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Masters in France – All You Need to Know

If you’re wondering about what you need to know about Master’s in France, and you’re confused by the amount of information available online, then you’re in the right place.

In this post, we have simplified the process for you. You will find everything you need to know in this post.

France is one of the best non-Anglophone study abroad countries. It has attracted over 250,000 international students across the globe, given the fact that it contains some of the oldest universities in the world and the tuition fees are affordable. The current cost for a Master’s degree in France is €256- an amount set by the French government. Both international students and EU citizens pay the same tuition fees. A Master’s degree in France lasts two years, starting September and ending in June or starting October and ending in July as the case may be. All students can choose from different modules and focus on specific topics within their course of study.

Things you should know before studying in France

Course types

A master’s program in France lasts for two years. Unlike UK master’s programs, which are delivered for 12 months without breaks, Masters Programs in France are broken down into two academic years, separated by holidays. Each academic year runs from September to May or October to June, divided by two semesters with a Christmas break. Examinations are conducted at the end of each semester.

Course content

French Masters programs are usually organized into Teaching Units (TU), allowing students to focus on different topics within a wider subject area. The modules are delivered through independent project work, theoretical discussions, and practical workshops, as the case may be.

Accommodation

Most universities in France provide accommodation for incoming students. However, university accommodation is not always the best option because it can often be unpleasant, damp, and dirty. Sites like leboncoin.fr and appartager.fr are great alternatives for students looking for decent student apartments.

Open a local bank account

Opening a local bank account in France should be one of the first things you do as soon as you arrive. This will save you from all the numerous ATM withdrawal charges and foreign transaction fees.  

Do not delay your CAF application

CAF (Caisses d’Allocations Familiales) is the total amount of money given to students by the French government to help pay for their accommodation and other living expenses. The application process can be a bit tricky and will put your French proficiency level to the test. The best way to go about it is to begin your application process as soon as your local bank account is up and running. The quicker you apply for CAF, the more money you’re likely to receive, as there is no room for back payments.

Masters Study in France

The French Higher education system is well known for its track record of excellence. France boasts as one of the countries with the largest number of international students in Europe and the most modern student city.

French universities are well funded by the government as education is one of the government’s topmost priorities. The cost of tuition for master’s programs in France is one of the most affordable in France.

How to Apply For a Masters in France

International students from the European Union do not need a visa to stay in France and can apply for a master’s directly through the university’s official website. All other international students from non-EU countries will need to apply for a student visa through Campus France or a French embassy in their home country. Campus France is an online platform ran by the French government to guide students to start their application process, choose the right university, and obtain a student visa.

The visa will serve as a residency permit only during the first year of your studies. All international students are expected to register with the French Immigration office within the first 30 days of their arrival. From the second year, you need to possess a residence permit.

Campus France

Anyone who wishes to study in France should check out Campus France. It is a friendly online platform designed to give you more information about what studying in France is like. The platform has information about courses both in French and English. It also features articles about the French language and why it is essential to study it. You will also find tips on how to live in France and details about each city.

Applying for a Masters in France

All Bachelor’s degree (or ‘Licence’) holders are eligible to apply for admission into a master’s degree program. The admission requirements differ from university to university. The application process for most universities, especially private universities, can be very rigorous, with only a few securing a place.

Admissions requirements

The following are some of the requirements for admission to a French Master’s program.

  • Interview for shortlisted candidates, especially in courses with a competitive admission process
  • Admission tests or entrance examination- most University business schools require MBA applicants to submit standardized test scores like GMAT or GRE. Some others, like Grandes Écoles, set their own admissions entrance examinations.
  • Academic transcripts may be requested by some universities who want to verify the content of your undergraduate degree(especially for international students who studied outside Europe)

Application deadlines

The expected closing date for all applications for a Master’s degree at French Universities is 31 January in the year you wish to commence your studies. Note that the application deadline for other private universities in France may vary based on some unique factors.

Language requirements

France is a significant admitter of foreign students worldwide and offers a couple of ‘international’ degree programs in English (especially at the postgraduate level). However, French is still the official language of instruction in most universities. Therefore you should have a proficiency level in the French language before seeking to have your masters in the country.

Some universities set their language requirements, but most require applicants to sit for a language test that isn’t their first language.

For Courses in the French language, the most commonly accepted tests are the DALF and DELF, both administered by the French Ministry of Education. Similarly, English language courses may also require a language test for applicants studying in a second language.

Visa

All international students can study in France, but the actual requirements differ based on country of origin.

  • Students from Switzerland, EEA, and EU can study for a masters in France without a visa
  • Students from other countries outside the European Union need a VLS-TS extended-stay student visa with a residency permit.

Recommended: 25 Things You Did Not Know About Studying In France

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Applying for a French student visa (VLS-TS)

There are two primary ways to apply for a VLS-TS visa to study in France:

  • Through Campus France’s CEF Procedure – Campus France is the French government’s official platform to help International students on all matters related to studying in France. There are Campus France offices in over 33 countries. Therefore if there is a Campus France office in your country, you can directly apply for your French student visa through their office.
  • Through a French embassy/consulate– if Campus France does not operate an office in your country, then your next option is to contact the French embassy in your country and apply through a process known as the Demande d’Admission Préalable (DAP). The process involves submitting an application form to the French Service de coopération et d’action culturelle (SCAC).

Suppose you’re already in France for one reason or the other. In that case, you can get information directly from your chosen institution or local Préfecture (the administrative office responsible for your French department).

Application requirements

There are some standard documents and information required for the application process, regardless of the method you used in applying for the visa. They include

  • Your international passport
  • Proof of admission at a designated learning institution in France. This should also include the duration of your study (including the start and end dates), as this will determine the duration of your student visa.
  • Proof of financial resources to support your stay in France if you’re not on scholarship. The French government recommends that international students have access to at least €650 per month.
  • Proof of valid health insurance
  • Proof of French language proficiency

Validating your VLS-TS visa

Immediately you arrive in France, one of the first things you will need to do is to validate your visa and receive a residence permit. This is achieved by sending your visa to the Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration (OFII) with Demande d’attestation OFII form (issued with your visa) and copies of identity pages from your passport.

The cost of validating a VLS-TS visa is about €60. However, because it is a tax, you’re expected to pay it in the form of a ‘fiscal stamp.’ This form can be purchased from the official OFII website or from any newsagent in France.

Health insurance

If you’re an EU citizen with a valid EHIC card, you can use it to access health care services in France like French citizens.

Other international students will need health insurance to have access to health care in France. You must register with the French social security system. Once you’re duly registered, you will be able to enjoy access to health care services at the same rate as French nationals.

Can you work in France after completing a Master’s degree?

All EU citizens can work in France and other EU countries after their studies without requiring a work permit or visa. As a non-EU citizen, after you complete your master’s program in France, you’re entitled to work in France under a certain condition. This is referred to as the authorization provisoire de séjour (APS) scheme. It grants graduates of French Master’s degree programs to stay in the country for an extra year after their course ends. You can work for 60% of an average full-time equivalent without a work permit during this one year.

This permission can be extended if you find a befitting job related to your course of study that pays more than the French minimum wage within the one year window period.

Conclusively, France remains one of the best non-Anglophone study destinations for international students. You can never go wrong with choosing France for your Master’s program. We hope the information we shared in this post will help you in making the best decision.

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