Selecting the Right Program in France

Studying in France is a popular choice among international students. Regardless of whether you want to purse a course in management or a degree in medicine, one of the first steps you need to take is to examine your goals. There are certain academic requirements for entry into undergraduate, post graduate and doctoral programs in France. Apart from this, international students are also required to possess reasonable level of proficiency in French.

Choosing Program – Some Tips

Examine your Goals

As an international student, one of the primary things you need to do is to examine your goals in terms of personal and academic objectives.

Right Institution

One of the first important points is that you need to consider which institution you want to opt for. If you are keen on world class technical education that are affiliated to universities, the Instituts Universitaires Technologiques or  IUTs are the best option. There are several grandes ecoles or specialized higher educational institutions which only admit elite and academically gifted students. There are also several vocational education programs which are available in France such as Brevet de Technicien Superieur, Brevet de Technicien Superieur Agricole, Licence Professionnelle , Diplome Universitaire de Technologie and Diplome d'etudes universitaires scientifiques et techniques which have specific entrance requirements.

Selecting the Right Subject

If you want to attend specialized schools for arts, architecture, journalism, fine arts, performing arts, cosmetology or other such fields, there are special entrance requirements depending upon the school. The public universities in France offers you choice of various courses in fields such as management, commerce, science, health sciences, social sciences, humanities, hospitality management as well as travel and tourism.

Academic Requirements for Studying In France

No predetermined set of equivalences for degrees in France and foreign countries is given official recognition in this nation, according to Campus France.  Each educational institution in France is given the freedom to set its admission criteria and select students as per their own procedure. Minimum requirement for students to enrol in undergraduate programs in France is the diploma awarded following completion of secondary studies, the “baccalaureat” or its considered equivalent. A Bachelor’s degree is necessary for admission into postgraduate degree programs in universities at France.

Specialised schools admit students based on examination results or the evaluation of the application.  Graduates can also choose to apply for specialized degrees such as MBA or advanced Master’s programs.

Some grandes ecoles even conduct interviews and consider applicants based on their own admission criteria. For admission into medical schools, international students without a medical degree must complete a year of education and pass an exam after which they are assessed by program administrators.

Those who want to pursue courses in fine arts, applied arts or related fields must submit a portfolio and take an entrance examination.

There are regulations determining the granting of academic credits for degrees, certificates or professional qualification programs by higher educational institutions in France. Candidates who seek credit must submit an application for the same to a jury. The jury decide the merit of the application. Two types of procedures are used to guide the process of credit transfer. The VAP 85 allows candidates to transfer credits to the program at a level as decided by the validation process. The other is known as VAE. This enables the candidates to gain a degree or credit for a degree based on the assessment of the candidate by the jury. 

Level of Proficiency Required in French

International students who want to be admitted into undergraduate or post graduate courses in France should be proficient in French.

Undergraduate Courses
Students who want to be admitted to the undergraduate courses and who do not possess the DALF (Diplome Approfondi de Langue Francaise/advanced diploma in French) conducted by Alliance de Francaise must take the TCF (Test de connaissance du francais ).  The test has to be taken at the preliminary stage of the application itself.

Post Graduate Courses
Post graduate students who do not have DELF level B2 or DALF level C1/C2 must contact the university they are applying to and check if they are required to take the TCF.

This is regardless of whether you are a national of a country which is a member of the European Economic Area. Students who want to be admitted to a business school or a grandes ecole must take the TCF as well. There are 500 authorized test centres all over the world which conduct the TCF.   Another test which can be taken by international students who want to be admitted to French universities is the Le TEF (Test d’evaluation de francais). This test is taken by the Alliance Francaise to assess level of proficiency in written and oral French.

Financing your Studies & Preparation

You can access the information regarding grants and scholarship programs of the government, foundations, organizations, corporations and higher educational institutions at Campus Bourses available at the Campus France website
  • The Erasmus program for the students from EU ensures that they have access to grants for studying in France. The Erasmus Mundus program is available for non-European students.
  •  The French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs also offers numerous grants to international students. Information on French grants is available at French embassies and consulate generals.

  • Apart from applying at the higher educational institutions, you also need to obtain a student visa if you are not a national of a country in the European Economic Area.

  • The Ministry of Higher Education and Research in France offers need-based grants to French citizens and certain categories of foreign students as part of affirmative action programs. 

  • Public research organisations such as CNRS (National Centre For Scientific Research) and regional councils offer grants to students and scholars as well. Some higher educational institutions also offer financial assistance to students.
Choosing the right degree program in France is easy. Application procedures for international students are systematic and well-defined.
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