From Paris to Marseille, France is one of the top locations students chose to study at. This year over two million people sought higher education in France. France is home to hundreds of universities including, École Normale Supérieure, one of the top prestigious graduate schools in the world. With less than 2,500 students, the school only accepts 8 percent of people who apply. Before students seek higher education at École Normale Supérieure, they must attend an undergraduate university. While some schools have a 100 percent acceptance rate, other schools are more selective when it comes to admissions. We investigated the top undergraduate universities in France to see which ones had the lowest acceptance rates. These are the schools that pay close attention to test scores and previous grades.

Universities in France with Lowest Acceptance Rates

1. Université de Lorraine

  • Acceptance rate: 10%

Located in the city of Nancy, the Université de Lorraine is one of the top public universities in France. They opened their doors on January 1, 2012, when four universities in the Lorraine region merged into one. The oldest of the merging universities, Nancy-Université, was founded in 1572. Université de Lorraine is composed of eight different departments, including health, arts, literature, and languages, technology, law, economy, and management, interface, sciences, and technology and engineering. Their law program is ranked 5th in the country. Within the four campuses, there is a total of six libraries and over 60 laboratories. With over 55,000 students, Université de Lorraine has one of the lowest acceptance rates in France.

2. Université de Technologie de Compiègne

  • Acceptance rate: 10%

The Université de Technologie de Compiègne, also known as the University of Technology of Compiègne in English, is a public research university located in Compiègne. The university opened its doors in 1972 to be the first experimental technology university in France. The university now currently caters to over 4,400 students. The university’s eight main focuses are energy and the environment, nanotechnology, computation and information technology, media, and the arts and biotechnology. The Université de Technologie de Compiègne is one of the top schools in France, as it has been ranked number one in the nation for highest median earnings by alumni, number two out of 107 for French engineering schools, and number one in the nation for the highest number of startup creation by students and alumni.

3. Université du Havre

  • Acceptance rate: 20%

The next university in France that has low acceptance rates is the Université du Havre. Located in the center of Le Havre, in the town of Normandie, is home to one of the newer public universities in France, the Université du Havre. They opened their doors in 1984 and currently have a little over 8,000 students. The university focuses on more than just classroom learning. They focus on hands-on training since the university is close to local businesses. The three main departments the university focuses on are international business, science and technology, and humanities. The university has a research center that contains nine laboratories. With 17 percent of their students being foreigners, the Université du Havre offers 12 different language classes.

4. Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour

  • Acceptance rate: 30%

With over 12,000 students, the Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour, is the third-largest university in southwestern France. The university offers two university institutes of technology, one university school of management, and two engineering schools. These are divided into four different campuses. The Pau campus is the main campus consisting of about 9,000 students. This campus focuses on three main departments, technology, business and arts, laws, and sciences. The Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour offers two libraries for students. One is dedicated to the science department while the second caters to the law and art department. While the university didn’t open until 1970, its law faculty was created in 1947.

5. American University of Paris

  • Acceptance rate: 60%

Founded in 1962, the American University of Paris is a private, independent, and accredited liberal arts and studies university. All 1,200 students who attend the university are required to have a certain level of proficiency in French to graduate. This French University has one of the lowest acceptance rates in France. Within the ten different buildings that make up the campus, there are 11 departments. The departments are art history and fine arts, psychology, comparative literature and English, international business administration, computer science, mathematics, and science, international and comparative politics, economics, history, film studies, history, French studies, and modern languages and global communications. The university offers students over 25 major and 35 minor options. All students who attend the American University of Pairs have the option of a self-designed major, where students design and create their own major.

Choosing a university can be difficult. Understanding the acceptance rate for different universities is important because it helps prepare you for what you need to do, in order to get into the university of your dreams.


We hope that this article on universities in France with low acceptance rates was helpful. To know more about studying abroad, make sure to check out the Available Programs in Europe for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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