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Study in Toulouse, France

Population: 1,117,000

City Overview

As one of the biggest cities in the country, Toulouse is worth a look as a place to take your graduate program in France.

Sitting on the banks of the River Garonne in southwestern France it is the fourth largest city in France. Its population grew at a record 1.87% a year in the 2000s fuelled by the booming aerospace and high-tech industries.

Toulouse also has a strong Jewish community with around 2,500 Jewish families, and a local Muslim association estimates that there are some 35,000 Muslims in town highlighting the city as a racial and religious melting-pot.

As a centre of aerospace for Europe, Toulouse is also home to the Cité de l'espace (City of Space) which is a theme park on space exploration.

Education profile

There are many reasons to start a graduate program in Toulouse. It has the third largest student population in France, after Lyon and Paris, with 199,000 students. According to the French newspaper  "L'Etudiant" Toulouse is the best place to study in France.

The University of Toulouse, established in 1229, is now split into three separate universities offering postgraduate study options:
With the local focus on engineering and high-tech industries, Toulouse is also home to Toulouse Business School (ESC Toulouse), the Institut supérieur européen de gestion group (ISEG Group), the Institut supérieur européen de formation par l'action (ISEFAC) and many engineering schools including:
  • ICAM Toulouse (Institut catholique d'arts et métiers)
  • ISAE SUPAERO (École Nationale Supérieure de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace)
  • ISAE ENSICA (École nationale supérieure d'ingénieurs de constructions aéronautiques)
  • INP ENSEEIHT (École Nationale Supérieure d'Électronique, d'Électrotechnique, d'Informatique, d'Hydraulique et des Télécommunications)
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 Toulouse and are an EU citizen you will be accepted onto a graduate program provided you fulfil the following:
  • Are studying in Toulouse 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 Toulouse

With a large student population Toulouse is definitely geared-up to give you what you need while you study for your postgraduate degree in France.

Expect much of the social life to be centred around French cafe culture, but there are also plenty of bars, restaurants and clubs to provide students a great nightlife.

The location of Toulouse gives residents to the chance to explore France and other parts of Europe easily. The city is within an hour and a half of Spain, many ski resorts and the Mediterranean coast. The Atlantic coast is two and half hours away.

Working In Toulouse

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

Toulouse has a temperate climate usually classified as a humid subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters.

What to do next

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