When it comes to public health, the French know best. The country boasts of a long life expectancy rate which is likely driven by high government support for healthcare through Sécurité Sociale and a focus on preventive care. As such, it’s no surprise that many look to France as a key destination for public health education.

While it’s hard to get a bad education on public health with society setting the bar high, read on for some of the best public health universities in France:

Top Schools Offering Public Health Programs in France

1. University of Paris

The University of Paris offers a one-year Master’s course on Public Health, specializing in Comparative Effectiveness in Research. The course is a collaboration among professors from top-tier universities Amsterdam University, Danube University, Ioannina University, Oxford University, Queen’s University Belfast, Utrecht University, and York University. The course aims to develop students’ knowledge on health research methods, epidemiology, and biostatistics. It produces graduates who will be able to do in-depth and comparative assessments for prevention and treatment of disease, as well as risk management and proactive use of health information systems to promote public health and quality healthcare.

The course load educates students of this prestigious public health school on general biostatistics, clinical epidemiology, and modeling while providing the opportunity for practice through their thesis and a 6-month internship.

The first of its kind in all of Europe, this course only offers 30 slots per year. Its small class size enables a more focused and interactive learning experience. It is also perfect for international students as the course is taught completely in English.

2. University of Paris-Saclay

The University of Paris-Saclay is recognized as one of the best public health universities in France and comes highly recommended for those pursuing public health as the university offers not one, but seven courses in this discipline. The Methods in Public Health is the basic course to get one in the fundamentals of public health. This one-year course is sufficient for the Master’s degree in Public Health.

However, one may also take on a second year to specialize in Research in Public Health, specifically in the fields of health organizations and systems, epidemiology, or clinical research. This route is a good fit for aspiring health administrators in private or public organizations, and those entering industries of research and business in medicine such as pharmaceuticals and hospitals. Another option is the Methodology of Public Health Interventions course which delves into the management of health and social projects. This is more suited for those looking into public health studies and policy.

Meanwhile, the specialization of Methodology and Statistics in Biomedical Research focuses on analysts or researchers pursuing a career in health research and statistics – from building a protocol to forming a sound statistical analysis scheme. The Health Data Sciences course is similar but focuses on leveraging Big Data to address predictive or explanatory situations in public health through machine learning.

For public health graduates interested in working in the field, The Epidemiological Surveillance of Human and Animal Diseases or the Public Health and Environmental Risk specializations would be good choices. The former deals with how to effectively monitor the progression of an epidemic, while the latter surveys the interaction between the environment and human health and the risks that may arise.

For all specialization-based Master’s courses, the curriculum covers basic theory as well as a 6-month internship, ending in a thesis. Teaching is a mix of both on-site and e-learning platforms, with some specializations including partnerships with other French universities.

3. University of Bordeaux

The University of Bordeaux offers a one-year Public Health Data Science Master’s program to international students looking to specialize in the technology behind public health management. Created in collaboration with the Bordeaux School of Public Health and the Bordeaux Population Health Research Center, the course gives insight into the entire process of international public health research from design, and analysis to results communication.

Students of this course gain interdisciplinary skills and perspectives on digital vectors and how to leverage these for public health research. This is done through basic training classroom lectures, ending in an internship that must result in a project case study solution, research plan, and/or statistical model. Graduates of this course may pursue further specializations as Digital Public Health specialists or become data officers in public or private organizations involved in public health.

4. Ecole des hautes études en santé publique

Among France’s best public health universities, Ecole des hautes études en santé publique offers a Master’s course in Public Health for international students through a multidisciplinary perspective of public health. In this course, students take on core pillars of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Management, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. This is a perfect choice for broad-based public health roles in government, NGOs, or private organizations whether locally or internationally.

With its top-notch research facilities, international acclaim for research, faculty, and education, and accreditations by the French Ministry of Higher Education and the Agency for Public Health Education Accreditation in Europe, the university is sure to deliver on its promise to produce top-quality graduates.

5. Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University

The Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University offers the course Methodology of Public Health Interventions in conjunction with the University of Paris-Saclay. Here, students will learn how to diagnose health conditions and implement corresponding projects for vulnerable populations such as women, children, and the elderly. The outcome is a diploma from the University of Paris-Saclay. This course is encouraged for students who plan to study again after a few years in the workforce. This is most applicable to employees with public or private sector involvement in public health.


We hope this article on the best public health universities in France was helpful. If you are interested in knowing more, check out the Programs in Europe for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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