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Study in Marseille, France

Population: 852,395

City Overview

Marseille is France’s second largest city and biggest commercial port on the country’s sunny south coast. It is so sunny that it enjoys 300 days of sunshine every year, and so if you are looking for a hot destination for postgraduate study Marseille is a good choice.

On the Mediterranean Sea it is popular holiday destination with many bustling street markets and places of historical interest. The cultural side of the city been recognised with Marseille being made European City of Culture for 2013.

The city has been a favourite with film directors with it being chosen as a location for such films such as The French Connection, Taxi, The Bourne Identity and Love Actually.

Education profile

A number of faculties from the three universities that make up the Aix-Marseille University are based in Marseille:
These universities merged on 1st January 2012 to become one institution called Aix-Marseille University. Postgraduate programs are available at all the university’s campuses in Marseille.

The city is also home to three grandes écoles (literally in French "higher schools") which are higher education institutions in France that are outside the university framework. These schools are:
  • Ecole Centrale de Marseille part of Centrale Graduate School
  • École pour l'informatique et les nouvelles technologies
  • Euromed Management—School of Management and Business
Research also plays a big part in Marseille with the main French research bodies including the CNRS, INSERM and INRA all being well represented in the city. Scientific research is at the heart of postgraduate education in Marseille. At Luminy, where there are institutes in developmental biology (the IBDML), immunology (CIML), marine sciences and neurobiology (INMED), at the CNRS Joseph Aiguier campus and at the Timone hospital site (known for work in microbiology). Marseille is also home to the head-quarters of the IRD which promotes research into questions affecting developing countries.

Immigration and visas

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

For a postgraduate wanting to study in France, Marseille offers the laid-back French way of life with a more bohemian lifestyle of cafes and boutiques and a strong cultural element of shows, concerts, museums and attractions. Throughout 2013 there will be more special events on offer as the city takes its place as the European City of Culture.

While Marseille might not have the same reputation as Paris, it provides the same benefits of inner city, cosmopolitan living at a much cheaper cost than living in the capital. Marseille is considered the cheapest city to live on the Mediterranean which has long been a desirable region to live with its constant sunshine and healthy living.

Marseille is served by a major international airport and so has good transport links to Europe and the rest of the world.

Working In Marseille

If you are a postgraduate student from inside the EU you are entitled work in Marseille 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, but Marseille is cheaper than many other places in the country especially considering it is a major town.
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

Marseille enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild, humid winders and hot, mostly dry summers. The coldest months are December, January and February with July and August being the hottest.

What to do next

Are you interested in studying a graduate program in Marseille? 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.