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Study in Lyon, France

Population: 472,305

City Overview

Situated in east-central France roughly in the middle between Paris and Marseille, Lyon is world renowned for many things.

It is quite literally the birthplace of cinema, with it being pioneered in the city in 1895 by the Lumiere brothers and it is often considered French capital of gastronomy because many of the country’s best chefs work in the city and its surroundings. This is helped by the fact that Lyon is located near two of the best known wine-growing regions: the Beaujolais and the Côtes du Rhône.

It is also the second richest city in France after Paris, with many high tech industries such as biotechnology, software development, game design, and internet services now growing and thriving in the city.

Education profile

Lyon is one of France’s great providers of education, with a large concentration of university students in the city. With a mixture of public universities and grandes ecoles, there are plenty of places where you can study a graduate program in Lyon, including:
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

If you are looking to study for a postgraduate degree in Lyon and are an EU citizen you will be accepted onto a graduate program provided you fulfil the following:
  • Are studying in Lyon 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 Lyon

Lyon is often considered one of the best places to live in France. With great food, great culture and lots of leisure activities Lyon could be the perfect place to take a graduate program in France.

Lyon has the same laid-back lifestyle that you can find in much of France, with a love of food and eating out. This is matched by the city’s (and surrounding area’s) 15 Michelin-stared restaurants. Other than this there is a wealth of amazing places to eat and drink to suit any budget.

Being a major city the nightlife is varied and attracts big names to perform with many big music and other events throughout the year including the Nuits Soncres electronic music festival in the spring.

The city has easy access to the rest of Europe and the world being served by the Saint-Exupéry International Airport.

Working In Lyon

Lyon has the second largest job market in France. If you are a postgraduate student from inside the EU you are entitled work in Lyon provided the institution you are enrolled at 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. 


Generally student accommodation in France is considered expensive.

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.

Weather and Climate

The climate in Lyon is borderline Oceanic and Humid Subtropical with much colder winters than the south of France but with very warm summers. The coldest month is January and the hottest is July.

What to do next

Are you interested in studying a graduate program in Lyon? If so, you should sign up for our Free Application Service. We'll provide you with tailored information, courses to suit you and the option to apply online for the graduate program you want.