How to Apply to an International University in France in 2017 Get accepted to university

The lovely and sophisticated France attracts around 300,000 international students from both EU and non-EU countries each year. A viable reason for France’s popularity is that universities have lower tuition fees compared to other European countries. If you dream of studying in France yourself, you are probably curious to know more about the application process within a French university.

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1. Choose the right degree subject in France

There are plenty of disciplines you can pick from to study in French or in English in France. Here are just of few of the most popular options to consider:

2. Choose the right French university

Here are some top French universities you should consider for your study abroad adventure:

Prepare to apply

1. For some universities, you can apply directly on their website.

2. Carefully check entry requirements: standardized tests, such as the GRE, GMAT, or LSAT are required for admission to most of the undergraduate and graduate degree courses.

3. Apply to at least three different institutions in order to increase your chances of being admitted.

4. Non-EU students will be required to pass the compulsory Preliminary Admission ("demande d’admission préalable" - DAP). Apply for DAP at the Culture and Cooperation Service of the French embassy in your home country.

Browse through Bachelor's courses in France

Exemptions from DAP
  1. Children of diplomats posted in France and who themselves currently live in France;
  2. Candidates coming from a partner university with a cooperation agreement (special procedures apply);
  3. Students with a scholarship from the French government, or a French organisation;
  4. Candidates holding a French, International, European, French-German, French-Italian or a French-Spanish baccalaureate
View scholarship opportunities in France.
Where to apply

The application procedure is actually different depending on the country you come from.

1. EU and EEA students can simply apply directly at the university, under the same conditions as French students.

2. Non EU/EEA students should apply through an online application system called CEF. Through the CEF system, you may also apply for your visa online and track the progress of your application.

3. If you are already living in Europe but you don’t have European citizenship, you will have to apply through the French embassy or consulate in the European country where you are residing.

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Different application at technological universities, Grandes Écoles, and other specialised schools

Apply through an online system for preliminary admission at Admission Post-Bac (APB).

Applicants are selected according to the results obtained at very competitive entrance examinations that take place at the end of a two-year preparation programme called "Classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles" (CPGE - Preparatory classes for Grandes Écoles).

You will also have to take on a personal interview.

Language requirements for studies at universities and colleges in France

Most degrees provided by French universities are taught in French, but you will find several study programmes taught in English, particularly for Master and PhD level.

The following language tests of proof of language proficiency are accepted by universities in France:

For French
  • DELF
  • DALF
  • TCF

Exemptions from the requirement to demonstrate proficiency in the French language:

Holders of the French baccalauréat, the international or European baccalauréat, and the Franco-German baccalauréat

International recipients of scholarships from the French government, international organizations, or foreign governments whose grants are administered by an approved French entity

Nationals of states where French is the official language

View 741 Master degrees in France

Students graduating from bilingual programs in which French was one of the languages

For English
  • TOEIC
  • TOEFL
  • IELTS
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Required application documents
  • Prior admission or pre-registration certificate provided by the university
  • Campus France authorization
  • Passport or ID card (valid for the duration of your stay)
  • ID/passport type photos
  • Copies of graduation diplomas and their French translation
  • Registration fee (185 EUR/year for a Bachelor's degree, 260 EUR for a Master’s and 390 EUR for a PhD)
  • Social security fees (around 200 EUR)
  • A civil liability certificate
  • Students from the EU: a copy of your European health insurance card
  • Resume (only in some cases, and only for postgraduate degrees)
  • Cover letter
  • French and/or English Language certificate (depending on tuition language of chosen degree)
  • Transcript of records (a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA or equivalent)
  • Copies of diplomas (if not available, a certificate stating that you graduated)
  • Proof that you can fund your stay in France (with a minimum of 800 euros per month)
University application deadlines in France

Application for French universities are available twice a year:

  • fall admission by 1 February and 1 April (in some cases, after this date as well, based on available spaces)
  • spring admission by September 15, and after this date, based on available spaces
  • Applications for Post-Bac (APB): from 20th January to 20th March
  • Applications for TCF during DAP process: from October until February 22nd
Final steps after receiving your acceptance letter
  1. Institutions inform students of their admission decisions between June 15 and September 15 for programmes beginning in October. Thus, you will only have around a month to prepare all the arrangements for your departure to France.
  2. If you a non-EU/EEA/Switzerland citizen, you will have to apply for a student visa.
  3. If you plan to study more than six months in France, you will have to apply for a residence permit at French local authorities ("Préfecture").
  4. You will have to cover your health insurance:
  • if you are from the EU, you can use the European health insurance card
  • if you are non-EU, you are eligible for the national health insurance offered in France.

Once you arrive in France, register in person at your university in France.

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