Types Of Higher Educational Institutions In France

Public Universities: There are 83 public universities in France currently. They receive government funding and they are named after the cities they are located. If many universities are located at a particular city, each is assigned a numeral after the name. Some universities are also given common, informal names. Others are also named colloquially after famous alumni etc. Tuition fees at public universities are mandated by law.

The French universities use the Bologna process whereby 3 years are allocated for Bachelor’s or Licence degree programs. This is followed by 2 years Master’s courses and 3 year Doctoral level programs. French universities use the ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) whereby certain credits are allocated for the completion of degree programs.

Foreign Universities: France is also home to several foreign or international universities including the famous Parsons School of Art and Design. Other notable international universities such as University of London Institute and American University also have college branches in Paris, France. These international universities offer education in English medium.

Private Universities

Free Private Educational Institutions
These include the Catholic universities. There are total of 13 such private universities currently, according to the Ministry of Higher Education and Research in France. 5 of these are Catholic universities. The Catholic institutions are located in the following 5 locations:
  • Paris
  • Angers
  • Lille
  • Lyon
  • Toulouse
These institutions cannot issue national diplomas. However, they can cooperate with organizations and educational institution of public cultural, scientific and professional nature. They do give students the chance to learn fundamental concepts. Their students are also allowed to appear in examinations to obtain national diplomas. Nearly 30000 students in France are currently enrolled in such institutions.

Private Technical Education Institutions

These institutions include business management as well as engineering schools. There are 50 authorized private engineering institutions and 60 private business schools in France currently, according to the Ministry of Higher Education and Research.  These institutions and schools have the authority to issue diplomas.

Some private technical and business schools are associated with the Federation of Schools of Graduate Engineers and Executives schools (FESIC) and they have more than 21 000 students, according to Ministry estimates. Other such institutions are under the control of the Union des Grandes Ecoles Independent ( UGEI ) schools  and they have a total of 16,000 students.

Grandes Ecoles

These are specialized educational institutions which offer world class education to elite students in various disciplines such as engineering and management. These institutions are moderate in size and they have a tough and selective admission policy. Some of the leading scientists, thinkers and businessmen in France are the products of these institutions.

The classes preparatoires aux grandes ecoles (CPGE), also known as prepas, is a prep course which trains students for entrance into the grandes ecoles. There are currently 250 grandes ecoles in France, according to Campus France. The largest groups of these institutions offer engineering and management programs.

Others include the ecoles normales superieures (ENS), schools of veterinary studies and other specialized areas. Degree programs in these institutes also offer students prestigious international internships and the opportunity to study abroad. According to Campus France, the degree offered by the grandes ecoles equals a European Master’s degree. Interim or specialized degrees are offered by these institutions include the following:

 Bachelor/Licence Level Following 3 or 4 years of study
 Master of Science (MSc) Following 4-5 years of study
 MBA (Master of Business Administration) Same as above
 Mastere Specialise (Ms)Following 6 total years of study and 1 year after obtaining the grande ecole degree)

Specialized Schools: These schools offer excellent courses in hotel management, fashion design and film etc.  Some of the popular choices for students attending these schools include bande dessinee (comic art), photography and performing arts. These schools offer diplomas or degrees which are specific to the institution. They are sanctioned by the French government to issue these. Their programs last for 2 to 5 years.

Schools of Business

Business schools in France offer excellent programs in the field of management and administration. There are more than 230 B-schools in France . Some are private and others are affiliated to the Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Following diploma, students can opt for specialized advanced degrees such as MBA. The nation's business schools are under the Conference des Grandes Ecoles (CGE).

Institutes of Business Administration (IAE): These are university schools of management. They offer specializations such as marketing, finance and human resources to students. These institutes also offer undergraduate, Master’s and doctoral degrees. Each IAE excels in a particular field.

Schools of Engineering: More than 250 schools of engineering are part of France’s educational system, according to Campus France. The Commission on Engineering Degrees regulates their functioning. They also have an association named CDEFI. 

Other Schools

France has world renowned schools of art /ecoles superieures of art and applied arts as well as architecture schools.  There are a total of 20 schools of architecture in France.

Doctoral Studies And PRES

There are over 300 doctoral departments and more than 1,200 labs in France. France also has PRES of higher education and research clusters. PRES promotes studies at institutions and pioneers scientific research in France.

France has a complex system of higher education. It comprises private as well as public institutions. There are universities for general as well as technical and professional education.
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