Frequently Asked Questions
CampusFrance serves as an information resource for you in planning every stage of your stay in France – helping you define your study plans, choose and apply to programs, and improve your French.
Yes. Whether you want to complete a full degree program in France or just study abroad at a French higher education institution for a semester or year, you have to complete the CampusFrance application process. Completing this process is also the first step you need to take to apply for a student visa.
PASTEL is the online system that CampusFrance uses to process the application files of all students who intend to complete coursework at a French higher education institution. The PASTEL system works best on a PC. If you are using a Mac, use Google Chrome as your browser (not Safari). Better yet, gain access to a PC to complete the form to avoid potential difficulties.
We have prepared a detailed user guide for each application process that helps guide you through using the system, step by step.
By using “My CampusFolder,” you can log into the CampusFrance website and customize the site for your specific needs. You can enter information about yourself, such as your academic level and field of study, to receive custom-filtered information about programs, news and events that may interest you. You can also save information and bookmark programs you like to save you time, making your journey to studying in France even easier!
The academic calendars of the two countries are basically similar. 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 program to program. We have provided additional details about holidays and vacations in the French academic calendar.
CampusFrance provides information about higher education programs at all levels that are appropriate for international students. Our program directory will help you find the institutions in France where you can pursue your academic goals. Then, complete the appropriate CampusFrance application process according to your specific plans for study in France.
CampusFrance's catalog is continually growing and changing, so we do not produce a printed edition – only the online directory is available.
As it is the case with other countries, there is no system of definitive equivalences between higher education institutions in France and in the United States, and each French institution makes its own admission decisions based on an applicant’s background and the requirements of the program.
To enter the French university system, international students must show that they are eligible to enroll in a university program in their country of residence.
The European Commission has introduced a system called ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) [europa.eu.int/comm/education/programmes/socrates/ects_en.html] in order to make it easier for students to complete coursework abroad for credit. French higher education institutions have introduced ECTS in all subjects. After completing your studies abroad, your academic achievements are transferred by the ECTS and can then be recognized in North America.
However, the number of U.S. semesters or quarter credits you receive for your coursework in France, and whether or not the grades you received in France count toward your degree program and/or GPA in the U.S., depend on the policies of your home institution. Study abroad and exchange students should always consult with advisors in their home schools’ international office before finalizing plans to study in France.
France is the third-most popular destination for international students. Why? First and foremost, because of the outstanding quality of the higher education system that features internationally recognized diplomas, degrees, and certificates; 400 internationally renowned institutions of higher education and research; and a system of accreditation that ensures quality education.
Studying in France opens doors to the entire European higher education area. The French degree system (Licence, Master’s, Doctorate – LMD) is the same system now used throughout the EU and allows students to transfer credit and establish degree equivalency between one university or national higher education system and another. Based on a common academic credit system known as the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), this structure has been designed to facilitate international student mobility within the EU and around the world.
Higher education is also very affordable. France devotes almost 20 percent of its annual national budget to education – about €6,000 per student! Thanks to the highly subsidized public higher education system, international students pay the same low tuition in public institutions and have the same access to the same level of service as domestic students in France.
France is the home of technological marvels such as the TGV high-speed train, the Ariane rocket, and Airbus planes. France is also the world's fourth-largest economy, home to world-class manufacturing groups such as L'Oréal, Total, Renault, Michelin, France Telecom and Carrefour, as well as many thousands of promising start-ups and thriving smaller businesses.
The quality of French life is second to none. Students enjoy a superb system of public transportation, modern and affordable health-care, and cities that feel safe and secure.
Of course, there’s also the language. French – the official language of almost 200 million people – opens doors in 47 countries on five continents.
And don’t forget the culture and savoir-vivre: France has a long and rich cultural heritage, and a lively cultural scene featuring festivals, theater, fashion and good eating. France produces 120-150 films a year, and Paris has the world's highest density of cinemas.
Find out more about why studying abroad in France is worthwhile.
Studying in France is relatively inexpensive because the government subsidizes a significant share of the cost. Annual tuition in a public university is between €126 and €692, depending on the program. Costs in private institutions are higher. There is no difference in tuition fees for domestic and international students in France.
Most students need €800 to €1,000 each month to cover the costs of food, transportation and housing. The amount you will need depends on where in France you live and on what type of housing you select. A meal in a university restaurant generally costs €3.
Read more about how much things in a typical student budget cost.
International students may work part-time as long as they are registered at an institution approved by the French social security system. Even first-year students and students coming to France for the first time have the right to work part-time.
It depends on how long you are staying and what citizenship you have. Find out more in the Visas section of this website.
Yes – and you will as soon as you register at a French higher education institution. France's public health-care system – sécurité sociale in French – is one of the best in the world. It covers all or part of your health-care costs once you are in the system.
Students under the age of 28 are automatically covered by the national health-care system when they register with an approved educational institution. Students 28 and older must obtain individual coverage.
Although the CampusFrance program directory does contain programs taught in English, knowledge of French will enable you to benefit more fully from your stay and to get more out of life in France.
If your French isn't as good as you'd like it to be, take some courses in France or in the United States.
There are many options, including the Alliance Française, a network of 1,000 institutes in more than 140 countries.
There are several different tests and language certifications. Find out which one is required for your study plans.