France, being the fourth largest economy in the world and a hub for technological marvels is fast opening up as a destination for higher education offering a great deal of flexibility to design academic itineraries suited to individual goals and aspirations. College of France, Ecole Normale Super, Ecole Polytechnique, University of Bordeaux, University of Lyon are some of the renowned French academic institutions.
The French Educational System consists of a variety of institutions offering internationally recognized diplomas, degree and certificates. These institutions can be broadly categorized into two major types – Universities, Specialized Schools and grandes ecoles. France houses 87 public universities offering technical, professional and academic programs in all disciplines. grandes ecoles may be public or private institutions and impart professional training in fields like engineering, art, management, etc. They offer bachelors degree, masters programs, and MBA. Specialized schools provide training in very specific areas like tourism, paramedicine or social work.
In the field of higher education in Europe, a new diploma system has been implemented to standardize degree courses. There are three types of degrees which are awarded by universities:
Licence‘ (bachelor’s degree) is awarded further to 3 years of study after the bac’
Master‘ (master’s degree) is awarded further to 5 years of study after the bac’
Doctorat‘ (PhD) is awarded further to 8 years of study after the bac’
(Bac’ or Baccalauréat’: Final secondary school examination, qualifying for university entrance – equivalent to A-Levels).
The universities and schools offer 3 years Licence (Bachelor’s) programs in diverse fields. For admission to Licence programs the candidate should have a high school certificate equivalent to French Baccalauréat and a good score on TOEFL/IELTS.
The admission requirements for Master of Science programs comprise of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification and a good command over English demonstrated by TOEFL/IELTS score.
MBA programs with various specializations like strategic leadership, international management, technology and entrepreneurship, project management, etc are offered by universities and free standing schools. The duration varies from 11 to 24 months. The courses are taught in English and the admission requirements include possession of a bachelor’s degree, 2-3 years of professional experience, a good GMAT and TOEFL score.
Master of Science programs of 12-24 months in duration are also offered. The eligibility requirements include a bachelor’s degree and a good TOEFL/IELTS score. The tuition fee ranges from 7000 to 12000€.
The medium of instruction for most courses is English. Therefore, the student needs to prove proficiency in English by submitting TOEFL/IELTS scores. However, the student needs to learn French in order to get the best out of the social life of France. The student has the option of learning French at his home country or when he/she comes to France.
Every French academic institution sets its own admission standards. Admission to undergraduate and graduate programs in public universities is decided by selection committees which review a candidate’s academic profile, suitability for the desired course of study, test scores and professional experience. As most French institutions do not yet accept electronic applications, hence, a student should mail his application packet to the concerned institution.
France offers two academic sessions starting in September and January and the deadlines for the same are April 30 and October 30 respectively. However some educational establishments may have more flexible deadlines.
French institutions offer a number of programs in English and therefore a proficiency in French is not mandatory, however, the same is recommended for settling down in France and getting the best out of social life. The student can choose to take up a course in French either in his own country or when he reaches France.
Tuition & Living Expenses:
The tuition expenses in France are relatively lower as the government supports higher education to the tune of 6000 Euros per student per year. The fee structure for MBA program ranges from 25000-35000 €, for postgraduate programs fee ranges from 10000- 12000€. However private institutions charge a relatively higher tuition rates. The average living cost is 1000 euros per month.
Study grants are offered by French Government but are for graduate study, usually at doctoral level. Applications have to be made through the cultural service of the French embassy in the country of residence.
The French embassy provides scholarships whereby it co-finances the expenses of studying in France like health coverage, air tickets or monthly allowances for living expenses. However, it does not include the tuition fees.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris offers EIFFEL Excellence scholarships to meritorious students going for graduate and post graduate programs in the fields of engineering, management, political science and law.
International students are allowed to work half time for the period they are registered at an academic institution approved by French social security system.
International students residing outside European Union are required to obtain a long term student visa form the French Consulate.
The students are first of all required to create an online account on www.india.campusfrance.org and schedule an appointment through the online file or by calling or mailing the CampusFrance Counselors. Thereafter, they have to appear for an interview with two sets of the following documents – letter of registration from the French academic institution, proof of funds for tuition and living expenses, proof of accommodation in France for the period of study, short biodata, copy of academic credentials, air ticket and overseas medical and registration policy to get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) at any of the French consulates in their city. A demand draft of Rs 7000 in favour of “CEDUST” payable at New Delhi .This is the CampusFrance registration fee to be submitted on the day of the Visa interview or on a prior date. After the NOC interview, the student will be given a presentation letter and with the same he/she would need to submit the passport at the Embassy on a predefined date. The Passport will be returned duly stamped in 2 working days or a week at the latest. The French Embassy student visa fee is 50 euros (in equivalent Indian Rupees, to be paid in cash at the time of depositing the passport). Upon arrival in France, international students must first register with their educational institution and then obtain a student residency permit from the local authorities.
[Above information is taken from http://www.india-campusfrance.org ]