France is consistently ranked at the top of the ideal study abroad destinations for international students worldwide. The multicultural environment, delicious cuisine, an excellent education system, and low tuition fees, make for a small percentage of the thousands of reasons students wish to continue their higher education studies in a foreign country.
Aside from the world-renowned universities, the application procedure for international students is a walk in the park. In addition, because of the low tuition fees and numerous housing options, the application procedures are not as intimidating as anticipated for international students.
Here are some of the cheapest universities in France for international students:
Average Tuition Fee: €1,000 – 7,000 per year.
Ranked at the top 50 universities globally for most of its programs, the Paris-Saclay University offers all degree levels, including undergraduate, master, and Ph.D. degrees. A few of the most popular departments for students at Paris-Saclay include Mathematics, Physics, Agriculture, and Clinical Medicine. One of the most significant professional advantages for Paris-Saclay graduates is the proximity to France’s well-known organizations and manufacturing firms. The faculties of Paris – Saclay University include:
- Faculty of Medicine
- Faculty of Law
- Faculty of Pharmacy
- Faculty of Sciences of Orsay
- Faculty of Sports
- Institute of Technology in Cachan
- Institute of technology in Gif-sur-Yvette
- Institute of technology in Sceaux
- Observatory of Sciences of the Universe
- Polytech Paris-Saclay
University of Paris
Average Tuition Fee: €262 per year.
The focus of the University of Paris is to develop professional relationships with the best universities worldwide while also promoting collaboration between institutions with similar purposes: achieving research excellence and innovative learning. International students can choose between joint programs, where double or multiple degrees are available, or programs with English as the only language of instruction and a mix of English and French.
The University of Paris offers all students financial help, no matter the status. The Student Life department is responsible for supporting students who are in monetary need. All students applying at the University of Paris for any major must have at least a B2 level of French proficiency to get admitted. This requirement applies to both international and domestic applications.
University of Orleans
Average Tuition Fee: €2,770 per year.
The University of Orleans invites applicants with a not so prestigious educational background to join over 19,000 students at one of the many departments available. All the courses include additional classes on research, thus establishing the primary mission of the university to promote international and regional connections. In 2019 the University of Orleans had more than 1,000 academic staff, researchers, professors, and professor-researchers.
The main disciplines at the University of Orleans:
- Social Sciences
- Arts and Languages
- Economics and Management
Depending on the qualifications and application purposes of the student, Orleans offers several degree levels, including a professional degree, DUT (university diploma of technology), classical engineering degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and DAEU (access to university diploma).
Average Tuition Fee: €184 – €256 per year.
More than 4,000 international students enroll at Nantes University yearly. The lecture halls vary in size depending on the course and the number of attendees. The number of students per class ranges from 100 to 1,000. In lectures, the traditional teaching methods persist, where the professor is in charge of the course. Whereas in tutorials and seminars, students learn through a more hands-on approach — in groups. In comparison to lectures, tutorials are mandatory to attend.
International programs offer students a wide variety of course selections. The four core study plans include English-taught programs, double degrees, international master programs, and Erasmus+ international mobility programs.
- English-taught courses:
- Economics, Business, and Management.
- Sciences, Technology, and Engineering.
- Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Double degree courses:
- Law and Political Sciences.
- Management and Economics.
- Engineering, Sciences.
- French and Foreign Languages and Cultures.
- INSPE – Teaching Education.
- International master courses:
- International Research Masters.
- Master MAREENE (Reliability-Based Structural MAintenance for Marine REnewable ENErgy).
- Joint Erasmus Mundus ACES + Master.
- International Masters labeled by NeXT.
University of Montpelier
Average Tuition Fee: €180 – €700 per year.
Awarded with the Initiative of Excellence for groundbreaking research, the University of Montpelier is one of the first universities in France to ensure the highest quality of technological education. Scholars from all over the world choose this university as the most rewarding study abroad option. The University of Montpelier incorporates 15 different study fields, which are part of the following core disciplines:
- Management and Sciences
To add to the already employed staff of over 4,000 people, the University of Montpelier is constantly welcoming new recruitments at the administrative office along with professors and researchers. For undergraduate-level students, the admission requirements include a B2 level of French and level four of the TCF (test of knowledge) for advanced studies (masters or professional bachelor degrees).
University of Strasbourg
Average Tuition Fee: €184 – €610 per year.
The University of Strasbourg offers the same tuition fees for international and French students to promote higher education globally. Exchange students automatically pay their tuition fees at their home universities to avoid difficulties. International students who study at the University of Strasbourg can benefit from the city’s amazing everyday life, where music and cultural activities are the main events.
The University of Strasbourg includes five main disciplines with several faculty options to major in. These five academic departments include Arts, Literature and Languages; Law, Economics, Management, Political, and Social Sciences; Social Sciences and Humanities; Science and Technology; Health.
International students who lack monetary means or need additional financial help for additional living expenses can apply for two scholarships: French government scholarships or Eiffel Scholarships. The Eiffel Scholarship applies to students getting a master’s or doctoral degree in the designated departments.
University of Burgundy
Average Tuition Fee: €170 – €243 per year.
Although the University of Burgundy teaches classes with French as the primary language of instruction, several departments, most of them at master’s level, include both English and French. As such, all students must provide at least a B2 or C1 level of French fluency in their application. The language test requirements vary depending on the major and department.
Below is a list of French language requirements based on the department-specific requirements:
Programs that require a B2 level of French:
- Faculty of Literature and Philosophy.
- Humanities and Social Sciences and all other programs.
Programs that require a C1 level of French:
- Economics, Business, and Management.
- Biological and Environmental Sciences.
- Health Sciences.
- Faculty of Literature and Philosophy.
École Centrale de Lyon
Average Tuition Fee: €3,770 per year.
The École Centrale de Lyon is one of the most prestigious graduate schools in France. This university aims to instill the skills necessary to pursue a career in engineering sciences in students’ lives. However fundamental in engineering, at École Centrale de Lyon, they give special attention to the social sciences. They believe that without first grasping the importance of human sciences, there is no development in the professional or personal lives.
International students make up 40% of the student body in École Centrale de Lyon. The university offers students the flexibility to arrange their curriculum based on their preferences and schedules.
International students can choose from three different degree programs:
- A double degree in the general engineering program.
- A master’s degree.
- A doctorate.
Are Universities in France Free for International Students?
Compared to other European countries, studying in France as an international student is surprisingly affordable. Although many students believe that private educational institutions are more rewarding than public universities, in France, you can get the same quality of education in either. Higher tuition fees for tertiary education in France can be requested in programs with a higher reputation worldwide, such as Engineering, Medicine, Business and Management, etc.
Aside from the low tuition fees that French universities offer for international students, there are plenty of scholarship opportunities available in many public universities of France. The scholarships provided from French universities are usually needed in more famous cities such as Paris or Strasbourg, where living expenses exceed the students’ financial situation. The French government continually declares to increase the scholarship availability for universities with higher tuition fees.