France Higher Education

France Higher Education

According to Countryaah, France is the largest country in Western Europe. The country consists of 22 regions and has a population of about 60 million. people in total.

Higher education in France

The teaching tradition in France is in some areas different from the Danish one. France does not have a strong tradition of close dialogue between teachers and students in higher education, although this is changing in recent years. As a student, you will often also experience more discipline and more exams than in the Danish education system. But you will also experience being challenged on your ability to work analytically, reflexively and creatively.


In France you can e.g. take a higher education at the following types of institutions:

  • Les Sections de Techniciens Supérieurs (STS) at a Lycée Professionnel are educational institutions that offer 2-year technical higher education. The educations are found in either industry / engineering or administration. You complete the education with a higher technician certificate (Brevet de Technicien Supérieur, BTS).
  • Les Instituts Universitaires de Technologie (IUT) are universities or departments of universities that offer 2-year short higher education programs. You complete the program with a university diploma in technology (Diplôme Universitaire de Technologie, DUT).
  • Les Universités offers long higher education e.g. in the humanities, economics, medicine and law. A French university comprises a number of units (units) within academic areas and specialized institutes such as. Instituts Universitaires de Technologie (IUTs) (see above), Instituts Universitaires de Formation des Maîtres (IUMMs) and Instituts Universitaires Professionnalisés (IUPs).

Les Grandes Ecoles are elite schools. They are found primarily in educations such as engineering (applied science), economics, trade and administration. There are selective entry requirements and entrance exams. A 1-2 year preparatory course is usually required in the form of the Classe Préparatoire aux Grandes Écoles (CPGE), which takes place at special high schools after a high school diploma (baccalauréat).

In addition, you will find a number of other specialized and vocational higher education institutions in the form of Les Grands Etablissements and other educational institutions within the field of engineering, creative subjects such as art, dance and drama as well as within business economics, administration and politics etc.

More and more educations in France are offered in English. However, always pay attention to whether the education leads to a nationally recognized degree or not.

Higher Education

The Letter de Technicien Supérieur (BTS) and the Diplôme Universitaire de Technologie (DUT) are short higher education programs. Both BTS and DUT can provide access to a license or license professional.

The French university educations are divided into 3 courses (cycles):

  • 1st cycle (first stage) (3 years) leads to a License (bachelor’s degree), which is a basic education and gives access to subsequent specialized studies. A Professional License is a relatively new profession-oriented degree from 2000. It is one-year based on one of the short two-year higher educations or the two-year university degree Diplôme d’Études Universitaires Scientifiques et Techniques (DEUST), so the total course is three years.
  • 2nd cycle (second step) leads to a Master 1 (1 year) followed by Master 2 Recherche (1 year) or Master 2 Professionnel (1 year). Master 2 Recherche corresponds to the previous research-based degree DEA and provides access to subsequent studies at PhD level, while Master 2 Professionnel corresponds to the previous vocational degree DESS. Diplomas of schools, e.g. The Diplôme d’ingénieur (integrated course 5 years or 2 + 3 years) corresponds to a French master’s degree.
  • 3rd cycle (third step) leads to a Doctorate.

Most higher education programs in the field of health have their own courses, all of which are of longer duration. Eg. it takes at least 6 years to become a doctor.

An engineering degree (Titre d’Ingénieur) is taken in 5 years at independent engineering schools or university departments. An engineering education can last 3 years on the basis of a 2-year preparatory school and an entrance exam at the engineering schools (grandes écoles).

Pay attention to whether the chosen education is state-recognized or not. De statsanerkendte grader er les diplomas national diplomas de l’enseignement supérieur francais og les diplomas d’État. Among these are les diplômes universitaires, issued by the universities on behalf of the ministry responsible for higher education. Les diplômes visés are private programs recognized by the Ministry responsible for higher education. In contrast, universities and other higher education institutions’ own programs, les diplômes d’université (DU), are not national, state-recognized programs. In the same way, a diploma, which is issued only after accreditation of e.g. La Conférence des Grandes Ecoles (CGE) not publicly recognized programs, as CGE does not have state, national accreditation rights.

In France, the academic year begins in September or October and ends in May or June. The date of start of study varies from institution to institution.

Application for higher education

Applying for a higher education as a first-year student in France is now done digitally for most of the programs. Use the portal Admission Post Bac. It opens in December and there is an application period from January 20 to March 30.

You should be aware that the search is great for the universities of Paris. It can therefore be an advantage to apply for universities in other large French cities.

Admission requirements

A Danish upper secondary education gives the right to apply for admission to a higher education in France. Access to universities is open. On the other hand, there are selective entry requirements for e.g. Grandes Ecoles, engineering schools and Grands Etablissements in the form of entrance exams etc. Some are based on special preparation courses, others on prior university studies.

Language proficiency

To be admitted to an education, you must document that you have sufficient French skills.

Many French universities and other higher education institutions have their own language tests for foreign students. In some cases, the educational institution requires that you pass the TCF (test de connaissance du français) language test. Read more at CIEP.

You do not normally have to take a language test if you have taken the official language test Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française (DALF). A passed Diplôme d’Etudes en Langue Française (DELF), which is the level under DALF, may in some cases meet the language requirements.

NOTE: A number of educations are now available in English in France, e.g. at some of Les Grandes Ecoles and Grands Etablissements, and is also offered by the universities.

Application deadlines are now set centrally, see Admission Postbac

Recognition of higher education in Denmark

If you have completed a publicly recognized education abroad, you can have it assessed by the Danish Agency for Research and Education

Facts about France

Population: 65.7 million. Paris is the biggest city in France with total population of 2,138,662.

Language: French.

Employment: Unemployment in May 2013 was 10.9% (Eurostat).

Residence permit: Apply to the local police.

France Higher Education

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