How to Apply to a University in France?


Registering at a French university begins with registration on the Campus France website. The main mission of Campus France is to promote higher education programs in France.

The role of this agency is to facilitate the admission procedures in universities and to help expatriate students in their installation and relocation.

Indeed, acceptance or refusal is done through a selection process or via certain tests whose main criterion is the mastery of the French language.

The higher education system in France

Before even talking about admission to a university, it is best to have an overview of the educational system in France. In higher education, a distinction must be made between universities and High Schools.

In universities, you can obtain the three BMD degrees of the Bologna process, namely: Bachelor, Master, and Doctorate. France has about 82 state universities, 5 catholic universities, and many different private institutes.

The High Schools, on the other hand, are much more competitive institutions, where students enroll after a two-year program called PGCE – Preparatory classes for the Grandes Ecoles. In addition, they have to pass a very selective entrance exam, followed by an interview.

Application procedure for universities in France for international students
International students from outside the European Union use the “Studies in France” platform to apply to a university in France. This platform has the advantage of managing the entire university application process up to the visa application, with the help of Campus France agents.

Before applying, candidates have to make sure that they meet all the requirements, especially the mastery of the French language. There are two types of university admission procedures in France: the ADP (Application for prior admission), which implies prior admission, and the EPAR (Excluding Pre-Admission Request), which is an application without prior admission.

Application for Preliminary Admission

This system is for all international students applying for the first year of an undergraduate program in France. DAP applicants apply via the √Čtudes en France platform, where they can apply to a maximum of 3 programs.

Outside of the Prior Admission Request

This procedure is intended for applicants to the second or third year of an undergraduate program, as well as for applicants to all other graduate programs in France. It also takes place on the online platform Etudes en France, where candidates can apply to a maximum of 7 programs.

The conditions to enroll in a university in France

  • Have a high school diploma.
  • Mastery of the French language, both oral and written. This must be proven by obtaining an advanced diploma in the French language (DALF) or by passing a language evaluation test. If the student does not speak French, he or she must consult the language cooperation service of the French embassy or consulate in his or her country. They can then agree with them to begin one of the French courses offered by this service. Otherwise, he or she can always take French courses in private schools.
  • The registration for studies in France is done in two steps. The first step is preliminary admission. During this phase, you apply to the French consulate or embassy, to the cultural affairs department. The second step is the actual registration with the chosen university which then sends the list of administrative documents to the student.
  • A financial payment including the university registration fees as well as the compulsory health insurance fees. The amount of these fees varies according to the university chosen, the program of study, and the type of health insurance the student has subscribed to.
  • A student visa in France is issued by the French embassy or consulate within two months prior to departure. In addition, make sure you have a long-stay visa. This will allow the student to obtain a residence permit in France.

Documents required to enroll in a university in France

  • A certified copy of your high school diploma is translated into French. A copy certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country of origin or by the French Embassy is also required.
  • A photocopy of a valid passport.
  • A CV that includes the student’s academic background.
  • A letter of recommendation from the student’s school indicating the nature of his/her behavior during his/her studies.
  • Eight copies of the long-stay visa application.
  • Eight passport photos
  • A certificate of first registration.
  • Proof of health insurance

Application deadline for universities in France

Campus France recommends that students begin the application process in November of the year preceding the academic year for which they are applying. But university application deadlines are either January 17 or April 1 for the fall semester. This depends on the degree and other factors, such as the space available in the program.

In addition, the deadline for spring admission is September 15, and after that date, students may be admitted on a space-available basis. For post-baccalaureate admission, the deadlines are from late January to mid-March. For those who take the TCF test (for French language proficiency) during the DAP process, admission is from November to the end of January of the following year.

In summary, we hope you will continue to read the following articles on our site about studying in France.