France is considered as one of the good countries to study master’s degrees for international students. Studying in the country offers a great multicultural educational experience, combining various unique cultures worldwide. International students in France also enjoy a culturally rich stay, courtesy of the French way of life.

Graduate education in France provides international students with a global academic reputation and high scholastic standards that ensure their time’s worth upon studying for their master’s degrees in the country. France is home to many universities that lead in various fields worldwide.

The relative affordability of studying in France makes studying in the country even more attractive. Students from the European Union or the European Economic Area enjoy tuition fees of no more than 800 EUR per academic year. For non-EU/EEA students, the same rates apply for some cases, while international students from other countries might pay a higher rate. In any case, studying in France remains a more accessible option compared to rates in other Western countries. Let’s take a look at the requirements and application process for obtaining a master’s degree in France!

Master’s Degree Admission Requirements

The French Government has put in place several requirements for international students to study in any university in France on top of the requirements asked by the universities. It is important to prepare these documents ahead of time as some of the requirements need to be processed with different institutions in France.

The student will be required by the authorities to submit their prior admission or pre-registration certificate from their chosen university, with proof of ability to fund their stay in France. A Campus France authorization, a civil liability certificate, and a free social security registration will need to be processed and completed to be allowed to stay in France as a student. Students from the EU will need to provide a copy of their European health insurance card. The student visa is required only for students outside the EU, EEA, and Switzerland.

The French Government and the universities generally require the student’s passport or identification card with copies of passport-sized photos. Some processes with the government and the universities may also require registration fees.

The universities require a cover letter, French and/or English language competency certificate/s, transcript of records, copies of diplomas (or equivalent), and, in some cases, a resume.

Language Proficiency Tests Needed for Master’s Studies

Most master’s degree programs are in French; hence, universities require particular French language competency levels. There are increasing numbers of programs taught in English, allowing for the requirement of certifications for English language competencies for non-French-speaking graduate students.

The accepted French competency exams include the diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF), diplôme approfondi de langue française (DALF), test de connaissance du français (TCF). The accepted English competency tests, on the other hand, include the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The acceptance of any of such examination results would depend on the universities or their respective program departments.

Universities in France generally require a DELF B2 level or higher for studying graduate courses although institutions such as The Université de Lyon require a DALF C1 level for their master’s degrees. The minimum scores for English competency in universities such as Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne is 6 for IELTS and 76 for TOEFL.

There are some exemptions from submitting test results for French language proficiency, depending on university policies. Students with French undergraduate degrees, those who graduated from bilingual programs in which French is one of the languages, and nationals of states where French is the official language are usually not required to present their language competency results.

Master’s Degree Application Process

Applying for a master’s degree in France has many steps but it can be easier once everything is planned and done correctly. It could mean the difference between a good and a bad application experience towards getting a graduate diploma in France.

Step 1. Finding Your Program and University

The application for a master’s degree in F begins by searching for your ideal French university (or universities, for a better chance of admission) and checking their respective entrance requirements as some institutions require passing standardized tests such as GRE, GMAT, and LSAT. European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) applicants can contact the university directly, the same way as French nationals. Non-EU/EEA applicants, however, should apply through the ‘Studying in France’ procedure. Some universities require creating an account with their institution’s website.

Step 2. Completing and Submitting Your Admission Requirements

The applicant should complete the given application requirements while carefully checking their chosen university’s website for additional requirements and deadlines. Most of the documents should be prepared beforehand, as French universities usually announce their admission decision a month before the registration period. Preliminary Admission documents are processed through the French embassy of the applicant’s home country.

Step 3. Finding Accommodations

Upon acceptance to a French university, the applicant who will enroll for a master’s degree in France should try to research possible accommodations near their school as early as possible. There are options for public and private residences and hostels suitable for students. One should also inquire with their university as some institutions do have housing facilities or systems for connecting their students to accredited buildings for renting. Applicants should also provide their VISALE documents to their landlords in the absence of a French rent guarantor.

Step 4. French Visa and Residency Permit Application

Non-EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens are required to apply for a student visa on the Campus France website through the ‘Studying in France’ procedure or the official visa website for France. Studying for a master’s degree in France, which takes more than three months, means applying for a VLS-TS “étudiant” or the long-stay visa equivalent to a “student” residence permit.

Step 5. Tasks upon Arrival in France

The applicant who wishes to obtain a master’s degree in France should personally register to their university upon arrival to submit pertinent documents and to pay pending fees or contributions if any. It is also important to sign up for the free and mandatory social security registration upon arrival to France.

The Institut Polytechnique de Paris and the École Polytechnique both state the same admission processes in their respective publications. For other universities, it is best to coordinate with the department of the prospective master’s program for specific requirements and procedural details.


We hope that this article on Study Master’s in France: Requirements and Application Process was helpful. If you are interested in learning 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.

Share this article via

Leave A Comment