Higher Education in France Demystified

France Higher Education
Following article was written by Priyank.

France as an education destination, is quite different from it’s European counterparts. And a lot different from the US.

For one, most of the cutting edge research that happens, is carried out in the French govt centers. There are several govt units that contribute to their research.

Moreover, in Europe, just like the EMF which created the Euro treaty, there is also a European board for innovation and technology called as “eit”, wherein various research programs are being carried out.

So it presents a wonderful opportunity for graduates. France, and especially Paris is a hot destination among students.

My reason for choosing France:

  • Money Factor
  • My area of interest
  • Student visa issues and work visa

Money Factor

In France, most of the university fee is paid by the French govt. However in the US, university fee is very high. Since I belong to a very basic middle class family, I had to take decision considering this factor in my mind.

My area of interest

I’m currently working with Schneider-Electric India Ltd as an R&D engineer. I’ve been working on technologies such as IEC61850 etc.

My interest in the field of Smart Grids has been for quite a while now. And in France, a lot of universities offer master’s courses with specialization specially in smart grids.

Which I couldn’t find in many universities in the US (I may be wrong).

Also, a lot of universities have tie-ups with large industrial groups such as AREVA, SCHNEIDER, ALSTOM, Air-Liquid, SaintGOBAIN etc, wherein internships can be easily converted in to full time jobs.

Since i have relevant industrial research experience with respect to my area of interest, I felt it was a more relevant choice.

Student visa issues and work visa

Current situation in France is that student visa is relatively easy to obtain. Also it is easier to get a green card.

Although a lot of international students come to France for studying, situation is still much better as compared to other countries.

So the student to faculty ratio in french universities is far better. Work visa cost is also less and companies hire you on the basis of your previous experience, which I have with Schneider-electric.

Students, usually while selecting universities, lay a lot of emphasis on the world rankings (QS world Rankings). But I would like to make a very interesting point here, that the ranking is based on the amount of research work that goes on at the university level.

It is highly inclined towards the academia research, which by no means should lower the status of French universities. As a matter of fact, France has a beautiful academia-industry relationship, which i found very interesting.

About the Application Process

Well, most of the universities have a single admission window, Winter semester, which starts from Sept/Oct. The application window starts from as early as November of the preceding year (eg- for 2012 Sept intake, application window started from Nov2011) till April mid for most of the universities.

The admission is profile based.

GRE is not required for applying to French universities.

Only TOEFL is required, which means a lot of emphasis is given on your overall profile. This is where your professional experience comes in handy.
Admission process differs from university to university, but in large the required documents remain the same.

Although some universities even ask for your official School leaving certificate.

Overall, the application process is quite smooth, and I would prefer students to apply through campus France website. It’s an official website sponsored by French embassy in India.

The counselors there are really helpful and do cater to all your needs very cordially.

I would love to write more in this regard. Kindly let me know, if you require more information.

Keep up the good work HSB.

I think you have initiated an excellent forum for students to actually learn from others experience about education abroad.

I believe there are many students like me, who have benefited from the resources available on your blog to actually realize their dream of studying abroad…..and not just USA…hehe….lol..!!!

I hope that people will start understanding the real purpose/objective of such a blog and would soon start replying with contributory responses and not just blatant excuses and criticism.

Regards,
Priyank..
HSB fan by heart…!!!

Other Post by Priyanka – Don’t Be a Dumb Decision Maker About Higher Education

40 Comments

  1. manohar on May 5, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    hi priyanka,
    I am planning to have my MBA and had 2yrs experience in IT-Industry. Where is the best option to have MBA and I am planning to have in UK. Is France also good to have MBA. If so, what’s the process.

  2. naveen on May 3, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    Donna
    hey i am so sorry…but at the top its wrotten..article by priyanka..so i never bothered much to cross check the names again…i m sorry for my megligence..and hope the author will soon provide the information abt the quiery i asked abt masters in maglev technology..it will be very helpful of you.thank you.

    • Donna on May 4, 2012 at 1:27 PM

      its ok…it seems more of HSB’s slip of hand…

  3. naveen on May 3, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    Donna
    hey i m so sorry but at the top of the article its written.article by priyanka..check it..so i dint bothered abt the name much..so i m sorry for my negligence..and hope to get some guidance abt the question i asked..thank you.

  4. Rakesh Singh on May 3, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    plz mention the discrimination factor of france . both direct and indirect factor

  5. munna on May 3, 2012 at 8:19 AM

    Do they give work visas after finishing course in France???

  6. Jayant k on May 2, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    I think Hsb is unique forum. I m a big fan of Hsb. The uniqueness of Hsb is precise & updated information. Thanx hsb . Jayant k

  7. naveen on May 2, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Hello miss priyanka i am highly impressed with ur attitude towards life might b unaware but you are inspiration to many..i totally agree with you every body on this blog sheds his or her frustation against loopholes in US edu sustem..this blog was for students to make theirs dreams reality.to give them the strength to chase their dreams…i am in final semester and want to chase maglev technology for my m.s…so can u help me with paris tech information..do they entertain transpotation science and maglev technology…it will be really generous of you..i will be very thank full to you.and pls also help me with the ecole polytechnique intake procedure.

    • Donna on May 3, 2012 at 1:15 PM

      heyy,did u even see the name of the person who wrote the post before asking for guidance??Its Priyank Shrivastava not miss priyanka…

  8. Nitin on May 2, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    Hi Priyank,
    Please let me know some good universities in France for doing MS in electronics or electronics related fields.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Nitin

  9. sanjay pethe on May 2, 2012 at 5:44 AM

    Hi Priyanka ,
    I read your article about study in france.
    My son got admission in Centrale Nantes university for doing MS in mechanical engineering.
    The fees is Rs.12000 euros per year for 2 years.But they are asking to pay 3000 euro’s online payment which we feel as risky and even in US the fee is paid on arrival to the university.

    My son studied french and has good marks throughout for Bachelor of engineering.
    whether he can get scholarship from french government.?
    what is the scope for him in france after doing MS there ?
    please advice.

  10. Rakesh Singh on May 1, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    basic problem in eu countries is that they dont speak english . is there any ebook which tells us how to learn french quickly and in easy way

  11. Madhwa on May 1, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    Does it require 16 years of education or 17 years of education to apply for Masters course in any French University ?? What are the costs of education. You say that is cheaper than most other countries. Can you just give a figure or something ?? An estimate ??

    • Priyank on May 2, 2012 at 12:14 AM

      Hi madhwa:
      Well if you have done 4 yrs of under grad, then you are eligible for entry directly into 2nd year of the masters. But it depends on university to university..You have to check out with the admin for this.
      COST
      (a)Tuition fee ranges from 3000 euros/yr to 5000 euros/yr again depending upon the school you choose.But the cost is higher for Architecture courses and management courses.
      (b)Living cost ranges from 600-700 euros/ month. This includes the cost of living as well. Apart from that. most universities ask students to get a medical insurance at the start of the course. You need to check this out with the university concerned. Usually it ranges between 200-300 euros.
      IMP: Living cost hugely differs from city to city. Foe eg, If you choose a university in Paris, It’s going to cost a bit more, While if you study in Grenoble, then it’s much cheap.

      So to calculate a rough estimate: one would need approx 25000 euros complete, which amounts to roughly Rs 16,50,000 INR (1 euro = 66 INR).
      IMP: You need to be fluent in French language to survive in France.

  12. lakshmi on May 1, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Hi ,

    Can you please tel me if the specialized masters course ( 1 yr ) has the same value as an MS degree in US ? I have got into one of the prestigious universities for masters in aerospace n debating whether to go there or not .

  13. ALOK on May 1, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Everybody has a dream of studying abroad for either masters or PhD but money plays a major role in deciding the destination. Everybody wants best education so they can use it lifelong.
    the people who generally find themselves in lacking in financial resources and looking for abroad education, choose the study destination different from U.S. because they know that they can not afford the fees and living expenses, moreover they have to think about other factors also.
    so in my opinion, U.S. is not only the country who is only providing the best education in the world. there are many countries in the world whose standard of education is at par with U.S.

    many people think mostly about studying in that foreign countries where native language is English. one of the reason behind this decision is that they want to escape from the learning the country’s language like french in France, german in germane. they think that it is bit difficult to get fluent in french, german etc.

    It is not true that Everything is done only by the U.S., there are other countries who is contributing significantly in research.

    At Last, I would like to say , good education is everywhere, not only in U.S. so think beyond the U.S. also. but if you want to study in another country other than U.S, U.K. then be ready to learn that country language.

  14. m77 on May 1, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    ohh! thats really ordeal thing.. If everybody understands english there y the hell they want the other people to learn french….. 🙁

  15. m77 on May 1, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Many Asians think that Europe’s education is costlier then U.S. ‘s education, but seeing to your situation many would divert themselves from U.S. to this new areas of Europe to explore various fields. Thanks for sharing worthy info !

  16. vinay on May 1, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    hi every1 i am vinay and i wanted to know whether there s scope for masters in mechanical engineering in France?!!!

  17. israt jahan on May 1, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    hi priyanka, i have completed Bachelor degree in philosophy from Dhaka University of Bangladesh. Do you know is there any chance for higher education in philosophy from France’s universities?

  18. Sneha on May 1, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Hi Priyank!
    Would just like to add some additional information to your post, I am a student in France too, I have been here for almost 2 years now, even I came here for my MS, I have lived in the Paris and Grenoble area, studied in Paris did one of my internship’s there and now doing my second internship in Grenoble, I would just like to say that before coming here you should ask yourself a very important question: Will you at the end of 2 years be as fluent in french as you are in english now? if No then I really think you should think over, because at the end of the day although people do speak english in companies/schools, you have to know very good french, because the working language in all MNC’s is french !! although people speak english, I myself am doing my internship in one of the MNC’s here..also I think you are little mistaken about the work permit, recently the rules for work permit have changed and none of the foreign graduates (like us) are getting work permits !!

    • Priyank on May 2, 2012 at 12:22 AM

      Hi Sneha,
      Well you are right, One need to be fluent in french to survive there. But as far as i know, schools do conduct a preliminary induction session, prior to the start of the session, where international students go through French preparatory classes. Correct me if I’m wrong..!!!
      Secondly, regarding work permits, as far as i know, international students are given 6 months time to find a job in France..Is it so..?
      By the way, from which university have you done your masters, and in which stream..?
      Glad to hear from you..!!!

      • Sneha on May 2, 2012 at 9:26 AM

        Yes some schools do conduct some prelimnary language courses (like a 2 month crash course or something) but you can expect nothing much from it, you cannot learna language in 2 months, after that when the normal course resumes, you have french classes for 3 hours/week, you really can’t rely on their french classes, just want to know do you already know french ? if yes, could you please tell me your level ?

        about the visa, yes, that’s what they tell you in India about the 6 months, but it is not true ! I’m sure you know this, that initially they give you one year visa when you go from India, for your next year you need to get your visa renewed in France, and that’s when they give you visa for only 1 more year, no extra 6 months !, to be frank if you plan to find a job after graduating then france is certainly not the place, but if you want to do a Ph.d then yes it is !

        Just to give you an honest opinion, france is not for people like us who are from english speaking countries, nobody told me this when I came here 🙂

        Good luck !

        • Sanchari on May 2, 2012 at 12:56 PM

          Thank you for your candid and honest reply. We often bother more about about fees, free education , course, universities , etc. and sideline more practical issues like what to do after we finish the courses ? or language issues, living expenditure ( especially in Paris). I myself wanted to apply for masters in Systems Biology. But after reading your post, I think I should think about it a bit more.

  19. sidhartha singh on May 1, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Hi Priyanka
    I was wondering about the PhD programme in Life Science field. Do you have any info about this. I am a student of IIT Varanasi.

    • M Sen on May 1, 2012 at 1:25 PM

      Hi Sidhartha
      If you are thinking about a PhD in Life Science and are really passionate about it.. i.e. you want to really learn your subject of interest in depth and be an expert in it..do not think beyond the US. I am in my first year of PhD in the US and the work and research experience is just outstanding. No country can compete with the US when it comes to life sciences.

      • M Sen on May 1, 2012 at 1:26 PM

        I forgot to mention.. almost all universities give you full funding. I have a full scholarship plus a stipend of $1600 a month (after the tax has been deducted) and this is not a TA or RA. It’s a flat stipend.

        • Donna on May 2, 2012 at 5:41 AM

          Hi M,
          can you tell me where and in which college are you doing your PhD?

          • M Sen on May 2, 2012 at 3:06 PM

            Hi Donna
            I have chosen an unconventional course. I’m doing my PhD from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. It’s among the top three hospitals in the world for Children. They have a collaboration with the University of Cincinnati. What is your field of interest?



          • Donna on May 3, 2012 at 1:17 PM

            Dear M,
            Thanks for your reply. I looked up your profile in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and I really liked your program. My field of interest is cell and molecular biology and cancer biology. I’m in my 3rd year of B.E. Biotechnology(just gave exams). I have done several research projects ,summer training under I.A.S. and also presented a poster in a conference. I wanted to know about the g.p.a required for entry. I hv a cgpa of 7.5 til 5th sem (improving). Our college(Birla Inst. of Tech) gives absolute gpa which means I hv a percentage of 75% and 70%(7 cgpa) is considered distinction in our collg. I hvn’t given GRE yet but I’m hoping the scores wud b good. It feels really great to talk to someone with similar career interests and who has gone the way I’m dreaming to go. You sd u r in ur 2nd rotation in ur profile. Are you in your 1st year of PhD? I know u must b busy but I’d really like to discuss ur work there and get a first hand insight.

            With best wishes,
            Sincerely,
            Anindita Roy



        • sidhartha singh on May 2, 2012 at 10:26 AM

          Dear Sen
          I am really passionate about the PhD degree.But I don’t want to do it from India as you know what is the level of research that is going on in India. Moreover in India no one is giving you PhD degree in 4-5 years but that is possible in other countries.

          My academics are decent i mean i am a B grade student through out. Currently doing M.Tech in Biochemical Engg. from IIT Varanasi. Currently i am in my 3rd semester of M.Tech and got a 6 months internship offer from BIOCON (#1 company of Biotech in India) in R&D sector.

          I think that getting a PhD in US is too tough as you will be requiring strong research background, some publications in journals etc. Frankly speaking i have a bit of research experience but i don’t think, that can qualify me for a PhD degree in US. I also have 2.5 yrs teaching experience in an engineering college. What do you think my profile is good or not?

          In which branch you are doing Phd and in which University.
          Thanks

          • sidhartha singh on May 2, 2012 at 10:29 AM

            One more thing Sen what is the average expenditure in US for a month i mean as you said you are getting a $1600 stipend is that enough for staying in US.



          • M Sen on May 2, 2012 at 3:12 PM

            Hi Sidhartha

            The only negative thing about applying to the US is that you can never be 100% sure whether you will get in or not. However, I feel you have a strong profile. Have you given your GRE? A good GRE score really helps. Extra curricular activities are also important. Do not worry about not having any publications. I did not have any also. Be smart about applying to the US. A lot of people apply to ‘glam’ colleges. By which I mean colleges that are famous, but not necessarily for life sciences.
            Look for places that are doing in depth research and need not have a ‘fancy’ name.
            I am doing my phd in molecular and developmental biology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. It’s a really amazing research organization and the faculty are so, so friendly. If you want I can send you the link. Children’s Hospital is one of the World’s leading hospitals.

            I live alone and even after paying my rent and bills and spending on movies and stuff I still have lots of money left over to save every month.



          • sidhartha singh on May 3, 2012 at 12:56 AM

            Hi Sen

            I am going to give GRE in this september. I am looking for a Phd in Cancer specifically or immunology, do you have any info about that.

            What do these guys looks in a candidate for selecting?



          • M Sen on May 4, 2012 at 12:58 PM

            I’m not sure what you mean by ‘info’.
            I think they are looking for people who are motivated, have a good enough educational background and an interesting SOP. Do cultivate your extra curricular activities too.

            You can check these links:
            http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/education/research/immunobiology-grad/default/

            http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/education/research/mdb/default/

            and http://www.phds.org/



          • Donna on May 3, 2012 at 6:46 AM

            Dear Moen,
            Thanks for your reply. I looked up your profile in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and I really liked your program. My field of interest is cell and molecular biology and cancer biology. I’m in my 3rd year of B.E. Biotechnology(just gave exams). I have done several research projects ,summer training under I.A.S. and also presented a poster in a conference. I wanted to know about the g.p.a required for entry. I hv a cgpa of 7.5 til 5th sem (improving). Our college(Birla Inst. of Tech) gives absolute gpa which means I hv a percentage of 75% and 70%(7 cgpa) is considered distinction in our collg. I hvn’t given GRE yet but I’m hoping the scores wud b good. It feels really great to talk to someone with similar career interests and who has gone the way I’m dreaming to go. You sd u r in ur 2nd rotation in ur profile. Are you in your 1st year of PhD? I know u must b busy but I’d really like to discuss ur work there and get a first hand insight.

            With best wishes,
            Sincerely,
            Anindita Roy



          • M Sen on May 4, 2012 at 12:55 PM

            Hi Anindita
            I will write a post soon giving all the details about my program. Will post it here in a couple of days



          • Donna on May 4, 2012 at 1:26 PM

            Thank you so much!!!!waiting for your post!!!:):)



  20. Sri on May 1, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    Do we have to learn french for living in France ???

    • PRANEET on May 1, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      Well , If you just want to finish your course & leave , you can come to France & stay here without learning french. But i tell you , without learning french , you wan’t do anything. No fun , No internship , No job.

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