Studying in France

The Country

France has a population of about 60 million, and the largest urban areas are Paris, Lyon, Marseille-Aix-en-Provence, Lille and Toulouse. The French Republic is a secular state where all religious faiths and denominations are represented.

Visitors to France find it a wonderful host country, and with 71 million foreign tourists, France is possibly the most visited country in the world. France is best know for its art and culture, attracting tourists who come to enjoy the beauty of its landmarks, the originality of its creative artists, the palette of its landscapes, and its gourmet cuisine. France's transportation and health systems are also among the world's best.

It is well known that the living is good in France, but the country is also the fourth world industrial power, exporting products and high-technology projects throughout the world. The country spearheads growth in a wide range of fields such as space, communication, electronics, telecommunications, che-mistry, biotechnology and health.

Quality And Accessibility Of Higher Education

France's higher education system is modern and dynamic, training the leaders of the nation and playing a central role in the worlds of Science, Business, and Culture. The testimony of the dynamism of French education lays in the successes of its scientists, engineers, and designers, who are renowned for the Airbus, the high-speed train, the Ariane rocket and the discovery of the human immune-deficiency virus.

The educational system is mainly public, with a single, nation-wide, quality standard. Degrees are national, regardless of the university or school where they have been prepared.

At present, international students chosen France for all or part of their higher education have enrich the French system with their culture, experience, energy and accomplishments.

Studying in France rarely means studying only in France. Many if not most schools have added European components to their programmes, offering courses on Europe or internships elsewhere in the European Union. Students have the opportunity to enrich their French experience with new discoveries and experiences.

Not surprisingly, most courses in France are taught in French, a language spoken by more than 200 million people in 50 countries. But you'll have ample opportunities to learn or practice other European languages - English, in particular. Advanced English is taught in many programmes, especially in business and engineering.

Study Opportunities

The French educational system is distinguished by the variety of its institutions, each with its own goals, structure, and admission requirements.


France's universities are public institutions. Enrolment is open to any student holding a French baccalaureat or its foreign equivalent (that is a degree that entitles its holder to begin university study in his or her home country). There are about 90 public universities that constitute the main stream and deliver degrees for teaching and research, as well as for professional activities in such areas as the Sciences, Law, Economics, Medicine, Engineering, Social Sciences, Languages, Art, etc.

In universities, long programmes are divided into three successive levels:

  • The first level ends after three years of university study. Graduates are awarded the Licence, the equivalent of a Bachelor's degree.
  • The second level may last 1 or 2 years. Students may earn a Ma�trise in 1 year, and, after an additional year of study, a Diplôme d'Études Approfondies (DEA) or Diplôme d'études Supérieures Spécialisées (DESS). These degrees are equivalent to a 1 or 2 year Master's degree.
  • The third level, that of graduate research and scholarship, ends in the award of a Doctoral degree following successful defence of a thesis or dissertation. Equivalent to a PhD, the Doctoral degree requires 3 years of study after the DEA.

Grandes Écoles

Some of France's famous Grandes Ecoles are public, others are private. They are unique institutions, prestigious and very selective. They enrol far fewer students than the universities. Many are devoted to training high-level managers and engineers. Their programmes are so well attuned to the needs of industry that their graduates are in very high demand.

In Grandes Ecoles, most long programmes involve 5 years of study, including 2 years of preparation. Students who successfully complete the 2 years of preparatory classes earn the right to sit for one or more very selective entrance examinations. The Grandes Ecoles enrol most of their students through such examinations, but almost all hold open some places for international students and others seeking admission on the basis of their academic record and experience.

Short degree programmes (IUT and BTS):

Short degree programmes, generally involving two or three years of study, are concentrated in the fields of manufacturing, trade, and services. Most are offered by multidisciplinary institutes affiliated with a university (university institutes of technology, or IUTs) or in specialised schools. All short prog-rammes include internships. Job prospects for graduates of the short programmes are very good.

Programmes awarding the degree of brevet de technicien supérieur (BTS) are unique, they are taught in secondary schools. BTS degrees are offered in 86 different fields. Graduates move directly into jobs in their chosen field. Among the most popular BTS programmes are those in Hotel Management, Manufacturing, Applied Arts, Business, and Agriculture. Students may transfer into a long degree programme if they hold a baccalaureate or another degree deemed to be equivalent.

Entry Admissions

France has no universally applicable system for determining the equivalence of French and foreign diplomas. Each institution sets its own admission requirements. Students are admitted if their prior academic work is likely to have prepared them sufficiently for the demands of the programme to which they seek admission. This system ensures a uniform level of instruction and graduating classes of roughly equal ability and experience.

In France the academic year begins in September or October and ends in May or June. The exact starting and ending dates vary from institution to institution and from programme to programme. There are several breaks during the year, e.g., 2 weeks in December, 2 weeks in February and 2 weeks in March - April. Summer vacation stretches over the entire months of July and August, and sometimes includes parts of June and September as well.

Cost Of Education

The French Government supports higher education to the tune of about 6,000 Euro per student per year. That high level of public support means that higher education in France is very affordable, for international as well as French students.

University tuition is rarely more than 300 Euro per academic year. In public Grandes Ecoles, the annual tuition is approximately 600 Euro. The range of tuition at other institutions, particularly business schools, is much wider. Tuition rates vary by programme and by type of institution.

Students will need to have from 650 Euro to 1,000 Euro (which is about the same amount in US dollars) a month to live in France. Below that level, students are likely to have difficulties living normally and may not be able to devote sufficient attention to their programme of study.

French Government Grants for Malaysian students in France:

From 1988 to 1994, 228 Malaysian undergraduate students have been sent to France by the Malaysian Government to study mainly Electrical Science, Computer Science, Business, Manage-ment, and Architecture.

In 2000, an undergraduate and pluri-annual programme has been launched. It is destined to produce French trained engineers and covers all fields of engineering, particularly mechanical, electrical, computer, telecommunications, chemical, and electronics. In September 2002, the third batch of 30 students has gone to France through this programme, which is divided in 2 years of preparation studies followed by 5 years of engineering studies in any of the Grandes Ecoles d'Ingénieurs authorised to deliver the Diplôme d'Ingénieur.

Candidates are selected by JPA on their SPM results in maths, physics, chemistry and English. Funds for educational expenditure, social and medical insurance, living expenses and air tickets are provided by the Malaysian and by the French Governments.

Universities Agreement

Specific post-graduate programmes in France are implemented between faculties of French and Malaysian private or public universities. These programmes are built case by case in computer science, chemistry, pharmacy or mechanical engineering.

Scholarships for Excellence

Scholarship programmes have been set up to enable French institutions of higher education to attract the finest inter-national students and, through them, to develop interuniversity co-operation. It is opened to the brilliant non-French students who are registered in a French school abroad.

Getting Help In Going To France

Alliance Française

If you wish to study in France, but would first like to have some general information, please make an appointment with an education counsellor at the French Information Centre at Alliance Française. The counsellor will look at your study project and advise you on the course to follow. Information will be given on the application procedures, cost of studies and living in France, organisation of studies in France, contact details for institutions of higher learning and many more. Multilingual brochures and a library specialised on France are available in the Centre.

Most of the academic programmes offered in France are taught in French, so a prior knowledge of the French language is strongly recommended. Students can contact the Alliance Françaises of Kuala Lumpur and Penang, which are offering French courses at all levels, leading to diplomas that are recognized in France.


There are more than 6,000 institutions of higher education in France. For students living abroad and unfamiliar with the French system, it may be hard to find their way around, and that is the purpose of EduFrance. It is a French organisation specialised in helping overseas students to access higher education in France. Not only are the programmes in the EduFrance programme catalogue equipped to provide high-quality instruction for international students, but EduFrance has added extra advantages, such as remedial instruction in French, academic advising and tutoring, from applications to housing and personal assistance whenever a student needs it during his stay.


Onisep, a French government service, publishes its higher education atlas on the Web. Use this powerful reference tool to research the thousands of programmes available in every discipline throughout France. Search by broad discipline, degree type, specialisation, location, and institution.

Ministry of Education

The French Ministry of Education also publishes an online version of its directory of Doctoral programmes and research centres.

Applying for a Visa

Students must be enrolled in a French institution of higher education before applying for a visa. If it is the case, students should contact their French Consulate to get information about what is needed to obtain the visa. If the course of study is longer than three months, it is necessary to have a student visa. In any case, the passport must be valid for the duration of the visa.


Health insurance and liability insurance are required of everyone in France. Students under 28 years of age are covered by the provisions of the student security system as soon as he/she enrols in an institution of higher education. Those above 28 years must obtain the required health insurance and liability insurance by contacting the Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie (primary health insurance fund) in the place of residence.

Studying For a French Diploma In Malaysia

For students who don't want to go abroad for a very long period, it is still possible to complete a French diploma in Malaysia. Students also don't need to learn French to get a degree in France as they can do the courses in Malaysia in English. Students can obtain a very high quality diploma from experienced and renowned French universities, while staying in Malaysia. Below are a few examples of French programmes in Malaysia.

  • French Bachelor Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management

    Taylor's college School of Hotel Management is running, with the University of Toulouse in France, a French Bachelor Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management (Licence Hotellerie Tourisme). With the backing of the University of Toulouse, the second largest and oldest university in France, students are gaining the expertise of masters from one of the most renowned countries in gastronomy. Upon the successful completion of the first two years of study, students are awarded the French BTS qualification in Hotel Management or Tourism Management. Students can them complete the final year, organised in two semesters, to obtain the French Bachelor Degree. Students who then wish to continue their studies have the possibility to go to France to complete a French Master at the University of Toulouse.
  • French Masters Programme in Information Technology

    The Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MiGHT) and Multimedia Technology Enhance-ment Operations (Meteor) are offering a French Masters of Science in Information Technology. This 15 modules, 18 month programme in English was developed by University of La Rochelle in France, and takes 25 to 30 students to give them personal attention. It includes three projects of 100 hours and a training period of 5 months.
  • MBA in Euro-Asian Management

    A specialised MBA programme from the Malaysian Graduate School of Management (UPM) in collaboration with the Aix-en-Provence School of Management, University of Aix-Marseille in France, and the French Foundation for Management Education is taking place at UPM. This MBA programme provides participants with an in-depth coverage of marketing, finance, human resources, inter-national business, general manage-ment and practices in Asian and European environment.

Useful addresses

French Information Center
15 Lorong Gurney,
54100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel : 03.26947880
Fax : 03.26930502
E-mail : [email protected]

Alliance Française de Kuala Lumpur
15 Lorong Gurney,
54100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel : 03.26947880
Fax : 03.26930502
E-mail: [email protected]

Alliance Française de Penang
46 Jalan Phuah Hin Leong,
10050 Penang
Tel : 04.2276008
E-mail : [email protected]
Website :

French Consulate
192, Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel : 03.20535500
Fax : 03.20535551

E-mail : [email protected]
Website :

Email : [email protected]

The French Ministry of Education

Website :

Higher education atlas on the Website at