills to produce a dissertation or final projects.

Masters programs in France generally last between 1-2 years, with PhDs taking up to four years to complete. 

Immigration and visas in France

EU citizens are permitted to take a graduate program in France providing they fulfil the following:
  • Are studying in France for more than three months.
  • Are enrolled at an accredited university or institution.
  • Have proof of sufficient funds to cover your graduate program in France for its duration.
  • Have health insurance cover.
Non-EU students will need to apply for an extended-stay student visa, with residency permit (VLS-TS).

When a VLS-TS visa is issued, students will be given an official form that they must present to the French office of immigration and integration (OFII).

A VLS-TS holder must, upon arriving in France, send to the OFII by registered mail (return receipt requested):
  • The official form received from the consulate that issued the visa.
  • A copy of passport pages showing the visa holders identity and the stamp indicating entry into France (or into the Schengen area).
You can find out more about visas at Campus France.

Life in France

France has a high standard of living and is a great place to study for your postgraduate course. It is a very multi-cultural place and is used to welcoming international students on graduate programs.

Many French universities have dedicated international societies to help new postgraduates make friends and fit into French life. French culture and cuisine is world-renowned, which is something that attracts many international students to study in France.

The cost of living in France can be compared with other western European countries. Things likes utility bills, running a car, takeaway food and electrical items tend to be more expensive in France than other places, but rent, wine and cheese, healthcare and designer clothing is often cheaper.

Working in France

Students from inside the EU are entitled to work while studying in France if they are enrolled at an institution that provides access to the student social security scheme.

For other foreign students, since 2007 the student residence card has replaced the need to get temporary authorisation to work in France. Foreign students can also work up to 60% of the statutory annual work time, the equivalent of a maximum of 964 hours per year.


The cost of accommodation in France varies depending on where you choose to study your postgraduate course. In general student accommodation in France is considered quite costly.
There are two main types of accommodation while studying:
  • University accommodation – such as halls of residence
  • Private accommodation – House and flat rentals
University accommodation is in very short supply, so most students end up living in private accommodation. The number of private student residences is on the increase, making it easier to find student accommodation in France.

CNOUS CROUS (the student social support service) and is usually reserved for government scholarship holders.

Campus France can help you with problems you might have with student housing in France, such as locating and reserving accommodation except for places in Paris.

Climate in France

France has a temperate climate, with weather that differs between four different regions. The North of France including Paris, has hot summer and cold winters, whilst the South enjoys a Mediterranean climate of mild winters and hot summers. The Alps and the Pyrenees have cold winters which are great for skiing and other winter sports.


France has a well-developed system of public transport. Most French towns have a system tram or metro system and a good, reliable bus service. In Paris the metro system has about 300 stations.

Public transport is plentiful, but costs vary depending on the city you are studying your postgraduate course in.


The currency of France is the Euro.

What to do next

If you would like more information about studying a graduate program in France, fill out our Free Application Service and we'll get in touch with you promptly with tailored information on studying abroad, great courses and advice on how to apply online.

Universities and cities in France