PhD in France

Why Study in France?

France is currently the world’s fourth most popular study destination, thanks to its excellent culture, well respected educational system, and comparatively low tuition fees. Each year, over 300,000 students travel to France only to attend its schools. The French higher education system may appear confusing. The educational system is being standardised into a three-level framework, which should make it more understandable.


Top Universities

  • Toulouse School of Management
  • CASS Europe
  • KEDGE Business School
  • University of Kent, Paris School of Arts and Culture
  • HEC Paris
  • The Centre for Research and Interdisciplinary (CRI)
  • The Sustainable Design School
  • Grenoble Ecole de Management
  • International School of Management
  • Institut Pasteur
  • MINES ParisTech
  • Sciences Po


Popular Fields of PhD Study

  • Biological Sciences
  • Education
  • Anthropology
  • Engineering
  • Sociology
  • Psychology


Program Duration and Cost of Education

For a normal 3-year PhD, a ‘doctorate’ is made up of six semesters, resulting in two teachings (or research) semesters per year.

Fees for a PhD at a public institute are typically around €380 per year.

Private Institutes – Private institutes, particularly business schools, charge greater fees than public ones, ranging from €3,000 to $10,000 per year.

Eligibility Criteria for PhD Program

Students who wish to pursue a PhD in France must meet specific eligibility requirements in order to apply to an institution in the country. In order to pursue a PhD in France, you must have a two-year master’s degree or a five-year bachelor’s degree in the applicable discipline.
Students with extensive experience in their disciplines are frequently preferred by France’s top universities.

To apply for a PhD in France, you must score well on the language proficiency tests. Applicants for courses with English as the medium of instruction must pass the TOEFL or IELTS. With French as the medium of instruction, aspirants must additionally pass the TCF and TEF exams. A valid passport is required.


Intake and Application Deadlines

The autumn semester runs from late September through early January, with breaks around Christmas and New Year.

The spring semester runs from early February through early June, with some universities taking an Easter break. The national deadline for all candidates to apply to public universities is January 31st. For Grandes Ecoles and other private institutions, this may be different.


A Sneak Peek into the PhD Application Process

In France, you will apply for specific listed projects or submit a research proposal for your own topic, similar to how you would in other nations such as the United Kingdom. You must apply to the PhD program in which you want to enrol. In France, each institution is free to create its own standards and conduct independent assessments. In order to enrol as a PhD student, you will normally need a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in a suitable area. The majority of PhD programs in France are taught in French, with language requirements determined by each school. As part of their final grade, certain universities may require international students to write a thesis abstract in French. In most cases, you’ll need to submit the following materials together with your application:

Original stamps on certified copies of your degree content and qualification certificates. It’s possible that your transcript may need to be translated into French and reviewed by a lawyer.

If you are applying to a PhD school directly rather than through an announced project, you must submit a research proposal.

You will often be required to supply at least two academic references who have worked with you previously.


Student Visa Terms and Provisions

A Talent passport VLS-TS extended-stay student visa with a resident permit is essential. For your visa application, you will normally need to present the following documents:

  • A valid passport with a 3-month validity period after your departure date is required for identification.
  • A letter of enrolment from a recognised institution stating the start and end dates as well as the duration of the course.
  • Evidence of a maintenance grant or proof of your income
  • Health insurance from a reputable insurer that is valid for the duration of your stay.

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