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Public Universities in France: Eligibility, Admission Process

Updated on 08 November, 2023

Pragya Sharma

Pragya Sharma

Sr. Content Editor

Study in France

With 18 French universities being ranked in the Global University Employability Ranking 2022, France's commitment to education makes its public universities globally renowned. Public universities in France have a significant position as they provide affordable, high-quality education with diverse academic programs. These universities offer scholarships and support services for international students, motivating them to apply to experience an enriching cultural experience. 


Public Universities in France

A public university is a university that is owned by the state or receives significant funding from the government. The status of a national university varies from country to country (or region to country), and is heavily influenced by the educational landscape.

There are currently 100+ universities in France attracting as many as 4,00,000 international students yearly. towards public universities in France.

Advantages of Public Universities Over Private Universities

  • Students generally pick private universities for their brand awareness, although some public schools are famous for their high level of reputation as compared to private universities. For example, the University of Colorado Boulder is ranked second in the world for geosciences, while the University of South Carolina is ranked first for both its undergraduate International Business program and its International MBA program.
  • Public universities are less expensive than private universities. This implies you can still acquire a good education while spending less amount of money.
  • Public universities have more programs than private institutions. As a result, you will have more possibilities. You can change majors without changing schools. You may also have more access to clubs, events, and specialized classes.
  • Public institutions are typically larger than private universities since they provide more programs. Because there are more students on campus, you will have the opportunity to meet more people from the Country as well as from the world. 

Some more reasons to choose public universities are stated below:-

Diverse Student Body: 

Public universities in France often attract a more diverse student body due to their lower costs. This diversity enriches the educational experience by exposing students to various perspectives and backgrounds.

Government Funding: 

Public universities receive government funding, which can lead to better facilities, resources, and research opportunities. This financial support often translates into a higher quality of education.

Research Opportunities: 

Public universities tend to have robust research programs and collaborations with government agencies. This can provide students with access to cutting-edge research projects and opportunities to work with renowned scholars.

Large Alumni Networks: 

Public universities often have larger alumni networks, which can be beneficial for networking and career opportunities. These networks can provide valuable connections in various industries.

Access to Public Resources: 

Public universities are typically situated in or near major cities and have access to public libraries, museums, and cultural events. Students can take advantage of these resources to enhance their education and personal growth.

List of 20 Best Public Universities in France 

Serial NumberQS World University Ranking 2024University
124Université PSL
2=38Institut Polytechnique de Paris
359Sorbonne University
471Université Paris-Saclay
5=184École Normale Supérieure de Lyon
6=192École des Ponts ParisTech
7236Université Paris Cité
8294Université Grenoble Alpes
9=319Sciences Po
10=328Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
11=382Université de Montpellier
12=387Aix-Marseille University
13=392Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon (INSA)
14=421Université de Strasbourg
15=452Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1
16=465University of Bordeaux
17=511Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse III
18631-640Université de Lille
19711-720Université de Rennes 1
20721-730Université Côte d'Azur

Recommended Read: Reasons to study in France

Eligibility Criteria to Study at Public Universities in France 

The requirements vary for every program however, some general eligibility criteria are as follows:

The international graduate admissions method is accessible to applicants who have or will obtain (this academic year) the following: 

  • A non-French undergraduate degree (or 180 ECTS credits/bachelor's degree or equivalent) from a France or foreign university; 
  • A master's degree (magister or magistracy, for example) for countries where institutions do not grant undergraduate degrees
  • You are enrolled in a half-French, half-foreign programme that will grant you an undergraduate degree in both French and non-French.
  • You've already completed both degrees: You have the option of applying through the domestic or international procedures.
  • You already have a French degree and are working on a foreign degree: Apply through the domestic admissions system; you already hold a foreign degree and your French degree is under progress: Apply through the International Admissions Procedure; both degrees are currently under progress: If the bulk of your credits have been verified in the French system and/or the majority of your transcripts have grades indicated in the French grading system, apply through the domestic procedure.

To know more about study in France:

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Apply to France's Top Public Universities?

To apply to top public universities in France for international students, research your program, gather required documents, apply online, and follow specific university guidelines. Check deadlines and language requirements, and stay organized throughout the application process.

Are there opportunities for international students to engage in extracurricular activities and cultural experiences?

Public universities in France provide a vibrant student life with clubs, cultural events, and opportunities to immerse yourself in French culture. It's a great way to make friends and enrich your experience.

Are public universities in France taught in English, or do I need to know French?

There are programs in various public universities in France that teach in English. However, It's essential to have a good command of the French language as well, and language proficiency tests like DELF or DALF are preferred.

Pragya Sharma

Sr. Content Editor

Pragya Sharma is a content developer and marketer with 6.5+ years of experience in the education industry. She started her career as a social media copywriter for NIELIT, Ministry of Electronics & IT, and has now scaled up as a 360-degree content professional well-versed with the intricacies of digital marketing and different forms of content used to drive and hook the target audience. She is also a co-author of 2 stories in an anthology based on the theme- women empowerment.

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