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Study in Rennes, France

Population: 206,604

City Overview

Rennes is a small city in northwestern France and is the capital of the Brittany region.

A city of Roman and Celtic origins many people still speak the Breton language in Rennes. Breton is a Celtic language spoken in Brittany. In January 2008 the region launched a linguistic plan to maintain the use of the language. In that year 2.87% of primary-school children were enrolled in schools which spoke both French and Breton - that number is steadily growing.

In July Rennes becomes a hive of activity during the "Festival des Tombées de la Nuit" when the streets fill with people enjoying free street entertainment.

Education profile

Rennes is a great place for taking a graduate program in France. It has a large student population of around 60,000 and is home to two main universities.
  1. Université de Rennes 1 – which offers courses in science, medicine, philosophy, technology, economics and law.
  2. Université Rennes 2 – offering courses in literature, arts, communication, human and social sciences.
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 Rennes and are an EU citizen you will be accepted onto a graduate program provided you fulfil the following:
  • Are studying in Rennes 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 Rennes

Being the largest university town in western France Rennes is a great place to study in France.  Rennes 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.

The student population means that traditional French life collides with a more youthful vibe. This is most apparent in the city’s nightlife.

The historic Rue St. Michel, has so many bars catering to students that the locals call it La rue de la soif – the Street of Thirst.

The medium size of the city makes it easily accessible by foot. For exploring elsewhere in France Rennes is close to the beautiful Brittany coast line. In summer Rennes traditionally emptied as locals made their way to the coast.

The city is also just 2 hours away from Paris, making the capital highly accessible for a visit.

Working In Rennes

If you are a postgraduate student from inside the EU you are entitled work in Rennes 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

Being in the Brittany coastline Rennes has a fresh Oceanic climate with rainfall all year round and cool temperatures. Spring and summer can be quite sunny but often with cool to mild temperatures.

What to do next

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